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Road trip check list for taking your dog on a driving vacation

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Summer is finally here, and if you’re planning a road trip with your furry friend, you might be surprised at how much prepping you’ll need to ensure his or her comfort and safety.

Consumer Reports has some helpful tips to make sure that traveling with your pet goes off without a hitch.

You should have consistency. So you want the same food and the same schedule. If your pet eats at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., keep meals at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Take a towel or bed with the scent of home, keep the car cool, and take breaks at least every 3 hours.

Also useful: cleaning supplies, doggie bags, a leash and collar, and ID tags with your dog’s name and your contact information.

And don’t forget about safety. Pets can act as projectiles in a car crash if they are not secured.

Subaru and the Center for Pet Safety conducted crash tests with “dummy” dogs. Some of the most secure restraints they found were the Sleepypod Air carrier for about $160, the Gunner Kennels G1 Intermediate crate for $500, and the Sleepypod Clickit Sport harness for $65 to $75.

Experts recommend that dogs up to 90 pounds be secured in the rear seat opposite the driver’s side. In larger cars, they should be put in the rear seat or in a crate in the cargo area. For three-row vehicles with captain’s chairs, dogs up to 20 pounds should be secured in the second row, larger dogs in the third row. And if traveling with children, secure them in the second row and the dog behind them on the opposite side.

One more very important thing to remember is vaccination records. They can be useful if your dog gets sick and you need to go to a local vet. Many dog-friendly hotels have been known to ask for vaccination records as well.

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