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Buckle that pup. "Driving under the influence"… of my dog.

A dog buckled up with a dog seat belt

The summer months are a great time for road trips with friends, family and of course… your pet. Our dog was a part of my family growing up. Wherever we went, she'd come along. I recall many childhood trips, piling into the family van with the dog lying in the area by the sliding door and heading off to our destination. Times have changed quite a bit.

Flash forward to today and a recent trip of my own:

There I was, backing down my driveway with my eyes darting from my rearview mirror, to the descending garage door and then back to the rearview mirror. I made it down my driveway and was just about to embark on my trip when my thoughts were quickly interrupted by a wet nose and rather large lick to the back of my neck. I turned around in my seat just quick enough to catch the second lick from my dog square in mouth, uggh gross. It appeared that Lucy, my boxer and back seat co-pilot for this road trip, was ready to go as well. Lucy was securely "dog belted" in and ready to ride.

Although it may be tempting to have your dog ride on your lap while driving, doing so may pose a risk to yourself, your pet and the well being of your fellow commuters.

Lucy has accompanied me on a variety of trips throughout the years and we've both learned a lot of how to and how not to travel together. Following a trip to the veterinarian for "road trip" trauma, (debris in the face while head out the window) I knew I had to make some changes to ensure we'd be travel companions for years to come.

It took a little getting used to, but gone are the days when I'd let her ride in the front seat and stick her head out the window. Now, I won't allow her to ride in the car without being completely secured by a dog seat belt. She's a back seat rider, strapped in by a seat belt and without the option to stick her head out the window.

There are many options for pet restraints on the market and each option can be tailored to the size and temperament of your pet. Travel crates, harnesses, window guards and seatbelts offer a wide selection of ways to ensure your pet stays safe while traveling in the car. Hey, Better safe than sorry. Check out this video that shows an example of what could happen. I know which one of those pups I'd want mine to be.

Although it may be tempting to have your dog ride on your lap while driving, doing so may pose a risk to yourself, your pet and the well being of your fellow commuters. According to Global Animal Foundation, there are no state laws requiring drivers to buckle up their pets or prohibiting them from holding animals on their laps, officials said. But police can ticket drivers for having an obstructed view of the road or being obstructed from using the steering wheel and other mechanisms in the vehicle

As you enjoy the summer… please remember to buckle that pup.

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