There is nothing wrong with getting a puppy for Christmas, so long as you are truly ready for one. ( I got Maya right after Thanksgiving. She was my gift to myself.) Check out this great infographic from TheUncommonDog.com:
It’s almost time for our annual road trip from Kansas to Texas to visit family. The drive takes about eleven hours. Taking such a long trip with two big dogs requires careful preparation and planning.
Why Do We Drive?
An eleven hour trip sounds intimidating. But when you have two big dogs, visiting family for the holidays doesn’t leave many options. Boarding kennels and pet sitters tend to be booked up this time of year. Flying can be expensive, not to mention a very stressful situation for pets that need to ride in the cargo area of the plane. Winter weather can also prevent your dog from being able to fly.
While driving requires several hours of our vacation to be spent on the road, for us it is the best option. I’m not sad and worried about Maya and Pierson because they’re with me. And the gas expense is less than one flight ticket.
PREPARING FOR THE TRIP
Now that we know we are going to drive, we just need to work out the logistics. Is our vehicle in good shape, including the tires? Is a car enough, or should we rent an SUV? Last year we rented an SUV because our friends went with us and four adults and two big dogs just wouldn’t fit in our sedan.
This year it is just my husband and I and the two dogs so we can take our car. We’re not taking mine this year, though. We are taking my husband’s. My car is already fitted with all the dog gear, but it is an older model vehicle and I don’t want to risk it breaking down on the way. So before our trip, I need to outfit my husband’s Camry for Maya and Pierson. The first thing it needs is a seat cover. I will also install the Backseat Bridge because it covers the floor and gives my big pups more room to stretch out for the long trip.
Will we do the entire drive all in one day, or will we stay overnight at a hotel? Most times, we drive straight through. But this year, we are visiting friends in Tulsa and so will stay in a hotel. To prepare, we need to find a pet friendly hotel in Tulsa and make reservations.
Health & Temperament
Maya and Pierson are in good health and so will be fine on this trip. But depending on your pet, you may want to consider his health before going on your road trip. In addition, think about how much or how little your dog likes to ride in the car. If he doesn’t like to ride, you may need to start getting him used to it now by taking short road trips to somewhere fun. You can also ask your vet about possible pet anxiety treatments you can give him.
A week before the trip, I compile a packing list. I add to it as things come to mind so that by the day of the trip, I know everything I need to take. For the dogs, I need their food, treats, food and water bowls, water, toys, blankets, beds, leashes, veterinary records, poop bags, their dog seat belts, first aid kit, and I need to make sure their id tags are secure on their collars. Since we are staying in a hotel, I should think about bringing their pet crates too.
Right Before We Leave
Besides checking off the packing list and making sure our vehicle has gas, I also like to administer Travel Calm to both Maya and Pierson. Maya gets excited in the vehicle and the all natural Travel Calm really helped keep her relaxed and quiet on our trip last year. Pierson sometimes gets car sick and Travel Calm helps with that too.
The next thing we do before we go is let the dogs go potty. And the final thing is to make sure our house is secure. If we didn’t already have someone watching our house, we’d be talking to our neighbors to ask them to keep an eye out. We’d also reduce the thermostat and make sure we didn’t leave any unnecessary appliances turned on.
THE ROAD TRIP
When traveling such a long distance, it is a good idea for us and the dogs to make plenty of pit stops. We stop at rest areas or gas stations to stretch our legs or use the restroom. For the dogs, I make sure their leashes are secure before letting them out of the car. It helps that they are already secured in their dog seat belts. All I have to do is attach their leash, then release the buckle that keeps them secured.
When I take them to go potty, I make sure they only go in designated pet areas. And I always pick up after them. If we’re in a public area, I am careful about not imposing my dogs on other people. I keep control of them as much as possible for both their safety and for the sake of others.
While it would probably be much more convenient if we could travel without having to worry about the dogs, I really enjoy taking them. For me, the holidays just wouldn’t be the same without my Maya and Pierson. If you’re traveling by car this holiday and taking your best friend with you, consider our preparation plans and apply them for your situation. And send us pictures!
