Traveling with your best pet pal can be a fun and exciting adventure for all. While most humans practice safety by using seatbelts and following the rules of the road, it’s also important to ensure your four-legged friend is safe and secure during travel. Here’s what you need to know when traveling with pets in your car to ensure a safe arrival and what to do in the case of an accident:
Many dogs enjoy a good old-fashioned car ride, giving them the freedom to stick their heads out the window to get a whiff of all the different smells of nature, however, some dogs who do not enjoy rides as much may impatiently pace back and forth, panting, and distract the driver. No matter what kind of pet traveler you have, it’s important that when your pet is in the car, he is properly secured. During a collision, the force of the impact turns any loose items, including unrestrained pets, into projectiles. Restraint systems that help avoid distracting the driver, protect animals in the event of a crash, and restrict movement are best used for your fur-baby. Many options are available to help protect your pet such as:
- Padded Harness/Seatbelts – straps and sturdy connectors attached to the vehicle’s seatbelt or LATCH system (in vehicles produced after 2002).
- Crates – Metal frame, hard, and soft-sided crates are safe for pet travel when strapped down and movement is restricted to avoid sliding or flying about the cabin in the event of a crash.
- Hammock Style Seat Covers – Provide a safe and comfortable area for your dog. Not only do these systems protect the seats of your car, but also help to prevent your precious cargo from falling off the back seat.
No matter what type of crate you choose for travel with your pets, it’s imperative you do your research before purchasing to ensure crates are safety-certified crash-tested, are the correct size for your pet, and allow for good air circulation. Crates produced with strict quality guidelines and that offer at least a two-year warranty are best. Make sure restraints are installed correctly and avoid allowing your pet to sit in the front seat to protect against air bags. If the airbag deploys, especially in smaller animals, it can cause serious injury or death.
If your vehicle is equipped with power windows, disable them while Rover is in the car. It’s quite possible that your dog could accidentally roll the window down with a touch of their paw. You may assume there is no harm in allowing your pet to stick their head out the window to enjoy the fresh air, but over excited or anxious dogs are at risk for jumping out of the vehicle or causing harm to themselves by closing the window on their neck and choking them.
Living in Arizona, humans and pets alike should always have extra water on hand. Just like you, your dog needs water to survive. You may already know to pack some for long road trips but even if you’re taking a quick trip to the local dog park, it’s a good idea to bring some along. You never know what kind of delays you may experience while on the road.
Even the safest of drivers can experience a fender bender while on the road. If you find yourself in the event of a crash, first, make sure other passengers in your vehicle and the other car(s) involved are not hurt. If your pet is injured, they may first be in a state of shock. Slowly approach your dog and talk to it in a soothing voice. Administer any first aid and get your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible. There is a possibility that your auto insurance may cover a portion of the associated veterinary fees for your pet. Refer to the collision section of your insurance policy for information on coverage.
Remember, it’s never a good idea to allow your pet to ride in your lap or in the bed of a pickup truck. Never leave your pet in the car. Arizona gets very hot, even in the Fall and Spring seasons. Though it may feel cool outside, your car gets much warmer and heats up quickly. Driving with pets can be fun and a real treat for your best pal. Keeping them safe in the car will provide peace of mind for you and ensures many more trips to the park, grandma’s house, and even to the vet’s office.