Ford recently organized a canine event to help educate customers about driving with pets.
Ford recently organized a canine event to help educate customers about driving with pets.

It’s fun to take your ‘4-legged buddy’ on a road trip

Auto & Audio August 13, 2017 01:00

By Kingsley Wijayasinha

In the past, taking pets along on a drive isn't as popular as it is today, thanks to the growing number of pet-friendly facilities all over the country.

These days, there are restaurants that allow pets to be brought in. And while most hotels do not allow pets, there are some that do, in addition to special pet hotels you can drop off your buddy for the night when vacationing.

While normal cars would be adequate for taking your dog on a ride those with active lifestyles usually purchase SUVs and MPVs due to the high flexibility and added interior space. Travelling with a dog means that you may need extra space for dog cages and beds as well as other doggie accessories.

American automaker Ford recently organised a "4-legged Buddy" workshop for Ford Ecosport compact SUV owners, who were given lots of tips regarding doggie drives.

Also present at the event were celebrity dogs from Captain Quint's Family and other stables, who also took part in the workshops along with human participants.

Owning a dog myself (Tyson is a mixed Pitbull that looks like Benji and frankly I don't know the other half), I occasionally take him on a ride, mostly to the local Coffee Today (which allows pets) joint. We usually travel in my own car and my son's car. However, whenever I bring back a test drive car, he also gets a chance to get on board as well.

Dogs love car rides and sticking their heads out the window. This is universal, and they can be quite a distraction while driving when they eagerly move around the cabin.

Some have the ability to open the electric window and even the doors (perhaps by chance at first), so before getting to Ford's tips, my first advice when taking a dog in a car is to use the master switch to lock all windows and activate the child lock in the rear doors.

To protect the seat upholstery from claw marks, there are specially-made canvases for sale that you can just hang from the headrests, for front passenger seat as well as rear seats. Very helpful indeed.

Ok so before taking off here are some things you will need to have. Always put contact information (name, phone number) on the collar just in case your dog gets lost. Bring dog food, snacks, water and any medication (dogs can get carsick too), lots of tissue paper and towels, leash and extra leash (in case the first one breaks), along with some of your dog's personal stuff like a toy or blanket. They will help calm down the canine, or you might take him for a short run in the morning before leaving, in order to get rid of some excess energy. And also don't forget to bring along doggie bags and air freshener.

As mentioned, dogs like to move around the car which is dangerous. There are actually restraint equipment for dogs for sale (I've just seen one on Facebook), which would provide some degree of safety for the dog. It also prevents small dogs from getting into the footwell on the driver's side, which could prevent the driver from using the brake or accelerator. Now, this is a very dangerous situation to be in.

When travelling, humans need to stop for meals and go to the washroom. So do dogs. After every 2-3 hours of driving, it's a good idea to stop by the gas station and take a short break.

An important rule here is never leave your dog in the car alone during the day, even for a short time. Without air-conditioning, the cabin can heat up very quickly under sunlight, and dogs can easily suffer heatstroke. Leaving the engine and air-con running while you are away is another catastrophe waiting to happen, just like leaving young kids. Always bring your dog out to do his/her business and perhaps have a bite and drink. Just stay out of the vehicle or until there is someone in the car.

After taking off, it's important to bear in mind that dogs don't sit like humans and can easily lose their balance on car seats. It is important that you try to drive smoothly -- take off gently and don't use high speeds so that you can brake gently as well.

A common problem with dogs in the car is that they might find something to gnaw. Handbrake levers are a favourite perhaps due to its shape and size (Yes Tyson did it). Meanwhile, the console, door panels and the tinted film on the windows are usually full of scratch marks when an excited dog gets in.

Nevertheless. it is fun taking dogs on a road trip, especially to special places that welcome dogs, for example, my favourite is the BMA Dog Park in Ramindra/Vacharaphol area that has all the facilities to give both dog and owner a great time.

Dog spas (they have dog treadmills too) and swimming pools are also increasing these days, and I've just found one near my home. Prices may be high though, so driving to Bangsaen beach and taking a dip in the seawater is always another interesting alternative.

The first time your dog sees the ocean is something to cherish -- keep your cameras ready.