As travel restrictions continue to lift across the nation, more and more people are hitting the road – and bringing their pets along for the ride! Whether it’s a quick drive to the next town over, or a trip across the country, it’s important to ensure your furry friend is safe in the car.
Unlike humans, there are very few safety regulations in place for safe pet travel, leaving owners unsure of the best way to travel with their dog or cat. Here are some common mistakes owners are unknowingly making:
- Letting your pet sit up front: While it’s adorable having a furry copilot by your side, your pet is not safe in the front seat. Like children, airbags can seriously injure your pet if they go off in an accident.
- Head out the window: It may be cute, and your dog may love the feeling of the wind in their ears, but letting your dog stick their head out the window can cause serious injury. Flying debris can hit them or get in their eyes. There is also the possibility of your pet jumping or falling out the window.
- Unrestrained: Driving with your pet in the car without any sort of restraint can be extremely dangerous both for you and your pet. The same way a seatbelt is protecting us in the car, putting some sort of restraint on your dog in the car keeps them secure and safe.
Traveling with your pet is a case-to-case situation. What works best and is safest for one dog may not be the case for another. That being said, there are multiple options to choose from when deciding how to travel with your pet.
The nonprofit Center for Pet Safety partnered with Subaru to test a multitude of harnesses, carriers, and crates to determine the best way to keep your pet safe. Through many tests, they’ve determined the equipment you should consider, as well as the safety practices that are most effective for your pet’s safety.
A carrier is a great option for both small dogs and cats when driving with them. Carriers keep your pet from wandering around the car where they can become a distraction or get hurt. They keep your pet safe – and not to mention comfortable! Carriers should always be well ventilated to ensure that your pet isn’t going to overheat. Contrary to popular belief, the Center for Pet Safety (CPS) does not recommend buckling up a carrier as there is a better chance of it being crushed in a crash. Instead, you should place the carrier on the floor either behind the passenger seat or the driver’s seat.
CPS Approved Carriers:
- Sleepypod Air
- Sleepypod Atom
- Sleepypod Mini with PPRS Handilock
- Sleepypod Pet Bed with PPRS Handilock
- Away Pet Carrier
For larger dogs, harnesses are a great option to look into. A harness that is secured to a seatbelt keeps your dog stationary in the car, and similar to a seatbelt, keeps them from flying across the car during a crash or sharp turn. While they look very similar, travel harnesses are actually different from regular walking harnesses as they protect your dog from hurting their necks/bodies in a crash. Usually, travel harnesses have soft, padded straps that won’t cause injury when strained.
CPS Approved Harnesses:
Crates are another great choice to consider. Like carriers, crates keep dogs in a confined space so that they’re not distracting you while you drive or hurt themselves wandering around the car. These crates should be anchored in the cargo area of your car as per manufacturer’s instructions.
CPS Approved Crates:
- Gunner Kennel G1 with Strength Rated Anchor Straps
- Lucky Kennel with Lucky Strength Rated Anchor Straps
However you choose to travel with your pet, be sure to stay safe and have fun!