For many pet owners, animals are as beloved as children and deserve the same amount of adoration and attention. This includes bringing pets along on vacations or quick trips to the park, and sometimes even out for ice cream treats on a hot summer day. Bringing pets along in the car is fine, but problems can arise when they are not secured correctly. For their safety, your safety, and the safety of other drivers on the road, it’s important to know the proper way to travel with an animal.
Just like you would with a child, consider your pet’s well-being a priority. Allowing him to run around the car unrestrained is dangerous and can cause serious car accidents, not to mention physical harm should you need to slam on the brakes unexpectedly.
Here are a few of the best tips to follow when traveling with pets:
Ease your pet’s stress
If your dog isn’t used to traveling and you’ll be taking him on an extended trip, get him accustomed to the ride by taking him in the car on several short trips first. This will help him get used to the motion of the car and the various scents he’ll encounter along the way, which is important because dogs can become anxious when they encounter new people and places.
Restraint is the name of the game
Depending on the size of your dog, you’ll need to get either a carrier or a restraint—a specially made seat belt to keep your dog safe and secure in the seat as you drive. This will keep a dog from wandering and sticking his head out the window; most dogs love doing this, but flying debris from the road can cause serious damage to their sensitive eyes and noses.
Plan your route wisely
Be sure you plan your entire route every time your dog will be with you in the car, because if you’re traveling in the summer and will need to make a stop somewhere that doesn’t welcome pets, you’ll find yourself in a bit of a tricky situation. Never leave a pet alone in a car for any length of time—it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Make sure you pack an extra travel bowl and water bottles so that if you do have to stop in an emergency, you can at least let your pet out on a leash and offer him a drink.
Leashes are for outside the car
Since it is a strangulation hazard, never tie a pet to a leash inside the car. Make sure your animal has proper restraints and has a small amount of movement.
Update your info
Before you take any trip, make sure your pet’s info tags are up to date with your current phone number and address. It’s also a good idea to book a trip to the vet beforehand, ensuring that your dog is up to date on all his shots and properly groomed.