January 2nd is National Pet Travel Safety Day, a day to highlight the dangers of unsecured pets in vehicles and to educate people about how to make vehicle travel safer for people and their pets.
Your pets are a part of the family and we know that sometimes a vacation or traveling isn’t the same when your pets aren’t with you. While traveling with pets can be stressful for both you and your furry friends, you can ensure a safe and happy ride with some preparation. The Humane Society of the United States has shared some safety tips for safe car travels with your pet.
Dogs shouldn’t roam in the car
The safest way for your dog to travel in the car is in a crate that has been anchored to the vehicle using a seat belt or other secure means. Dog restraints or seat belts are useful for preventing your dog from roaming around the car and being a distraction to the driver, but they haven’t been reliably shown to protect dogs during a crash.
Cats belong in carriers
Most cats aren’t comfortable traveling in cars, so for their safety as well as yours, keep them in a carrier. It’s important to restrain these carriers in the car so that they don’t bounce around and hurt your cat. Do this by securing a seat belt around the front of the carrier.
Leave the front seat for humans
Keep your pet in the back seat of the car. If an airbag deployed while your pet was in the passenger seat (even in a crate), it might injure your pet.
Keep those heads inside!
Dogs and cats should always be kept safely inside the car. Pets who are allowed to stick their heads out the window can be injured by particles of debris or made sick by having cold air forced into their lungs. Never transport a pet in the back of an open pickup truck.
Give your pet plenty of rest stops
Stop frequently to allow your pet to exercise and eliminate. But never permit your pet to leave the car without a collar, ID tag, and leash.
Bring along a human buddy
Whenever possible, share the driving and pet care-taking duties with a friend or family member. You’ll be able to get food or use the facilities at rest stops knowing that someone you trust is keeping a close eye on your pets.
Don’t ever leave your pet alone in a car
A quick pit stop may feel like no time at all to you, but it’s too long to leave your pet in a car by himself. One hazard is heat: When it’s 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 116 degrees within an hour. On an 85-degree day, even with the windows slightly open, the temperature inside your car can reach 102 degrees in just 10 minutes. If you’re held up for 30 minutes, you may return to a car that’s 120 degrees inside and a pet who is suffering irreversible organ damage or death.
A year-round hazard is the unspoken invitation you issue to pet (and car) thieves any time you leave your pet alone in a car.
Visit the Humane Society’s webpage here to read about pet safety on other forms of transportation!