Driving With Pets: Car Safety & Travel Tips for Animals

Traveling for any animal, can elicit a broad range of emotions that parallel the dips and turns of a roller-coaster. This is one of the major obstacles that tend to arise when traveling with pets. Should we leave our pets with a sitter? Should we leave them with enough food and water until arriving back from a short-term vacation? Is it OK to bring them with us on long-term getaways? If so, how can we ensure that we properly take care of them while commuting on long trips? These are basic questions that most pet owners ask themselves before taking any form of transportation, including their own cars. In fact, riding in cars with dogs or cats can be tricky if you don’t plan ahead. Knowing how to travel safety with pets can eliminate most problems and stop obstacles right in their tracks.

If this is your first time traveling with your dog, then it might be best to use a carrier to confine the animal on long trips. If the canine has traveled before and feels comfortable commuting on long trips, then you will only need to use a restraining harness or a pet car seat on long trips. Most dog travel harnesses buckle into a standard seat belt in order to safely secure your animal to the car seat. Felines, on the other hand, are not as comfortable riding in cars, which means each pet owner should confine them to a carrier on long trips. Additionally, pet owners should take the proper precautions in securing the carrier to the backseat in order to prevent it from sliding and bouncing all over the place. An unrestrained carrier can potentially cause harm to the animal inside. Most carriers can be secured with a built-in seat belt. Never secure your pets in the front seat of the car, because of the possibility of front-passenger airbag deployment, which could cause severe injury to your pet in the event of an accident.

Do not allow your pets to stick any part of their bodies outside of the car. Pets have a tendency to stick their heads out of the window, which can cause injury through particles or debris flying through the air. Additionally, some pets may develop a cold or fall ill if exposed to the cold air for too long. Never place your pet in the back of a flat-bed, pickup truck and hope that nothing happens before arriving to your final destination. Plan for frequent stops in order to allow your pet to exercise and eliminate. Always attach a collar, tag, and leash to your pet before allowing it to wander outside. Also never leave your pet inside a vehicle by itself while in a parking lot. Take your pets with you in the store and do not leave them in a parked car while you make a pit-stop or grocery run. During the summer months, the temperature in your car can rise up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit in only a few minutes, even if the windows were cracked open. Leaving a pet in a parked car can also serve as an open invitation for pet thieves or for people passing by to pester or frighten the animal. Always have a partner stay in the car while making these runs, otherwise the results could be disastrous.

Follow these links as a general guide to safely traveling with pets in your vehicle:

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