A while back, one of our Patty posts was an article about “10 Tips for Driving with Dogs,” relating and revealing some important facts about everything from crates to travel kits. In this winter edition, we’ll add some advice to those tips that will make sure Fido doesn’t become too “frosty” or frustrated while riding with us during these colder months.
When it comes to travel kits, especially in the wintertime, make sure they’re packed with some “pet wipes.” Similar to baby wipes (but don’t use these on dogs), this allows you to clean their feet and “under carriages” after they’ve been walking around in some of winter’s aftermaths like mud, wet grass or snow. Even on city streets and sidewalks, often agencies use salt and other chemicals as de-icers that can be dangerous when left on a dog’s sensitive paws, especially for extended periods of time.
Depending upon your final destination, if you’ll be driving to (or through) areas where wildlife could be present, don’t assume they’re hibernating just because it’s winter. We’re not necessarily talking about huge threats like bears, but little annoyances, pests like rodents and bats that can also be threatening and quickly ruin a pleasant journey, like encountering a skunk for example.
While bats, rodents, skunks and other pests are usually passed out during the daytime hours, especially when the temperature drops, they’re still actively seeking food, especially after a fresh snowfall. If you’re pulling over to walk your buddy in the snow, look for signs of wildlife, their tracks, broken branches and unusual signs of movement through the snowpack that leave a trail. Keep your four-legged best friend closeby or move onto the next rest stop if you can.
When driving in colder temperatures, we often keep the windows shut tightly and enjoy the warmth of the automobile’s heater inside our car, but you should still crack a window near your pet. Opening that tiny amount and allowing air intake into your car will help to equalize the pressure inside your vehicle and aid with possible car sickness.
It also helps to lessen some of the drying effects that heaters have on the automobile’s occupants. You may have noticed that extended use of the heater (or the air conditioner for that matter) causes your eyes to become dry and irritated. Very bad for both the driver and their passengers.
If you took some advice from our previous post about keeping your animal safely crated during this journey, but even in or outside of this environment, you should always keep an eye on them to make sure they’ve not either overly heated or getting a chill. Use your rear-view mirror, your fellow passengers or a few pit-stops to make sure they’re okay.
Most motorists carry extra items inside their car for emergencies, safety flares, water, snacks, usually in the trunk, especially a blanket, just in case. But make sure your dog has their own set of supplies in case something unsettling happens. They’ll need their own individual covering, extra food, water and etc.