Keeping Your Pets Safe When Traveling by Car
Wondering what’s the safest way to get your dog or cat from A to B? With so many products on the market it’s no wonder most of us are confused when it comes to safe travel. Nadia Crighton looks at the safest ways to transport your pet.
Our pets are family, and like all members of the family, staying safe while in the car is of the utmost importance. Sadly, many pet owners forget the cold, hard facts when it comes to car travel and what can happen to an unrestrained pet or travel crate during an accident.
Nobody likes to think of the possibility of our pets ending up severely injured during an unavoidable crash. However, if you choose not to correctly restrain your pet, you are running the risk of causing grave injury and even death if you were to be involved in a car accident. Holding onto a pet during travel or allowing your dog to seat jump is not a safe option for anyone in the car.
FACT: If your car comes to a sudden stop at 100km per hour, it is important to understand that everything in the car that is unrestrained will continue to travel at 100km per hour. Sending apples, water bottles, and tissue boxes smashing into seats, occupants, and windows at a freakily fast pace. Ensuring your pet is not one of these projectiles will not only help save the life of your four-legged companion, but it may also save your life or the life of one of the car’s occupants.
How To Transport a Dog in a Car
A dog is the perfect travel companion, but they’re not so great when just sitting in a car. It can be dangerous for your pup to be left unattended for long periods, and it can also make you an irresponsible owner if your pet escapes from the vehicle. To avoid these pitfalls, a safer way to transport a dog while driving is needed!
Thankfully, there are several ways to keep your pet safe on the go. You can invest in window seat guards or tie-downs that will securely fasten them within their carrier or seatbelt harnesses that strap around the shoulders and chest area. Some dogs may prefer this method, and it will definitely keep them from running around the vehicle and distracting you from the road.
For traveling on long road trips, you should take drivers like your dog out for gas at least once every few hours because your pup can get very carsick if he doesn’t move around. Instead of leaving them in the car, bring a collapsible dog bowl to give them fresh water and food at each pit stop. They’ll thank you later!
If your pup behaves well in cars, there are several ways to keep him/her safe while driving with a seat belt harness. You can invest in one with a special seatbelt loop that you can connect to the seatbelt of your car. This will prevent the harness from moving around and doing more harm than good.
Some dog owners prefer to use their dogs’ regular collar and leash while they’re in their regular seatbelts. If that’s your case, be sure to secure the collar as tightly as possible to prevent it from flopping around while you’re driving, which could distract you as well as possibly strangling your furry friend.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to make sure that the crotch strap is fastened, too! This is important because it should be placed between the hind legs of your dog. If they have a smaller build than most, you shouldn’t have any trouble securing them right there.
If your pup is in the front seat of your vehicle, you should also fasten his back seat harness around the chest area or behind his ears. This will protect him from being thrown forward into the dashboard or if you have an accident. It will also keep him from climbing over the seats and jumping onto the front windshield, which may distract you while driving. The headrests of the front seats should be adjusted so that he can’t put his paws on them while they’re pushed forward at an angle to help support his chin.
Taking your dog out of his carrier is a little trickier, but it’s not impossible. However, you should always take him out to relieve himself before you start driving because he might need to go during the trip, and it’s not safe for him to relieve himself within the confines of his crate. You can also give him some exercise by giving him a little walk around the parking lot before you start driving again.
Your pet will love riding on long road trips if you take precautions beforehand.
How To Restrain a Dog in a Car
This article is going to teach you how to restrain a dog in a car and will give you the necessary information about training dogs in cars, as well as ways to prevent injuries and accidents when transporting your pup. You’ll also learn some important safety precautions that should be followed when having your dog ride with you in a car. For example, what measures should be taken for an accident while driving? What should happen if the vehicle loses control? Lastly, this article will also show you what happens when you don’t abide by these rules and regulations, so make sure that this goes hand-in-hand with care and caution.
Before we begin, let’s first discuss the basic responsibilities of dog owners. A responsible dog owner should always attempt to serve as a role model and positive example for other people and animals to follow. By this, I mean that if you are planning on taking your dog for a ride in the car, you will be expected to play by all of the rules and regulations that govern their transportation. When it comes to dogs, their safety should always be their priority.
And with that being said, let’s get into it…
Important Considerations When Travelling With Your Pet
First off, let’s cover some important things to consider when transporting your dog in a car. Having a dog in a car should always be treated as potentially dangerous. There are many unexpected situations that can happen, and no one is safe just because they have a dog with them while driving a car. This is especially true if you are not extremely cautious, respectful, and mindful of managing your animal around other people and vehicles. In fact, according to the Humane Society, one out of every five pets will be injured or killed in an accident. Dogs are much more likely to die during an accident than people, and a large amount of this has to do with how the dog was restrained.
