Car travel should be fun, but most importantly, it should be safe…for the whole family. Here are a few tips to keep in mind this summer and all year long, whether you’re traveling a long distance or going about your daily routine
It’s no surprise; the U.S. is ranked the most congested country in the world. Now with summer upon us, more and more people will be hitting the roads. According to the American Automobile Association, road trips are the most popular family vacation option, with nearly two thirds of those planning a family trip taking to the highways this year. This Memorial Day weekend alone, it’s estimated that over 36 million people will hit the roads.
What are your travel plans? Does it include your family pet? While you’re probably concerned about travel safety for you and your family, have you taken extra steps to make sure your pet is also safe? According to a survey by AAA, over 80% of dog owners’ drive with their pets in the car, yet only 16% of people who transport their dogs use proper safety measurements.
Rule #1 – Pets ALWAYS go in the back seat.
- Keep your pets restrained. According to PetMD, when pets are in a car accident they often suffer multiple injuries, including broken bones, ruptured lungs and severe trauma. It’s important to keep your pet from moving around the vehicle while you’re driving. 60% of dog owners admit that they’ve driven while distracted by their pets as passengers. Keeping your dog restrained is not only safe for them; it’s safer for you and your passengers.
A pet sitting in the passenger seat could be injured or killed by the airbag deploying. A small pet could crawl down near the foot pedals and get in the way of the brake. A large pet could block your view of the road.
Even if your pet is not severely injured, unrestrained pets can easily escape and run away if you’re distracted during even a small fender bender. If you’re in an unfamiliar area, your dog has no way of finding their way home.
You know wearing a seat belt is the smart thing to do for yourself and your passengers; the same goes for your pet. There are lots of options for you to choose from, here are a few. It’s important to test them out to find the one most suitable and comfortable for your pet.
You can learn a lot from checking online reviews from real customers, and also at the Center for Pet Safety:
- Vehicle Restraint
- Dog seatbelt or harness
- Leash and zipline
- Doggie car seat
- Car safe pet carrier, secured to the seat
- Travel barrier to prevent your pet from moving around the vehicle
- Pack a pet travel bag. Include all the essentials, as well as a few comforts from home:
- Plenty of food and water
- Pet bed, blanket and clean towels
- First-aid: Medications, bandages, gauze.
- Emergency contact card with your vet’s phone number, emergency vet hospitals close to where you’re staying, pet’s microchip info
- Toys and treats
- Never leave your pets unattended in a car. A pet left alone in a hot car can quickly suffer heat stroke. On a 70 degree day, a car can reach 99 degrees in only 20 minutes. Even cold weather is not safe, as pets can freeze to death. Leaving your pet unattended in an unfamiliar area is never smart. If your dog gets spooked, it can cause them unnecessary trauma. Your car can be broken into and your dog can be stolen. If you can’t bring your pets inside on your trip, they’re better off staying home with friends and family or with a trusted sitter.
As good pet parents, we always want our pets to join us. Just remember these tips as you hit the road everyday. With just a little pre-planning, your road trips will be fun and most importantly, safe for everyone in the family, furry and non-furry.