Dawn with Maya & Pierson
Welcome to Follow Up Friday where we recap the week… in this case, the past two weeks. I did not participate last week because I was still stuffed from Thursday’s meal.
This week’s follow up is hosted by Jodi with Heart Like a Dog. Be sure to check out her blog to see what Sampson and Delilah have been up to.
You may have already heard about the contest in November for the cute dog figurines. Winners have been announced… Kate V, Jodi E, Lindsay, Jenn B, and Theresa S. Congratulations all! If you haven’t already received your prize, you should be receiving it within a day or two.
Now for the December contest giveaway! On December 2nd, I started a contest for a paw print seat cover. If you haven’t already, go check it out and enter the rafflecopter. There are multiple ways to enter, and I’m sure most of you already meet the criteria by liking my Facebook page and following me on Twitter. You can also add additional entries by tweeting daily. There have only been 38 entries so far, so your chances are good. This contest ends on December 15th. I want to make sure the winner can get their cover in time for Christmas.
Speaking of the paw print pet car covers, Flea with Dog Treat Web for Jones Natural Chews did a great review for me. I heard she got a new Prius and thought she might like one. Check out the review from Flea.
THE RIGHT PET TRAVEL PRODUCT FOR YOU
Posted on the same day as the seat cover contest was an article about selecting the best way for your dog to travel; not based on what everyone else says is the best, but what works for you, your situation, and your dog. The best dog seat belt on the market may not work for your best friend. Some dogs might prefer riding in a crate. But then again, if you have a big dog you might not be able to fit his large pet crate in your small car. There are a ton of different situations and other options besides harnesses and crates. Be sure to go check out this article.
I haven’t posted about this yet, so I thought I would share it here today. We didn’t travel this holiday. Since my dad and stepmom are 11 hours away, my mom and stepdad are 5 hours away, my husband’s parents are in another country, and since my husband couldn’t get Friday off, we stayed home. Neither of us have any family nearby, but we have some good friends. We had a nice afternoon meal, ate some traditional and also nontraditional food, then took a nap. All-in-all, a wonderful day to be thankful for.
I didn’t post about Black Friday on this blog, but I did a little bit on my other blog. On Black Friday, I went to Petco and bought Pierson a bark control collar. I also got him a free pair of reindeer antlers with the purchase. I thought it was a fun trip, but Pierson was not at all pleased:
If you want to know more about how the bark control collar worked for Pierson, be sure to visit my American Dog Blog. The short version of this story is it has been peaceful this week.
Thanks for stopping by. And thank you, Jodi for hosting the blog hop! Happy Holidays everyone.
Dawn with Maya & Pierson
This is the Last Contest Giveaway of the Year
Starting right now and ending at 11:59pm on December 15th, 2013, you can enter to win a paw print pet car seat cover! Simply enter the Rafflecopter below. Earn an entry for each of the options in the Rafflecopter, and tweet daily for additional entries. One winner will be selected using Random.org. The winner can select either one back cover or one front cover. Choose from one of four available colors. The contest is open to anyone with a continental US mailing address. Winner must respond within 2 business days or another winner will be selected.
A Paw Print Dog Seat Cover will Make a Great Gift for You or a Friend
If you don’t want to wait, these are all on sale, plus you can get an additional 15% off by using the discount code, holidaypet. (This discount code applies to all orders, excluding the BreezeGuard car window screens.)
Here’s more about the paw print pet car seat cover:
- Comes in black, gray, tan, or brown
- Made by Guardian Gear
- Measures 55 inches across (side to side) and 42 inches long (top to bottom edge)
- Made from 100% polyester. Machine wash, lie flat to dry in order to keep the shape
- Has seat belt holes so your family and your dogs can buckle up
- Attaches with 4 corner straps and a few other clips and straps along the edges
There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding what to get for your dog when you want to protect him in the car. It’s not just a matter of selecting the safest product. What might be the best for one person and their pet may not be what is best for you and yours. Here are some things to consider.
