Travel safe with your pet this summer

By Mary Dennehy

TWO free events in Tallaght this month aim to educate pet owners about the steps they can take to protect themselves and their pets as holiday-makers gear up for three of the busiest months on the nation’s roads.

Maxi Zoo pet store is urging people to plan ahead before embarking on car trips with their pet this summer and to be mindful of just how uncomfortable, stressful and dangerous such car journeys can be.

dog car 

“While there is no law governing the transportation of pets in Ireland it is highly important to understand what is involved and that it is unsafe to allow your dog to roam freely while driving,” said Emma Fanning, Education Officer at Maxi Zoo Ireland.

The free advisory days take place at the Arena Retail Park in Tallaght on Friday, June 22, and Saturday, June 23, during opening hours, with a 15 per cent discount across its full range of travel products, including the Dogs Creek range of travel blankets, sleeping blankets, water bowls, frisbees and leashes.

Top tips

The store’s pet experts have also prepared a list of top-tips for drivers and pet owners, the first of which is to take time out to find a suitable pet restraining device or accessory for their pet, taking its size and age into consideration.

“A transport box, such as the AniOne Travel Box, is the best option to safely restrain your pet in the car with the alternatives including dog safety belts, seats or a grid to separate the dog’s space from the passengers in the car,” Ms Fanning said.

Dog owners should take time to familiarise and make their pet comfortable with the device, including presenting it to their pet and allowing him to sniff it before it is safely secured in the car.

The dog should never be forced into the box and treats or toys should be used to gently lure the pet into the device.

“Taking your dog for long walk and playing high intensity games such as fetch will help to calm your pet down before getting them into the car.

"The less excited and more relaxed your pet is the more likely they are to fall asleep quickly,” Ms Fanning said.

Stop at least every two hours

Pets should be fed at least three hours before the car trip to avoid car sickness and should have a fresh source of water available at all times to maintain proper hydration levels.

It is also important for pet owners to check regularly to ensure their pet is not getting over-heated or suffering heat-stroke.

“The symptoms that pet owners should look out for include hyperventilation, excessive panting, pale and dry gums, increased salivation or digestive problems.

“They should stop at least once every two hours to let their dog walk and rest for a minimum of 15 minutes outside the car.

“The best way to keep your pet entertained during the trip is to provide them with a chewing toy. Food and bone treats should be avoided as these can increase the chances of your dog getting carsick,” she added.

Never leave a pet in a car

Pet owners are advised to never leave their pet in their car, even with the window cracked open.

The temperatures in the car can be vastly different to the outside temperatures.

Pet owners are welcome to bring their pet with them to the store at the Arena Retail Park for the free advisory days on June 22 and 23 and to talk to Maxi Zoo’s pet experts about what products are best suited to their particular breed of dog.

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