Kelly Hayes | The Gazette
As summer approaches, you might have plans of traveling with your furry friends.
And in Colorado, that means a lot of outdoor adventures.
“There are plenty of hiking trails, running trails, everything that a lot of people like to bring their pets to,” said Colorado State Trooper Gabriel Moltrer.
And there are some ways you can make sure you and your pet have a safe, adventurous summer. Moltrer provided some tips on how to travel safely with your furry friend, from car to campground.
When driving, make sure your pet is safely secured.
Keeping your pet restrained while driving is safest for everyone. Moltrer suggests using a carrier or crate to anchor them to the seat.
Many pet carriers nowadays have seatbelts for the dogs, too, Moltrer said, which helps keep them in.
Having your pet secure also means keeping them in the car. It’s important to make sure your pup’s head isn’t out the window — no matter how much they seem to enjoy it. Why? Debris can cause serious damage.
“We all know dogs like to keep their head out the window while you’re driving, but it is detrimental to them and it actually could be harmful,” he said. “You know how it is when you’re driving and a rock kicks up from a vehicle in front of you; that can actually hit the animal and harm them.”
If you are being distracted by your dog, you run the risk of a citation, Moltrer said.
“When they are being a distraction and jumping around then it is probably unsafe driving behavior,” he said. “We will intervene as needed, we will issue a citation for that.”
Make sure your pet is in the back seat.
Pets can be another distraction when driving, so its important to keep them in the back seat, where they can’t distract you. And yes, that includes smaller lap dogs.
“The best way to travel with any type of pets is keep them out of the way,” Moltrer said.
While you might be comforted by having your pup close, you should never drive with a small pet in your lap, as that puts you and your pet at risk if you crash and the airbag is deployed.
“It could smash them between you and the airbag, as well as if the airbag doesn’t deploy, it’s still possible to smash them between you and the steering wheel, which could cause significant injury to your pets,” he said.
Never leave your pet alone in the car.
Even 70-degree temperatures can heat your car to over 100 degrees in less than an hour. The heat is a serious hazard for any animal left alone in a vehicle, and can lead to heat stroke, brain damage, organ failure and death.
Colorado passed a law in 2018 that allows for individuals to break car doors or windows after contacting authorities to rescue humans and animals from a hot vehicle.
In Denver, those who leave an animal in a hot vehicle are subject to animal cruelty charges, with fines of up to $999 or a year in jail.
Keep dogs leashed while on trails.
While there are many off-leash areas around the state, Moltrer recommends keeping your pup leashed, especially on trails and in heavily populated areas.
If your dog bolts and you chase after, you run the risk of becoming lost, especially if you’re in an unfamiliar area.
“You want to really stay on a leash, you do not want them running off,” he said.
Make your campsite safe for you and your pet.
When camping, always make sure to clean up your dog’s waste to keep away wild animals.
“Clean up after them, just so it doesn’t attract any unwanted visitors during the night if you’re camping,” Moltrer said.
Make sure to keep your pets close by you, whether that be in your tent or crated in a car.
“Keep them with you if possible,” he said. “Even if you bring them a little portable crate that you can leave in the back of a pickup or an SUV, so that way it also just keeps them safe.”
Overall, the goal is to keep you and your furry friend safe when going on summer adventures.
“I know a lot of people, an animal is an extension of their family, I know for me, I have a few dogs that are an extension of my family, and I would be devastated if something happened to them,” Moltrer said.
“So it would just be great safety practice just to make sure you’re following a little bit of safety tips, so that way you don’t hurt your furry friend.”
This article originally appeared on The Gazette: Traveling with furry friends: How to keep you and your pets safe this summer