Whether your family is driving across the country to visit relatives for the holidays or you’re simply driving across town to the vet, you’ll most likely have to bring your dog or cat along for the ride at some point. Safety in the car is as important for your pet as it is for you. In some states, there are laws governing where your pet can ride and drivers can face fines for traveling with their pet in a way that’s deemed unsafe.
The Safest Place for Your Pet
Certain areas of the car should be completely off-limits to your pet. Those areas include your lap, the front passenger seat and the bed of a pick-up truck. It’s never a good idea to travel with a pet on your lap, as he can distract you, increasing the risk for an accident. Since most cars now have airbags in front and to the sides of the passenger seat, that area can be a dangerous spot for a dog or cat. The back of a truck is definitely off-limits, as your pet can jump from the vehicle or inhale a lot of roadside dust and debris, harming his lungs.
The best spots for your pet is in the backseat. If you are driving with your cat, it’s best to place him in a small carrier, then secure the carrier to the seat with a seatbelt. Dogs can travel in a crate that’s held in place by a seatbelt or they can sit directly on the backseat, securely held in place with a harness and seatbelt.
While commercials might make you think otherwise, it’s not a good idea to let your dog stick his head out of the window while you travel. Your pet could be hit in the face with low hanging branches or by loose objects that are flying in the breeze. The dry, quickly moving air can irritate his lungs.
Try to keep the windows closed or open just a small amount when traveling with your pet, so that he doesn’t put his head out of the window or worse, try to leap from a moving car. If your car has power windows, use the child safety feature to keep your pet from accidently lowering one with his paw.
Bathroom breaks are a must when traveling with your pet for long distances. Always put your dog on a leash when letting him out of the car at a rest stop. Let him do his business and get some exercise before you head back on the road. If you are traveling a long distance with your pet, it’s a good idea to travel with a friend, so that one of you can watch the dog or cat outside the vehicle while the other rushes in to buy a snack or use the restroom.
Your pet’s safety and comfort are essential when traveling by car. Along with taking steps to protect him, remember to bring along water and a blanket to keep him comfortable during a long trip.
The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.