We love our pets, and we love to have them with us - even when we’re traveling. Whether the extent of your pet’s travels includes simple, everyday car rides or longer road trips, there are some important tips to help ensure your pet’s safety - and your family’s.
- Cats should always be crated in the car. Most cats experience anxiety in a moving car, so confining them to a crate offers security for them, and a distraction-free environment for you, the driver.
- Dogs should be crated or harnessed; regardless of how well you drive, you cannot control other drivers, or unexpected situations. Securing your dog in a crate or travel harness ensures their safety and keeps you from being distracted as the driver. (Even at 10 mph, a sudden stop can result in blunt force trauma if a dog falls and hits the dashboard.)
- Even when secured with a travel harness, do not allow your pet to ride with his head or face outside the window. Even very small debris kicked up from the road can cause serious pain and damage to your pet’s face, ears, or eyes.
- Pets should ride in the backseat of the car. If an airbag deploys while your pet is in the front seat (even in a crate), it can injure your pet.
- Crated pets should ride on the floor of the car behind the front passenger or driver seat. Although it is intuitive to use a seat belt to buckle in a crate, unless the crate is designed to be secured this way, it is actually possible that the seatbelt could crush the crate in an accident. Unless the crate manufacturer instructs otherwise, the floor behind the front seat is a better alternative.
- If you’re planning a longer road trip with a pet who experiences anxiety in the car (perhaps they’ve only ridden in the car to go to the vet or groomer), help prepare them by taking shorter rides, gradually lengthening the time spent in the car. Reward them with a favorite treat that is only for car rides to help them gain a positive association with the moving vehicle and their crate or harness.
- Bring plenty of water and a travel bowl, as anxious pets become dehydrated more quickly than when they are comfortable at home.
Taking the time to observe these tips should make for safer and more enjoyable travel for both your pet and your family!
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