For example, if you have a dog in your car and he’s not properly restrained while riding in the car, there’s more risk that his life will be endangered than when he is properly restrained. The reason why this is the case is that most pet owners don’t secure their dogs because they’re afraid that their dogs might get loose (even though it’s highly unlikely). Instead, they’re not willing to take any risks and, therefore, choose not to restrain their dogs at all.
Choosing the Correct Restraint
When choosing a restraint for your dog, you must make sure that it is the right size for him and that it is comfortable. Your dog should be able to move his head around freely but should never be able to get loose from the restraint. If you are using a pet seat belt, make sure it’s a buckle-less one that will allow your dog freedom of movement (wiggle room). This way if there is an accident, he won’t feel even more restricted by the leash.
Securing your Pet Properly
Additionally, if you’re going to be transporting your dog in a car, you need to make sure that they are properly secured. For example, there should not be any gaps around his paws or legs. The best way to do this is by tightly wrapping the leash around both of your hands, then looping it over the back of the seat and securing it with a clip. This will ensure that no part of your dog’s body will be able to escape from the restraint when he’s being transported in a car.
This goes for all pets riding in vehicles as well; an animal restraint device must always be used when transporting animals in cars. A restraint device, like a pet carrier, will help to keep the animal in a safe and secure environment. This way, when there is an accident or any other sort of crash, your pet will be able to survive without any harm done.
Ensuring They Don’t Escape
Aside from your dog being properly restrained while riding in a car or being transported in an animal restraint device, it’s up to you as the dog owner to make sure that your dog doesn’t escape from his restraints. You should always check his restraints before you leave and before you get back home. It’s important that you do this before you leave and get back because you are not going to want to find out that your dog got loose in the middle of the road while driving.
Now, if your dog has escaped from his restraints, you will need to try to catch him immediately. If he is still in the car, ignore everything else around you and just focus on getting him back in his seat. This way, he will be as safe as possible when driving down a rough road or when there are other vehicles on the road. If he is already out of the car, you should never attempt to restrain him forcefully or with any weapon. Doing so could result in serious harm to your pet and lead to more damage done not just to his body but also to the structure of your car (and possibly you as well).
Just like we said before, dog owners should always be mindful of how they handle their pets, especially when they are inside vehicles. This is because if they don’t care about their responsibilities, trouble can arise quickly. But if all the rules are followed, and all the precautions are taken, no harm will come from a car ride with your dog.
Now we’ve gotten all the hard-line facts out of the way, what is the best way to restrain your pets?
- For Giant dogs, like Great Danes, the safest place is restrained to the backseat or in a specially designed boot cage (if you have a SUV). Many SUVs come with anchor points in the boot you can safely attach your dog to with a harness-like restraint.
- Using a harness can help prevent tangling. Teaching your large dog right from puppyhood that the boot is a place you lie down on your bed and stay still is paramount. Pop their bed in the boot to make the journey more comfortable. You can install a boot barrier that can stop your dog from coming over the backseats during a sudden stop (or if one of the kids opens a bag of chips!). If you teach Rover to be restrained in the boot (with a harness) and lie down during a car ride, it will help prevent injury.
- Cages can also help keep your pet safe in the boot area of an SUV or larger car. These crates or cages can provide comfort and security to your dog during travel.
- If you do not have a larger car, consider using a backseat hammock that attaches to the front headrests and back headrests and creates a barrier between the front seat and the backseat. These products also allow your dog to have more room as they cover the foot well, making a hammock out of the entire back seat. Then clip a hardy harness on your dog and secure them to the backseat seatbelt. It is vital the harness fits correctly and is secured to the belt. Some harnesses even come with their own seatbelt click point. It is important to use a harness design and not a collar. If you attach a lead to a collar and secure this to your seatbelts, during impact, the full force will be felt on your dog’s neck area.
- Backseat barriers are also a good idea for pet owners with sedans or smaller vehicles. These attachments stop dogs from coming into the front area by creating a barrier between the front and backseat. However, it is still advisable to use a car restraint harness that is attached to the seatbelt.
- Car seats for smaller dogs are also very good at restraining your pet. However, if the seat is fully enclosed, ensure it is correctly tethered to the seat. If the seat is not enclosed, it is vital you tether your dog to the seat to prevent your precious pup from becoming a projectile.
- With travel crates, tethering these to an anchor point in the boot or securing them to the seat with a seatbelt is advisable.
Cats should always be kept in their travel crates and securely tethered to an anchor point or seatbelt in the car. Never travel with a cat on your lap or holding the crate with your hands. Do not place the travel crate in the front seat, as the danger from airbags is significant.