SAFETY vs COMFORT
You want your best friend to be both safe and comfortable. However, the safest travel gear is not always the most comfortable. For example, the ClickIt Utility has been deemed as the safest canine car harness in 2013 by the Center for Pet Safety. But it is also the most restrictive, making it uncomfortable for dogs who insist on trying to move around in the car. If your dog is like this, you may want to consider a less restrictive brand. The Ruff Rider Roadie is just one notch under the ClickIt in safety so it still offers protection, and it’s not as restrictive.
Chew or Escape Proof?
Keep in mind, too, that if your dog is uncomfortable he may try to wiggle or chew out of a car restraint. Car harnesses are not chew proof. And none are entirely escape proof either. Some might be more difficult to wiggle out of than others, but if a dog is determined enough he will break out, or hurt himself trying.
Harness vs Crate
Another safety versus comfort concern is regarding a car restraint versus a crate. Is a safety harness safer than a crate? This has not been officially determined, but it would stand to reason that a secured pet travel crate can keep your dog from being a distraction and from getting thrown from the vehicle, just like a durable seat belt can.
So when debating whether to get a harness or crate, consider your dog’s comfort. Some dogs won’t like being restrained in a harness while others would hate riding in a travel carrier. And some dogs won’t like either, which means using a car barrier or other pet travel safety product might be ideal for you. These other kinds or products won’t provide as much safety, but at the very least may help to keep your furry best friend in the back seat.
Thankfully, the chances of you being involved in a collision are small. And if you do get in an accident, be thankful that most accidents are minor. Census.gov reports for 2009 that 0.6% of all car accidents in the US were fatal while 27.6% had nonfatal injuries, and 71.9% had property damage only. Where we may not be badly injured in a fender bender, an unrestrained dog can be. He can break his leg when he gets tossed between the seats, get severe damage to his nose if he hits the dash, get bodily injured when he gets thrown at the windshield, get squished because he is on your lap between you and the steering wheel, or get choked because his head is out the car window. All these possible injuries could be minimized or even eliminated with even the most basic restraint, crash tested or not.
TYPE OF VEHICLE
If you have a small car and a big dog, having him ride in a crate may not be feasible. Or if you have an SUV and you want your pet to ride in the cargo area, keep in mind that not all canine car harness brands can be used in the cargo area.
In general, the safest products are also the most expensive. Manufacturers making safety gear have invested heavily in quality materials and testing, thereby making merchandise that might be out of one’s price range. But paying less does not always mean making a compromise on your best friend’s welfare. Bergan has a relatively inexpensive harness which passed crash testing at the small and medium sizes (25lbs and 45lbs). Pet carriers also tend to be more expensive than harnesses, especially larger crates.
Do you want to keep your dog safe, or do you just want to keep him from trying to climb in the front seat or climb onto your lap? Perhaps you only plan on taking short trips around town and not on the highway. Maybe your dog doesn’t get to go for a ride very often. Safety is important, but your intended use is also an important factor to consider. You may not want to spend a lot of money on the safest seat belt for dogs if you don’t plan on using it that often.
EASE OF USE
What is easy to use and what isn’t is relative. If you’re not used to putting on a harness, a car harness can seem complex. The ClickIt Utility with its three attachment points can seem even more convoluted. A carrier may not be easy either, especially when you consider how you are going to strap it in and secure it in your vehicle. However, whichever method you choose, it gets easier each time.
These are just a few of the factors people think about when they look for a pet travel safety product. Which features do you consider?
I have had a lot of great questions and comments about dog seat belts this week, so let’s jump right in with the recap.
LAST WEEK’S FOLLOW UP
Jodi with Heart Like a Dog asked how to determine the correct size of pet car harness to get. Each brand has a different method, which can make things kind of confusing. So the first thing to do is determine which brand to get.
