Pets are members of the family, so we can’t always leave them at home! Whether you frequent the dog park with Fido or need to transport Kitty to the vet, it’s important to note these safe-driving tips for when you have pets in the car.
Ensure Proper Ventilation and Security
Pets can easily overheat, so you should never leave them unattended in a hot car. You should also go a step further by investing in a well-ventilated carrier or crate to keep them secure during transport. These pet carriers are available in hard plastic, wire mesh, and soft-sided options depending on your preferences. Whichever you choose, your pet carrier should be large enough for the pet to stand, turn around, and lie down. Crates and carriers are a good option for both cats and dogs, especially during long-distance trips, but they’re a must for cats regardless.
Use a Harness
While cats should stay in a carrier at all times during a road trip, dogs are a little more flexible, but you should still secure them as you would any other passenger. A harness is a great option for this as it serves as a doggie seatbelt.
A pet harness can be secured to any three-point seatbelt by threading the straps under the locked seatbelt. Harnesses are designed to be comfortable and are offered in various sizes to accommodate your dog’s build and breed. Fido might complain at first, but he’ll quickly adjust, especially when he realizes he can settle in for the ride and look out the window.
Consider a Dog Gate
Another option for Fido is a dog gate or guard that you can install between the back seat and the car’s cargo area. This gives your dog complete independence to move throughout the storage bay, which is great if you’re transporting more than one dog. If you’re worried about accidents on the road, lay down a waterproof liner or the dog’s pet bed. For dogs that are especially prone to motion sickness, however, a secure harness tends to work best.
Don’t Forget ID
Both cats and dogs should wear some form of ID in the car. The collar or harness should clearly display relevant information like your name, address, and phone number so someone can reach you if the pet accidentally gets away at a rest area. Having a microchip is a good option, but it only works if the person finding your pet takes it to an animal shelter. An ID will immediately inform the person that your pet is not a stray.
If you’re traveling across state lines, especially to a state that requires it, you should also bring proof of your pet’s rabies vaccination. In general, this isn’t much of an issue since you’re unlikely to be stopped and asked for it, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Driving safely with your pet is easy when you take all the proper precautions. Speak to your vet beforehand for more recommendations on how to make your pet as comfortable as possible.
Image via Flickr by jdnx | Licensed under CC BY 2.0 | Cropped from original
4 Tips For Safe Pet Driving