To many people, their pet is another cherished member of their family, plain and simple. Many families take their pet wherever the rest of the family goes whether it’s on vacation or to the store.
Especially with more and more stores allowing pets to enter, more restaurants having outdoor seating where pets can join the fun, not to mention the tons of hotels that now allow pets to stay in the rooms with their families, pets have so many more options than to stay at home alone. In fact many people wouldn’t dream of leaving their pets.
It’s not unusual now to see a dog and sometimes an occasional cat in the car beside you at a red light. And the absolute delight on the dog’s face is always apparent as he enjoys the outing with his family.
With the seemingly increased traveling pets are doing it might be time to talk about how to keep them safe while they’re on the road with their families. We’ve had a few unfortunate incidents in the past few weeks that caused families a whole lot of anxiety and sleeplessness nights. So we want to make sure everyone makes it to their destination and back home again.
The first simple tip is for the pet to ride in the back seat. The back seat is much safer in the event of an accident and airbag deployment.
The next tip is no matter how much your dog begs you to roll the window down while riding in the car so he can hang his head out and feel the breeze in his face, please don’t do it. In addition to hazards of debris blowing in their eyes, there is danger in falling out of the window while cruising down the highway. And the temptation to jump out when the car slows down is sometimes too much to turn down.
The next thing to consider is how to secure your pet in the vehicle. Let me just say if you’re driving a pickup truck, by all means have your pet in the cab of the truck. Please, never put a pet in the bed of a truck. Not only is it dangerous, it is illegal to have an untethered, unsecured dog in the back of a truck.
So whether you drive a car or have your pet in the cab of a truck, it still needs to be secured in the event of an accident. Pets who are unsecured in a vehicle involved in an accident are typically in shock and potentially injured so they tend to run away from the scene. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than having an accident and losing your cherished pet all at the same time.
There has been debate over whether to travel with your pet in a carrier. If you choose to use a carrier, please attach it to the car with the seat belt or some sort of strap. Do not let the carrier be unattached to the car.
Tests on the quality of travel carriers have shown that many of the older ones do not withstand the force of an accident. If you opt for the carrier, shop for newly designed ones built to have a greater chance to survive an accident.
The other option is to use a harness designed to attach to the seat belt. Search for the harness that has the most padding across your pet’s chest. Again, remember to put him in the back seat.
And as always, make sure your pet is microchipped and wearing legible ID tags. You always want him to be able to be identified and returned to your family in the event you are separated.
Follow these important safety tips and enjoy having your fur baby accompany you. You’ll have a wonderful companion who isn’t a backseat driver.
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