One way that you can keep from being distracted is to keep your dog in an area of the vehicle that is separated from you and your driving space. This is only possible if your vehicle is open in the back like the common SUV or station wagon. You can maintain separation between you and your pet by installing a gate that will restrict movement to one area of the vehicle. You can invest in special harnesses that will keep your dog safely confined to the backseat if you have a vehicle that does not have an open back end. The main purpose of the harness is to prevent your dog from being thrown forward if you have to stop suddenly. The gate will also provide a barrier which will prevent your dog from distracting you while you are driving.
If you own a truck that does not have a covered back end, then you should not allow your dog to ride in that un-enclosed portion of the truck since this can be dangerous for your dog as well as the other drivers around you if your dog decides to jump out. The other danger involved in this is the danger that you'll have to come to a sudden stop, which would throw your dog forward uncontrollably. Also, it is not idea to tie your dog up in the back end of your truck since this can be a very big choke hazard for your dog. If you're going to let your dog ride around with you in your truck, let him ride in the cab with you since this is where your dog will be safest.
Finally, the most important tip for keeping the car ride safe when you bring your dog along is to always remember to leave the windows open if you have to leave the vehicle for a short period of time. When the outside temperature is warm, the temperature inside the car will also heat up, in most cases to temperatures exceeding 120 degrees. This can occur in a fairly short amount of time so the longer you leave your dog in the car with the windows up, the more risk is placed on your dog's health. Your dog could experience heat exhaustion and in some cases where the dog is left for too long in a hot car, death. This can be avoided by taking the proper precautions and leaving the windows open in order to provide for enough ventilation. If you know you're going to have to leave your dog in the car for an extended period of time, then you may want to consider simply leaving your dog at home.
Bringing your dog along for a ride in the car can be a fun filled adventure for both you and your dog, but if the proper steps are not taken to protect your dog, the trip will not go as expected and will certainly not be as enjoyable.
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