Car News:  Dog Day

Safety Tips for Traveling With Your Pet

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author photo by Doug DeMuro August 2016

Although it can be fun to have your pet come along for a car ride, it's important to make sure your pet stays safe when traveling in your vehicle. After listing a few of today's top cars for traveling with pets, we decided to list a few pet safety tips to ensure that the next ride you take with your pet is as safe as possible.

Securing Your Pet

We often see pets running around unsecured inside vehicles, but that isn't the safest way to transport your pet. Not only is it unsafe for a pet in case of an accident (think about the injuries a human being would sustain without wearing a seat belt), but it's also unsafe for humans inside a car. An unsecured pet can become a deadly projectile in a fairly minor car accident.

As a result, medium- or large-sized dogs should be secured inside a vehicle with a harness or a restraint. Small dogs and cats should ride in a secured pet carrier, not just to keep them safe but to ensure they don't wind up at the driver's feet.

While we know most dogs enjoy riding with their heads out the window, it's safest if they stay inside. They should be secured to their seat with their head inside; otherwise, a flying projectile could hit their eyes or ears and injure them.

What to Bring

Pet safety is about more than just properly securing your animal and making sure it isn't injured in an accident. You should also remember to bring supplies that can keep your pet safe and comfortable throughout the trip. Examples include any medications your pet may need, along with a reasonable supply of your pet's regular food and treats.

Additionally, it's a good idea to bring along some items your pet will find familiar, especially in the case of a long car ride, which may give your pet some anxiety. Towels or blankets are important in case your pet gets muddy, and it's always nice to have plastic bags handy in order to clean up after your pet during a potty break.

Staying Comfortable

Keeping your pet comfortable can also improve safety, as a comfortable pet is unlikely to get scared and cause a distraction during a drive. Take your dog for a long walk before a drive to ensure your pet stays comfortable. We also suggest stopping to take a smaller walk along the way so your dog can stretch its legs, and be sure to offer water often so your dog doesn't get dehydrated.

Meanwhile, if you bring your cat on a road trip, make sure to let it out of the carrier periodically to use the litter box (inside your vehicle).

You should especially remember to never leave your pet inside a parked car when the outside temperature is more than 70 degrees Fahrenheit, not even with the windows rolled down and not even if you're running a quick errand. Cars trap heat like a greenhouse, and since dogs don't sweat like humans, they can suffer from a heatstroke faster. We suggest leaving your pet at home when it's warm, unless you plan on bringing them with you when you've reached the destination.

Although it can be a big responsibility to follow our pet safety tips, that's part of being a pet owner. It might take some extra time to follow the steps we've laid out, but in the end, your pet is worth the additional consideration.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Safety Tips for Traveling With Your Pet - Autotrader