The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

July 23, 2013

Barking at dog owners | tips to help everyone get along

JOHNSTOWN — When is a more appropriate time to air pet peeves and safety tips than during the dog days of summer?

In this case, our peeves are aimed at dog owners. Below are just a few (we’re sure our readers could add a plethora of others):

-- Leaving your dog’s doo-doo inappropriately placed on a community sidewalk or in a park for others to step in. That has to be everyone’s No. 1.

Please, take a bag and scooper along.

-- Chaining your dog outside and leaving him bark for hours for all the neighbors to hear.

Worse yet, he’s probably barking because he’s hungry or thirsty.

-- Parking your vehicle, winding up the windows and going into a store to shop for a few items.

More than just being wrong, it’s illegal.

-- Allowing your dog to run free in a park, scaring the bejesus out of children and others.

Just look around and note the looks on some people’s faces.

-- Putting Fluffy on your lap as you drive around town.

It might be cute, but for so many obvious reasons, it’s very dangerous. You should be arrested.

-- Allowing your dog to ride with its head out the car window.

-- Allowing your dog to ride in the open bed of a pickup truck.

We really hadn’t thought much about the last two items until we received an email from TripsWithPets.com, which says it has been named the best pet travel site by Consumer Reports. It says its mission is to offer resources that ensure pets are welcome, happy and safe while traveling.

“For most pups, the best part of a car ride is feeling the breeze in their furry faces as they stick their head out the window,” the company says, adding that despite the feel-good nature of the pleasurable experience, it’s actually a very dangerous habit. Here are some of the reasons why:

-- Their eyes are exposed to dirt, rocks, dust and other debris that can easily puncture and scratch your dog’s eyes.

Pet goggles are suggested to help prevent these types of injuries.

-- Damage to the ears. The high-speed winds can cause trauma to the ears and result in swelling. Repeated trauma can cause lifelong problems.

-- The dog can fall out of the car or get its head stuck in the window opening.

On riding in the bed of a pickup, the company says the dog faces some of the same dangers as riding with its head out the window. In addition, a pickup’s metal bed can reach dangerously high temperatures on hot days, which can cause damage to the soft tissue on a dog’s paws.

Where is the best place for your dog to ride?

TripsWithPets says in the back seat or cargo area of your vehicle, properly restrained of course utilizing a pet safety belt, car seat, vehicle pet barrier or a travel crate.

A lot to think about obviously.

We hope our data helps in keeping not only your dog safe and happy, but also those of us who are around your pet.

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