Road trip season is upon us! It's the perfect time to pack up the car and make memories with the entire family (four-legged friends included). Planning on hitting the open road with your pet this summer? You won't want to leave home without first making sure your precious cargo is safe. One of the best ways to do this is to properly refrain your pet when in a moving vehicle. Not only will this protect them in the event of a car accident, it will also prevent them from moving around in the vehicle causing distraction. If you don't know where to start, we've rounded up the most common car safety tips and devices for pets.
Sorry, Fido. No riding shotgun for you. Having a pet upfront comprises your safety as well. A dog that sits on their owner's lap can block the airbags and prevent the driver from keeping their eyes on the road. Not to mention what could happen to your lap dog if you make a sudden stop – ouch!
The safest place for your pet to be restrained is the back seat. It's your best chance of protecting your pet from suffering a serious injury if you get into an accident. Restraints for smaller animals can be attached to seat belts in the back seats. For larger dogs that need some room to move around, you may consider using a back seat barrier. When placed in between the front and passenger seats, it prevents your pet from making their way to the driver up front.
Seat Belts and Harnesses
Speaking of restraints, it's time to buckle up! Seat belt safety isn't just for humans. You can pick up a variety of car restraints and harnesses at your local pet supply shop. Before making any big purchases, measure your dog and pick the harness that is appropriate for their size. After all, you want the harness to do the job it promises!
Smaller dogs and even cats can benefit from the use of pet seat belts. When attached to your vehicle's pre-existing seat belts, they'll keep your pet in one place and prevent movement that drivers can find distracting. Just be aware that they can also cause your pet to suffer from whiplash if you stop too abruptly.
Some dogs love nothing more than to stick their heads out the window and feel the wind in their hair. Unfortunately, this isn't a safe activity (as fun as it might be for your pup). Strong winds can cause uncomfortable dryness and eye discomfort. You also can't forget that flying objects are always a risk.
A nice compromise is an elevated booster seat. They give your dog a clear view out the window while still securing them in place. You can pair it with a harness for extra safety. Your pup will be riding in style in no time!
Crates and Carriers
What about crates? If your pet is an anxious traveller, a crate might be a welcome, safe haven in a stressful situation. Transport carriers come in many sizes and should be placed on the floor behind the front seats. Make it feel like home by filling it with soft bedding and other comforts of home. If your pet has never used a crate before, take some time before the big trip to get them acquainted with their new travel accommodations.
Whether you're planning a trip to the local dog park, the beach, or even a routine trip to the vet, putting proper pet safety precautions in place should always be a priority. Wherever your adventure takes you this summer, we wish you safe travels. Happy trails!