Car rides for pets can be either an exhilarating or terrifying event. Either way, at some point or another it’s an inevitable occurrence of your pets life. Dogs are more often car companions, but cats, ferrets, or other critters take rides too! It’s easy to understand why a loving pet owner would want to take their pet with them where ever they go. Sometimes our desire to do so overrides safety for us, others, and our pets… Before you plan your next vacation, road trip, or a simple drive for errands make sure that you’re following these car safety tips for pet travel.
Car Safety Tips
- State laws – Before you plan on taking your pet anywhere be sure that you are fully aware of all your states laws regarding pets riding in cars. Some states have very strict rules. If you’re planning a vacation that takes you into or through other states, be sure you know their laws too. Getting a ticket on vacation is no fun!
- Plan your trip – Whether you’re traveling far or just headed to town to run errands with a pet in tow, make sure that you’ve put some thought into your trip. Map out your long distance trips by identifying rest areas or pet-friendly parks where you can stop and let your critter take care of business, stretch their legs, and get a drink. Even if your just heading to town for errands make sure you’ve got a water dish and some bottled water with you and know where you can take your pet out for a bathroom break just in case your trip takes longer than you anticipate.
Safer Car Rides With Your Pet
- Hot Cars – Every year pets perish due to being left in hot cars. A car parked in the sun in summer can reach deadly temperatures in less time than it takes you to fill up a tank of gas. Cracked windows are great on cooler days in spring, fall, or winter, but are rarely enough in the heat of summer. If your pet can’t come in with you, it’s best to leave them at home during the peak of summer. In some states, it’s illegal to leave an animal locked in a car. Despite all the warnings though, many pet parents ignore the dangers here. If you have any doubts, we encourage you to try sitting in the car yourself in summer and see how long you can take it!
- Windows – When your pet is in the car, you must be diligent and constantly aware of the windows. Most dogs love to reenact the iconic image with their heads out the window in the breeze! Be sure you’re aware of the dangers though! Heads outside the window can cause serious injuries due to road signs, mailboxes, and other roadside items. Be careful of windows being too low too. We’ve seen pets jump out of moving vehicles before to chase things!
Fun, but not very safe!
- Distractions – Make sure that driving with your pet in the car doesn’t prove to be too much of a distraction. Never let your pet occupy the space immediately around you like gear shifts, the steering wheel, or gas and brake pedals. Make sure your pet isn’t big enough or positioned to obstruct your view while driving. Before taking your pet out regularly or on long trips, make sure you’ve put the effort in to “car train” your pet so they know how to behave. Car training your pet is also super handy when you have to hire a pet nanny! The better behaved your pet is, the more fun they can have in other people’s care – like trips to the park!
- Movement injuries – Most pets in vehicles are not physically secure. This means your pet could suffer injuries should you have to come to an unexpected quick stop or swerve abruptly. There is a wide variety of pet partitions or car attachments that make traveling with your pet safer for both you and them. Shop around and see what you can find to fit your particular pet and car type!
Remember, keep summer fun by staying safe!
photo credit: I’m not thinking anything – I’m a cat via photopin (license)
photo credit: IMG_5123 via photopin (license)