Article originally published on 7/25/2017

Will you be traveling with your pets this summer? Larry Jandrew has some helpful pet travel safety tips to make sure your furry companions are safe and comfortable.

In summer, pets face some safety hazards that come with warmer temperatures.

We all know that pets should never be left in cars without proper ventilation. But even with the windows down, car temperatures can increase significantly in a few short minutes. This can put pets in a danger. They can dehydrate and even have a heat stroke when left unattended in a parked car.

Symptoms of heatstroke are heavy panting and difficulty breathing, a bright red tongue and thick saliva, lethargy and unsteadiness. Vomiting can also occur. Symptoms of dehydration can include loss of skin elasticity, dryness of the mouth and gums, and heavy or thick saliva. If dehydration becomes advanced, dogs can go into shock.

When it comes to pet travel safety, make sure you have an ample water supply and investigate some of the products available to help keep your pet cool and comfortable. Products such as cooling vests, cooling towels, and cooling pads will keep your pet’s body temperature under control on hot days. Please make sure pets are not left unattended in a vehicle for more than five minutes.

Dog’s eyes can also suffer from harmful UV rays and also from dirt, debris, and insects. Protective eyewear, such as goggles, is available, especially for biker dogs. Constant eye exposure to bright sunshine can lead to cataracts. Overexposure to the sun can also cause skin cancer in pets, especially short-haired dogs. Pet sunscreen will help with this problem.

More families are including their pets in their vacation plans, creating another area of concern for safety.

We take the time to buckle up and make sure our passengers are buckled up. But what about our pets?  Letting a pet run around a vehicle is very dangerous. They can be thrown around if you stop quickly or have an accident. Six states currently have restraint laws or are introducing them.  Penalties can include fines up to $500.Six states currently have restraint laws or are introducing them. Click To Tweet

Several products are available for your pet’s safety while riding. Seatbelt harnesses let you put the seatbelt through a loop on the harness to keep your pet buckled in. It will still have a little freedom but your pet is protected on impact or sudden braking. Seatbelt extenders attach to the seatbelt and work the same way human’s seatbelts do. Seatbelt ties will allow your dog some freedom to move around but will lock when braking. For smaller dogs, car seats are available to let it sit up but also keep it from being thrown around the vehicle.

Never let your pet ride on your lap while driving. Because of the danger of a possible airbag deployment, you should not let your pet sit in the front seat. Your pet can be crushed by the airbag. An unrestrained pet can also be a distraction for the driver. And please, never let your pet ride in the back of a pickup truck without restraints. A secured pet carrier is the best alternative. Safety should be the #1 priority.

Water safety is also a summer concern.

Not all dogs are good swimmers. Lifejackets are a good idea for boaters, because even a good swimmer may have difficulty reaching shore in an emergency. A snug lifejacket can keep your pet calm if thrown into the water unexpectedly. Lifejackets also help when dogs are just swimming and sometimes overdo the activity.

It is always best to err on the side of safety than to have your trip ruined by an injury or death. A small investment in your pet’s travel safety will outweigh any safety issues for your pet.

Larry Jandrew has owned The Pet Source in Hendersonville since 1999. Before that, he spent decades in various capacities in pet food businesses.

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