Pets of all kinds travel on a daily basis in cars and trucks. It’s important to consider your pet’s welfare while traveling, even if it’s a short trip to the local store.

Get him ready ahead of time.

Your pet might be anxious for the travel, so get him prepared by taking him on a series of short drives first, then gradually lengthening the time spent in the car. If you’re traveling across state lines, be sure to bring his vaccination record. Allow your pet to have a light meal three to four hours prior to departure, and avoid feeding your pet in a moving vehicle. Some pets suffer motion sickness. Be sure to discuss your travel plans with your vet, for options on helping get through the ride.

Take a travel kit.
Bring a leash, water bowl, waste bags, any medication, and some light treats. A Hero Treat N Play toy is a good option for keeping him busy. He won’t consume a vast amount of food and will be occupied for a while as he attempts to find the hidden treat.

Crates are the best option to ensure your dog’s safety when traveling.
When choosing a travel crate, be sure you use a safety-certified, crash-tested crate. It’s also important to choose the proper size crate for your dog. The ASPCA recommends that the crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. Remember to secure the crate so that it will not slide or shift in the event of an abrupt stop. Behind the seats is a good option.

Harness your pet if a crate is not an option.
An unrestrained pet can become a missile if you come to a sudden stop, or worse. Consider a travel harness that offers adequate protection to the dog and the passengers of the vehicle. Again, the best place for your pet is the back seat, keeping it clear of bags, groceries or other items he might want to inquire about. You’ll be less tempted to look away from the road knowing he is secure in the back seat.

Pickup beds are a no-no.
While it might be tempting to allow your dog in the back of your truck, keep that to a “photo op” while the car is parked. Your pooch might be tempted to jump out and can be thrown back and forth, or out of the vehicle.

Keep noses inside the vehicle.
Pets who are allowed to stick their heads out the window can be injured by debris or made sick by having the cold, forced air into their lungs. Even a tiny opening in the window can be dangerous, as a pebble or something from the road can be blown into your pet’s face.

Never leave your pet alone.

A quick stop may feel like no time to you, but for your pet, it’s too long to leave him alone. And, even if it’s 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the inside temperature can heat up to 116 degrees within an hour. Your pet can suffer irreversible organ damage or even death if left in the heat. An unattended pet is also an opportunity for theft.

Check your car insurance.

Learn whether your car insurance will cover pet injuries in an accident. Many carriers offer pet injury coverage as part of their standard auto insurance policy. Use your trusted agent as a resource to help you select the right coverage for your canine friend.