The Bergan makes it easy to determine what size is needed. All you need to know is the weight of your dog. Kurgo, too, can go by weight, but knowing your dog’s chest measurement also helps. The Ruff Rider Roadie also needs the chest measurement.
Measure your dog’s chest by wrapping a tape measure around the biggest part of his chest. Use the two-finger rule, which means put two fingers under the measure when you do this. The measurement is also called the girth. Maya’s girth is 31 inches. According to Kurgo’s measurement guidelines, Maya would need a large which fits dogs with a girth between 24 and 34 inches. According to the Ruff Rider Roadie, she’d need a medium 2.
The ClickIt Utility pet car harness requires a different measurement. You have to measure both your dog’s neck and chest in a figure 8. Here’s a video with detailed instructions – Sizing for ClickIt Utility dog seat belts.
Flea with Dog Treat Web for Jones Natural Chews compared the use of a pet car harness to when seat belt laws for people first became mandatory. It took a lot of persuasion (and threats of getting a ticket) to convince people to wear them. Today, it still takes some convincing. Perhaps someday, we will all see the benefits for ourselves and our family, including our pets.
Hawk with Brown Dog CBR said, “I need a longer tether for my harness. I prefer my crate, but my size or rather the crate’s size prevents it fitting into the car. I HATE the harness and seat belt! It always get all twisted whenever I need to lay down. The harness fits perfectly, but the tether is WAY too short to allow any movement.” With the recent research that determined all dog seat belts may not be as safe as we like, a lot of people are considering pet travel crates. But you’re right, Hawk. This is not easy to do for big dogs. There is no way Maya and Pierson’s dog crate will fit in my car. Speaking of tangling in the tethers, the brand I’ve found the best is the Bergan tether. It is sold separately so that you don’t have to buy the whole harness. Kurgo also has a direct connect tether – Replacement Tethers for harnesses.
Regarding the importance of picking up your dog’s poop when traveling, Roxy with Roxy the Traveling Dog says, “Very true, because we are always traveling, I have bags in the truck, in my purse, sometimes in my pocket. I always pick up the poop.” Me too! I have poop bags in the car and in all my coat pockets. I don’t carry around a purse so my cell phone, driver’s license, and credit cards are always in my pants pockets, along with a few poop bags.
Sugar with Sugar the Golden Retriever noted about how some parks are beginning to restrict dogs to certain areas. This is because people aren’t picking up after their dogs. So it is very important that we show how responsible we can be when it comes to our furry best friends.
FUNNY DOGS CAR TALK ADVENTURES
The first episode of Maya and Pierson’s car travel video is finally finished! If you missed it, check it out below.
Be sure to give it a thumbs up on YouTube! Maya, Pierson, and I would love it if you’d share it too.
Snoopy with Snoopy’s Dog Blog said, “I loved the video!! It was very informative, but in a cool and fun way – great job! Looking forward to the next videos – Maybe Maya and Pierson will be getting and Oscar for their performances?”
Thanks so much, Snoopy! They might not get an Oscar, but they got a lot of treats for cooperating so well. When Maya said, “Huh?” in the video, it was because I said the word “cookie”. And Pierson really does need bribing sometimes when it comes to getting in the car.
I have a bunch of figurines left over from another website I used to run for animal figurines, so I thought I would give some away. Sorry I’m not giving away something as exciting as pet travel supplies this time. But I will in December, I promise! In the meantime, there is still a chance to win a cute dog figurine. If you’re not interested in one for yourself, it might make a good gift. Or if your shelter or rescue group does auctions to raise money, you can give it to them. The contest is open until the end of the month.
Well, that’s all I have for this week. Thanks for stopping by! And thank you to Jodi and Donna for hosting the Follow Up Friday blog hop!
Dawn with Maya & Pierson
Thank goodness, it is another contest giveaway! Sorry, it is not a pet travel product this time. But it sure is cute. I have a few dog figurines left over from another website I used to run and thought it would be great to give some away. There are a total of five of these adorable shoe & dog figurines available, three brown and two black. They are each 4″ long, 7″ wide, and 5″ tall. The shoe has an opening in it so that you can put in some dirt and a small plant. This figurine can be used both indoors and out. These are a Land & Sea product.
