Pet Car Safety: Tips for Traveling with Your Pet

Wanna go for a ride?! If you’re like me, you love asking that in a funny voice and then taking your pet on a summer ride. The back seat of my car is folded down, so I can fit my Great Dane in the back for every possible ride. He comes along for stops at the grocery store and especially on long trips. I should mention that I don’t leave him in the car alone on grocery store stops. Because it’s no secret what leaving a dog in a hot car during summer can do.

So is it safe to have your pet be your constant co-pilot? In some states, certain cities have passed laws that prevent people from driving with dogs in their laps. Which doesn’t sound like such a bad idea if you ask me. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 5,474 people were killed and 448,000 were injured in crashes caused by distracted drivers in 2009 in the United States. This doesn’t account for a percentage of accidents caused by pets specifically, but pets do fall under the category of driving distractions. Pets can pose all sorts of distractions on the road. Here are some options for the best pet car safety when going for a ride:

  • Pet Barrier – A barrier keeps your pet from climbing into the front seat, but also allows them to roam freely in the back seat. The barrier also keeps your upholstery safe from any nervous chewing or claw scratches.
  • Harness – Depending on the size of your pet, an unrestrained dog of 60 pounds at 35 mph can generate 2,700 pounds of force in an accident. If you have a seatbelt, why not your pet?
  • Crate – Cats or small dogs should be confined to a carrier secured by a seatbelt so they can’t become a distraction. When stopping to take a break on a long trip, make sure they get to stretch their legs, too!
  • Entertainment – Dogs love to hang their head out the window and sniff the scents of undiscovered places. This might actually be harmful to their health since the wind may cause ear or lung infections. Not to mention the chance your bud can accidentally fall out. Keep them entertained with a Milk-Bone or a chew toy whenever possible.

Bonus Tip

  • Tires! – Tires are a majorly important safety feature of your car. When your tread is low, it can take up to 10 car lengths longer to stop on worn tires than on new tires. Think you’re ready to roll with rover? Make sure you know the condition of your tires to keep you and your pet safe on the road. Happy traveling!