Your pet may be one of your best friends and you may take him everywhere with you, but making sure he’s safe in your vehicle may not be as simple as it is for a human being who can just put on a seatbelt, sit back, and relax.
Regular Car Travel Means Choosing the Right Car
If your pet travels with you frequently, the first thing you may need to do is consider the type of car you’ll purchase. An SUV or minivan may give you more space to safely secure your pet during a car ride. Many larger vehicles offer pet barriers as an add-on, sort of like a properly sized crate for your animal to ride in. Having your dog sliding off the backseat every time you bring the car to a stop or turn isn’t safe or comfortable for your pet, so consider a change if daytrips and vacations with your animal are a must.
No matter what type of animal you have – dog or cat –proper restraint is a necessity. Dogs should never, ever be allowed to run lose in a car or ride untethered in the bed of a pick-up truck, and they should never be sitting on a driver’s lap while a vehicle is in motion. Cats should always be restrained in carriers that are buckled into the seat of the car. Dogs should be in carriers, contained in pet barriers, or buckled into safety harnesses (seatbelts for dogs).
Please note that many states have laws and regulations requiring you to restrain your pet while your vehicle is in motion. Check your state’s laws if you are not sure about your requirements.
Your pets should have a collar with ID tags and rabies vaccination tags on at all times, especially during travel. Make sure your cell phone number is listed on the tag, especially if you travel frequently and won’t be near your home phone if your pet is lost. Make sure your pet’s microchip information is up to date as well, if applicable. For longer trips, make sure you carry copies of your pet’s vaccination records and your vet’s phone number.
Plan for Stops
While you may be able to drive for hours without a break, your pet may not feel the same way – especially a dog. Make sure you plan to make extra stops on longer trips so you can walk, feed, and water your dog. Don’t let your dog out of the car without ensuring he’s properly attached to a leash and try to avoid crowded areas. Talk to your vet about methods for combating motion sickness and anxiety, especially if your dog doesn’t usually travel long distances.
Your pet may love being with you 24/7, but it’s your job to keep him safe as well as happy. These tips – especially concerning restraint – will help you to keep your furry friend happy and healthy for years to come.