We’ve all seen the adorable dogs with their heads out of the window sitting their owner’s. Looking as if they have not a care in the world as they glide happily down the street in the safety of their owner’s arms. However much fun it can seem, it is not safe. And there is never a bad time to brush up on our pet travel safety do’s and don’ts.
After all, the reason we want our pets to go with us every where is because we love them so much. It’s important to keep us and our pets travel safety while driving with them in tow. Read on for some important tips for travel safety.
- Free range – With cats or dogs, it’s never safe to let them just run wild in the car, even with a passenger at the helm of “pet care.” It can easily cause distractions and hazards for the driver, it doesn’t matter if someone else is there. Most accidents are caused when the driver is distracted. More than that, they can jump out or even get lost in an accident. I’ll never forget the day my friend lost her dog in a minor accident because she flew through the window. It doesn’t have to be a horrific crash to lose a pet.
- Sitting in your lap – Even on your lap with a tight leash, your pet is at danger. You might think that they are super safe in your lap, but that’s not the case. There is always a chance they will try and dive out of the window. Or they even cause you to wreck due to their over excitement or anxiety. It’s just as bad as texting or checking email while driving. Distracted driving is a real threat.
- Head out of the window – This one can be the scariest. Even though it can seem like the quintessential dog experience; hanging their head out of the window is a great danger. A rock has the force to crack your thick glass windshield, a branch can break your mirrors. Can you imagine what it could possibly do to your dog? If you want to give them some fresh air, it is best to open the window next to their secured seat where they can’t actually stick their head out. Luckily our pets have great senses. They don’t need to stick their whole head out of the window to gain a sense of the world outside of the car.
Travel Safety: How?
- Tight leash and bed – In my family, we put a doggy bed in the seat and then tightly secure our dog Rigsby’s leash to the seat belt. We also cut two small slits into the bed where you can slip the seat belt through to secure it. We make sure to give Rigsby enough room to stand up, turn around and lay down. He can lean towards the window, but not too close, plus he loves car rides!
- Doggy Harness – Another great option is a pet car seat harness. This can allow your pet to ride safely in any seat in the car just like a regular safely riding passenger. It’s basically an extension to your seat belt that straps your dog in securely.
- Secured Crate – You can also get a travel carrier and secure it with straps and tethers in your back seat or cargo space. This is better for the car sick or anxious pet. There is a lot going on in a car, especially for a pet. All of the sights, sounds, smells, it can be a little overwhelming to some. That’s why tucking them in safely in a crate with familiar blankets and toys may be the safest. Plus, if you were to be in an accident, they’d be as safe as possible.
- Car Sickness – Other than safety, car sickness is another big hazard of pet travel. I had a dog, Higgins, he would get sick every trip we’d take. He didn’t ride much, but sometimes you want your dog on the family camping trip, move, or you have to take them to the vet. You can purchase car sickness meds and make sure to have towels, wipes and plenty of water on hand.
Not to mention, this all reminds me of the Inside Edition I saw just a few weeks ago. Just watch this clip and you realize how important it is to secure your pets while driving: