Dan + Shay have spent the better part of 2017 on the road promoting their latest album Obsessed. Touring is second-nature to the duo, and traveling has become second-nature for their dogs, too.
Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney have four dogs between them — Chief, Joy and Ghost belong to Smyers, while Pippa is Mooney’s girl — and they frequently share the tour bus with their pets. In an interview with Taste of Country, Dan + Shay, who have a new partnership with Petco, offered some of their best tips for pet safety on and off the road.
“It’s awesome having our dogs on the tour bus,” Smyers says. “We always say that no matter what’s going on on the road, no matter how many notes you miss during the show or if people don’t show up to the show, it makes everything better when you walk back onto the tour bus and the dog’s there to give you kisses. It lightens the spirit and lightens the mood.”
Smyers laughs at the fact that their dogs are more popular than they are lately — each dog has its own Instagram page. At meet-and-greets, the fans already know the dogs’ names and often want to spend time meeting each furry friend in addition to the country singers.
Of course, life on the road can be dangerous for pets if their owners aren’t careful. Smyers and Mooney stress the importance of keeping pets safe and secure while traveling.
“When you’re taking a road trip — whether you’re in your car, your SUV, your truck, or your tour bus — you always have to have the proper restraint. My dog, Joy, she’s very tired. So she jumped in this kennel here on her own. But it’s great to have one on the road if you’re going on a long road trip,” he advises. “It keeps your eyes on the wheel because pets climbing up on the seat can be a distraction and it can be unsafe for the dogs, too.”
He adds that in case of an accident, a kennel keeps a dog in a safe place while in a vehicle. Mooney, meanwhile, stresses the importance of being prepared when going on a long road trip with a pet.
“Make a list before you go on a trip. Make sure you have fresh water and toys, anything that makes the dogs feel a little bit more at home and at ease,” Mooney shares. “Sometimes the dogs can feel a little restless. Make sure you take stops whenever you’re driving, every four to six hours. Never leave your dogs in the car. That’s very, very important. If you absolutely have to step out, leave the windows down or the air conditioning on, whatever it is to keep the dogs comfortable.”
Another suggestion Mooney makes, Smyers learned the hard way. “When you’re going on trips it’s also very important to have bags for when nature calls,” he notes.
“I may or may not have run out of bags to pick up after the dogs,” Smyers admits. “You don’t want to be the guy who leaves the dog’s mess somewhere on someone’s lawn or backstage at a venue so you always want to be prepared or else you’re going to be scrambling. You don’t want to hear those stories.”
Pet safety is foreign to some, but it’s important to Smyers — his dogs are his family.
“Animals are such a part of the family, especially for us. We don’t even think about leaving them at home. Every chance we get, we like to bring the dogs on the road,” he explains. “They are a family like I said, so we treat them as if you were treating a kid. You strap a kid in a car seat so you have to do the same [with] a dog. Keeping them safe is very important.”
For more helpful tips on pet safety, visit Petco.
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