Contest Details and Rules:
- Since this is a thankful month, tell us in comments what your pet is most thankful for. Then use the Rafflecopter below to submit your contest entry.
- Enter by the other ways indicated on the Rafflecopter.
- Open to those with a shipping address in the Continental US only.
- Contest ends on November 30th, 11:59pm CST.
- Tweet daily for more entries.
- Your likes and follows must be active on the date of the drawing.
- Winners will be chosen using Random.org. Please respond within 3 business days. Winners who do not resopnd within that time will forfeit their prize.
Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful holiday season!
Dawn with Maya & Pierson
Welcome to the Scoop that Poop blog hop hosted by Sugar the Golden Retriever. I can’t tell you enough about how important it is to pick up after your dog. This is especially important when you travel with them. Why? Because you want there to be more dog friendly places, right? Parks, rest stops, and hotels are going to be more open about allowing dogs if we pick up after them.
So the next time you travel with your dog, take poop patrol very seriously. Pick up your dog’s poo. If you see someone else’s dog left a little present in the grass or on the sidewalk, it would be really pawsome if you picked that up too. Yes, it is gross. But it is also easy to do.
Join the Scoop that Poop campaign and check out the poop patrol blog hop below.
The first episode of Maya and Pierson’s car travel video is finally done! My dogs Maya and Pierson ride in the car while wearing their pet car restraints and have interesting conversations. In this first funny video from Pet Auto Safety, Maya and Pierson talk about why they wear their dog seat belts. I tried to make it a bit humorous so that it isn’t the same old boring lecture. Watch it and tell me what you think.
So, how do you like it? If you enjoyed it, can you do me a favor and give it a thumbs up on YouTube?
Future videos will be less informative and more fun. Hopefully, the next video will not take 7 months to make. If you’d like to know what making this first video entailed, keep reading. It’s a bit dry, so feel free to skip this next part and leave a comment about the video at the end of the post. You can also leave a comment about the video on YouTube. Thanks everyone!
SEVEN MONTHS IN THE MAKING
I purchased a nice camcorder and video editing software at the end of March 2013. My camera is the JVC Evirio and the video editing software is the Movie Edit Pro 2013 from Magix. I started using the camcorder right away, but when I first downloaded the software I was greatly intimidated. How on earth would I figure this program out without someone to teach me? I don’t know about you, but reading the instruction manual did not appeal to me one little bit.
So I procrastinated on learning the video editing software. I wasn’t completely putting off this project, though. I started brainstorming video ideas, writing scripts, and trying to figure out how I was going to get a male Australian accent for Pierson.
Once I finally had these things ready, I started playing with the video editing software. I learned by playing with it, and only referred to the manual when there was something specific I really wanted to do but couldn’t figure out how. The first two videos I made with this software are of me drawing the dog Mos and of my dog Maya playing in a public pool.
The next snag in making the Pet Auto Safety video was how to mount the camera in the car. After trying various methods, I finally found a decent car camera mount. The video was now underway. Maya and Pierson wore their pet car restraints and cooperated very well as I drove around town with the video camera set to record. Now that I think I have a pretty good idea of what I’m doing, I believe Episode 2 will take a lot less time to make. Perhaps I can have it ready in January or February. I’d say sooner, except the holidays may hold me back.
Thanks for stopping by and checking out my video!
Dawn with Maya & Pierson
A comment from this past week, but posted on an article from the week before comes from Sue with Talking Dogs. On our Pros and Cons post, she mentioned how securing three dogs that need to move around was a challenge. I can definitely see how trying to secure three dogs in a dog car seat belt can be a challenge. Even though there are three slots in the back, the dogs can get tangled if they move around too much. Is there one dog who doesn’t mind not being able to move around too much? Perhaps use the middle safety belt and one latch bar from each side to secure him or her in the ClickIt Utility. The other two can wear the Bergan, which has an adjustable tether length and can allow the dogs to move around a bit more. With the really secure one in the middle, they can’t get tangled.
