According to the American Automobile Association, over 80% of dog owners drive with their pet in the car. That’s a lot of pets traveling in motor vehicles—it’s important for you to make sure your animal companion stays safe! Here are a few key vehicle safety tips for your pet:
There are several safety hazards to consider before you’ve even left home. Always check that your pet isn’t in the garage when you’re pulling out. Cats, in particular, like to hide under cars and can be seriously injured or worse if they become trapped under your vehicle. Never leave your car running while your pet is in the garage, as the noxious carbon monoxide fumes can do serious damage.
Did you know that the temperature inside a parked car on a hot day can skyrocket to well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in a half-hour? Never leave your pet inside a parked car, even on cloudy days, because the risk of heatstroke is simply too great. Cracking a window won’t do the trick, either—it’s best to simply leave your pet at home.
For shorter trips in the car, perhaps to the vet’s office or to a dog park, it’s important to make sure your pet is properly restrained. A pet who roams free in the car can be seriously injured in the event of an accident, or they can cause an accident themselves by interfering with the driver. Keep your pet in a carrier, or use a specialized car harness, to secure your animal friend.
Never allow your dog to put their head out of the window while you’re driving. Debris from the road could strike your dog’s face or body, potentially causing serious injury. You also run the risk of your dog falling out of the vehicle should you have to make a sharp turn or stop.
Thinking of taking your pet on a longer road trip? Apply the same rules above when it comes to safely restraining them. Take frequent breaks throughout your trip to allow your pet to use the bathroom and get a drink. Last but not least, check with your destination before leaving home to make sure that it’s pet-friendly.
A final tip: make sure your pet is healthy enough for travel. Set up an appointment at your vet’s office today to have your pet examined.