Labradors, like most dogs, love to go for rides in a truck (or car). You’ll find they are not picky, a trip thru the drive-thru at Dairy Queen or a ride to the doggie park ñ both elicit the same amount of excitement initially. Of course it is up the pet parent to insure your dog’s safety, and make it a pleasant experience for both of you.
1.Use a crate in your truck to retrain your dog for his safety.
The crate is the ideal form of restraint for larger dogs. While there are Pickup Truck TieOuts to transport Buster in the truck bed, this isn’t the safest method. Dog seat belts are available too, but these may work best on smaller dogs.
With a crate, you can travel with your pet without the risk of your dog getting loose and becoming lost or interfering with safe driving. And because Buster is in a familiar place, made even more so when you add his favorite blanket and toy, he will be more relaxed and better behaved.
Crates are not for every dog, and training is easier when you start training as a puppy. There are many helpful resources to assist you with training an older dog or a puppy, as on this YouTube page.
2. Do not allow your pet to ride in the front seat
If you are using a dog seat belt, you may be tempted to allow Buster in the front seat, closer to you. This is not safe for your pet. In the event of an accident, the airbag may be deployed, causing severe injury.
3. Be alert and attentive to your pet when traveling
Many dogs do not travel well if they have eaten within three hours of a road trip. Watch for signs of nausea or agitation that may be a sign of stomach problems. Be especially cautious when taking a break from driving. Your pet should be on a leash before the vehicle door is opened, and if you are using a crate, do not open the door if the dog is barking and anxious. You may be in for a chase once he’s free to roam the truck cab. If you are not the only 2 legged companion, take care that Buster wasn’t tied to the back of the truck and forgotten when it was assumed someone else put him back in the truck. Stories of forgotten pets being dragged behind vehicles are heard all the time.
4. Never let your dog stick his head out the window
Those floppy ears on a Lab can flap in the wind hard enough to literally cause swelling. And of course flying dust and grime can hurt your pet’s eyes and/or cause inner ear and lung infections [source: ASPCA].
5. Invest in a pet ramp for ease of getting your dog in and out of your truck
If you have a large truck or SUV, you probably have side steps to help you in and out of the vehicle. Your dog many need the same assistance. Large dogs who have hip problems or older dogs especially will benefit from a ramp for easy boarding. There are foldable ramps that store easily, shorter ones that don’t fold, and ones that will even work on your deck at home. Select a ramp with a non-slip surface for added safety.
Your planning and preparation are keys to making your on the road adventure a happy experience for both you and Buster.
About this guest author: Judy lives in Wisconsin with her husband and writes for her personal blog as well as her company’s. She works for Truck Champ, who sells an array of truck accessories. An animal lover at heart, Judy has made it a mission to spread the word about safe pet transport for those who love to have their dogs while in transit.