Here Are the Most Common Travel Injuries Your Dog May Encounter in the Car – and How Much They’ll Cost You

A dog looking out the window of a car.

With the warmer weather upon us, its travel season with our dogs. While our pups can make the perfect companion for our adventures, we need to keep them safe. Indeed, there are certain hazards our four-legged friends face while traveling with us, including many car-related ones. Nationwide insurance reports that owners spent $36 million to treat a number of travel-related injuries.

Related: 9 Splurge-Worthy Places You Can Take Your Dog to Celebrate National Dog Day

Check out the most common injuries and what they will cost you, according to Nationwide, along with tips on keeping your dog safe:

Potential travel injury/conditionIncident Avg. treatment cost
Vomiting or diarrhea Motion sickness $338
Heat strokeExposure to hot temperatures$906
Bruising or contusionsudden vehicle stops$248
SprainJumping in and out of vehicle$220
Foreign object enters nasal cavityInhaling debris while sticking head out of window$452
Laceration or puncture woundHit with debris while head is sticking out of window, sudden stops or jumping in and out of vehicle$404
Debris in eyeHit with debris while sticking head out of window$231

Related: Does Your Dog Really Need to Wear A Seat Belt or Be In A Car Seat?

Prepare for the trip.

Grab a photo of your dog and a copy of her medical records. Make sure her collar is up-to-date with the proper information and she is microchipped, just in case an emergency situation occurs, like getting lost.

Make the car ride enjoyable — and safe.

Dogs can get stressed during travel time. Grab a few of her favorite toys (make sure there is no choking potential) and a soft blanket or pillow for the ride. Also, feed her a lighter meal before you begin the trip, as a really full tummy could cause an upset stomach. Have enough water for the car ride to avoid dehydration.  

Secure your dog.

There are plenty of safety harnesses out there (some of which we have written about) that will ensure your dog remains secure while you are traveling. There are also some travel-specific carriers that you can use, if your dog feels more comfortable traveling that way.

Be smart about window time.

Yes, our dogs love hanging their heads out the window. They can smell all sorts of unique scents, feel the wind on their face and experience a little bit of nature while seated in a vehicle. But it can be dangerous. Not only are their eyes vulnerable to dust, debris and rocks but also the wind can cause their ears to constantly flap, resulting in irritation. It’s better to let them enjoy the view from behind the window — or have it just slightly cracked.

Book your travel accommodations ahead – and make sure it is dog-friendly.

Fortunately, for us dog parents, there are more and more travel accommodations that allow dogs, including hotels, bed and breakfasts and Airbnbs. Look carefully at the listings to ensure they are indeed dog-friendly, as some are just for cats. Also, be prepared to pay a deposit and understand that you may need to keep your dog crated when you leave the room.

Related: Going On A Trip? Here Are 5 Things You Must Share With Your Dog Sitter.

By Andrea Huspeni

Andrea Huspeni is the founder and CEO of This Dog's Life. Her mission it to help dogs live a happier, healthier and longer life. When she isn't working, she spends time with her two dogs, Lola and Milo. She resides in Brooklyn, NY.

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