Car Companions: 3 Tips for Driving Safely With Your Dog

Who doesn’t like to see a cute canine hanging out a car window, tongue and ears flying in the wind? Many dogs love to go for car rides, and many dog owners love to take their four-legged companions with them wherever they go. Even those who don’t must face the situation some time, with trips to the vet, the kennel, or a new home. Whatever the circumstances, it’s important to keep your pet, car, and others safe.

1. Prepare Your Car

Before you allow your dog into the car, protect the interior from dog hair, scratches, muddy prints, drool, and accidents. You can do this by

  • Installing heavy-duty floor mats made from nonslip rubber
  • Using seat covers, which are easy to remove and wash clean
  • Applying fabric guard to seats to protect against fluids that leak through covers

Remember to clean your car before putting in these additions to prevent sealing in dirt and hiding messes.

2. Restrain Your Dog While Driving

While there is no Arizona law that specifically prohibits your dog from riding in your lap, a police officer could charge you with distracted driving. Indeed, a dog in your car can be a distraction, especially if your dog isn’t enjoying the ride or is very energetic. Your dog may block your view or accidentally hit the steering wheel, gear stick, or pedals and cause an accident. It’s also possible for an unrestrained dog to fall or jump out of an open car window.

Furthermore, it puts your dog and others at risk if you get in an accident. The airbag can hurt your dog, and an unrestrained dog is at risk of becoming a projectile. A dog may also escape the wreck and get lost or hit. For these reasons, it’s best to secure your canine in a pet carrier or high-quality harness.

3. Protect Your Dog From the Heat

You already know how extreme the Arizona temperatures get in the summer. Don’t be tempted to leave your dog in the car, even if you’ll only be gone for a moment. Cars heat up significantly very quickly, including when:

  • The outside temperature is only in the 80s
  • There is a breeze
  • The car windows are open
  • The car is parked in the shade
  • The car is running with the air conditioner on

Remember, the heat feels more intense to dogs than to humans. Also, be sure to carry plenty of water in the car to prevent dehydration. It may seem inconvenient to follow all these guidelines, but it’s worth the safety of your beloved pet, car, and others.