Car safety should be a priority when travelling with your pug. In fact, unrestrained dogs distract divers and end up causing tens of thousands of car accidents every year. Keeping your pug restrained in the car doesn’t just keep them safe, it also protects you and your passengers, as well as helps prevent accidents. Taking precautions to keep your pug safe and comfortable on the road is therefore essential for a smooth and successful trip.
Seat belts and harnesses
A car seat belt designed for dogs can help keep your pug in place during road travel. 65% of pet owners admit being distracted by their pets while driving, according to AAA & Kurgo Pet Passenger survey. In the US, eight people are killed everyday due to distracted driving. Working just the same as regular seat belts, dog seat belts attach to your pug’s collar or harness while the other end clips into the buckle in your car. They’re adjustable to suit your pug’s body, however, sometimes these seat belts can still end up being a little too long for pugs. As long as they fit properly, dog seat belts will give your pug room to sit upright in the car without them tumbling around too much.
Alternatively, a car harness tends to be a more secure (yet also more expensive) option. These fit over your pug’s own collar or harness before attaching to your car seat belt, making your pug extra secure. A dog harness is a safer option for your pug than a seat belt. If you were to get into a traffic accident, a dog harness functions to distribute the force of a sudden jolt or impact, which in turn lessens the strain or injury a single area of your pug’s body may otherwise sustain. Even better, these car harnesses usually also double function as a walking harness.
But, you also have a third option for your pug: a car booster seat. Booster seats are ideal for dogs who love to look out the window during tips. If, however, this tends to over-excite your pug, you can remedy this by choosing a shorter design. Booster seats can also help pugs who tend to get anxious or motion sickness in the car as they provide a cosy and stationary haven while everything else is moving. Measure the weight and length of your pug, so you can choose the right size seat for them.
Improving car safety
Driving a reliable car designed for optimal road safety will help keep you and your pug safe during travel. In a road accident, larger vehicles, for example, are naturally going to sustain less damage than smaller cars. A large bumper will absorb most of the crash impact, resulting in less harm to passengers. Ideally, you’ll want to start taking your pug in your car from a young age — this increases the likelihood of them being calm and happy during car journeys. Before you start going on trips together, get your pug used to sitting with you in a stationary car. You can then start introducing short trips before eventually building up to longer journeys. By making the journeys fun and ending them with something like a walk or a treat, your pug will likely develop positive feelings about car rides.
It’s also important to never secure your pug to the front passenger seat of your car — the airbags, if deployed in an accident, can end up doing more harm than good. If your pug always attempts to climb from the back into the front, put up a barrier that’ll help keep them in place. And, never let your pug stick their head out the window; they risk distracting nearby drivers, hitting their head on a passing object, or even falling out the window.
Pug puppies are more prone to car sickness than adult pugs — however they’ll usually grow out of this over time. If your pug struggles with car sickness, there are ways to help them overcome this. For example, keep the windows cracked to let fresh air circulate and keep the temperature inside your car cool. It also helps to walk or play with your pug around twenty minutes before your car ride to decrease their energy and stress levels. Be sure to restrict the food or water they’re given a few hours before the ride. If your pug still gets anxious or sick in the car after implementing these measures, you may want to ask your vet about anxiety or motion sickness medication.
Keeping your pug cool in hot weather
Travelling in hot weather can be uncomfortable for pugs and potentially fatal. It’s therefore important to keep them cool in the car when it’s hot out. Only drive during the coolest times of day (early morning or late evening), which makes the journey much more pleasant for your pooch. You should also monitor the temperature in the back of your car. While cars are usually well air conditioned in the front, it’s easy for the back to warm up fast, potentially endangering your pug. To cool down a warm car, open the windows and direct the fans so they’re facing the back seats. You can also use cooling aids, such as a cool mat, which your pug sits on to stay cool and comfortable during the ride. And, don’t forget to bring lots of water. Let your pug drink regularly and keep hydrated. Investing in non-spill water bowls guarantees continual access to fresh water. Make a point of stopping regularly to check on your pug. If they’re panting or looking warm, stop and give them time to cool down. When you park, let your pug out of the car as fast as you can.
Most importantly, never leave your pooch in the car alone. If you need to wait in the car together, make sure you have the air conditioning on or windows open. When you park, it should be in the shade or you can use a sunshade (or blankets or towels over the windows) to keep the sun out. Never drive for too long without stopping on longer journeys. Plan regular stops for shaded walks to keep your pug happy and engaged. Try also to minimize overall time spent in the car. For example, leave when there’s less vehicles on the roads so you won’t get stuck in traffic.
Keeping your pug safe on the road doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. By being proactive about safety, you can ensure a fun and stress-free journey for both you and your pug.