LAST WEEK’S FOLLOW UP FRIDAY
Jodi with Heart Like a Dog mentioned she’d like to find a way for the dogs to try a dog car seat belt on Sampson and Delilah in person. I completely understand. It can be intimidating buying some things online without being able to see it, feel it, and try it on. Read on for my response to Ducky’s mom.
Ducky’s Mom with The Golden Life asked if she could try the ClickIt Utility on a trial basis, such as a 30 day money-back guarantee. Absolutely! We have a 30 day return policy. Unless a piece is missing, such as a tether, 100% is refundable. The only thing I don’t have is a way to provide a return shipping label. Ducky’s mom also asked about the canine car harness brands available at PetSmart. I think it has the Solvit, Kurgo, and their own brand, which I’ve recently learned is actually made by the same manufacturer as Bergan. Unlike the Bergan, it is brown. But everything else is the same. Petco generally carries the Kurgo brand.
Lindsay with That Mutt commented on how my mom’s dog Solo resembles my boy Pierson. Solo came from a terrible hoarding situation. She was extremely shy and after bonding with my mom and stepdad became extremely possessive of them. She had been known to try to bite people coming to visit. But when my husband and I met her for the first time, she warmed up to both of us very quickly. My husband, who is not a big dog lover, fell in love with her. After our dog Sephi passed on and we talked about getting another dog, my husband told me he wanted a dog like Solo. So the search for Border Collies began and we eventually found Pierson, a Border Collie and Australian Shepherd mix.
By the way, we had a good weekend at my mom’s. My mom has recovered from lung cancer very well. My stepdad’s health is not so great though. We really worry about him.
Emma with GBGV Life said she loves her dog car seat belt. Hers is the AllSafe, by the way. And she says that her new sister Bailie is adjusting to it as well. That’s fantastic! Sometimes it can be difficult introducing a canine car harness to our furry friends. It’s best to start when they are young, but puppies don’t necessarily take to them any easier than adults. Emma also mentioned how she didn’t see her comment after she posted it. Sorry everyone, my comments are set up to go through moderation. There are a ton of methods to keep the spammers at bay and I choose the moderation one.
Ann with My Pawsitively Pets says Shiner has a canine car harness, but since she has a small car, Shiner doesn’t get to ride in the car very often. Makes sense. Shiner is a big girl and I can see how a small car could be uncomfortable for her, not to mention crowded for you.
WHY SELECT ANOTHER DOG CAR SEAT BELT BRAND
Lindsay with That Mutt said, “I think you make a good point that in most cases, any type of restraint is going to be safer than nothing.” Thanks, Lindsay! I couldn’t agree more. In fact, even though Kurgo didn’t rank as one of the best in the independent study completed by the Center for Pet Safety, they have a wonderful testimonial from a customer who said the Kurgo canine car harness saved their dog’s life.
There were a lot of compliments on this post. I love making these funny dog captions with photos of Maya & Pierson and am so glad you all liked them. Here’s an oldie but goodie:
FUNNY DOGS PREVIEW VIDEO
The preview video is finally done! Alas, I’m not quite done with the full episode yet. Enjoy this 20 second preview today, then stop by again this weekend for the first full episode, which will be about 3 minutes.
Jodi with Heart Like a Dog said this about the 20 second preview video, “I love that Pierson has an Aussie accent. I can’t wait to see the whole video. How did you figure out the video editing? Honestly, I have to learn how to do that!“
I bought the movie editing software in March of this year. It has taken a lot of playing around to figure out how to use it and I still haven’t mastered all the features.
Thank you everyone for stopping by and for all your wonderful comments. And thank you Jodi and Flea for hosing the Follow Up Friday blog hop. Have a great weekend everyone!
Dawn with Maya and Pierson