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How to Avoid a Ruff Car Ride

Car Safety for Pets

Taking your pet along for a car ride means you’re guaranteed to have good company during the trip! But you can make them even better company by following a few car safety tips that will keep not only your pet out of harm’s way, but you, too. Just a few different safety measures can be the reason you and your companion have a pleasant road trip and are able to avoid any dangerous situations or accidents.

Restraints

If you want to bring your cat or dog somewhere via your car, throwing them into the backseat and driving away won’t always work. Neither will an open pickup truck bed. Countless pets have a tendency to draw as near to their owners as possible, or their curiosity may lead them to roam parts of the car when they shouldn’t be. This is not only distracting for the driver, but overall unsafe. They may crawl into your lap, jump near the gas and brakes, cover your gearshift, or simply cause you to take your eyes off the road. In another scenario, they may be completely well behaved and stick to one spot of the car even without the restraints. But if you have to brake abruptly or find yourself in an accident, who’s to say that your pet won’t be lunged forward or toppled around in the vehicle? Restraints will ensure that your pet stays only in the area allotted to them and is safely secured to the seat in the event of an emergency.

Here are some examples of restraints:

  • Zipline Harness - This is a harness and lead attached to a zipline that is mounted between opposing seatbelts or door handles. It keeps your dog secured to only the backseat of your car, but still able to move side to side. These are great for curious pups that like to switch back and forth between windows for sightseeing. It’s basically a restraint for animals that doesn’t actually let them feel like they’re being restrained. 
  • Booster Seat - Just like children’s booster seats, these will elevate your small pet off the car seat. In fact, it’ll help to give them a better view of what’s outside the window. Booster seats come with a tether that easily attaches to your companion’s harness, keeping them securely in the seat. Booster seats are very comfortable, using materials like fleece and other cushioning. This makes the ride all the smoother and more luxurious for your pet!
  • Seat Cover - Seat covers or liners come in two different styles. The first style is where one side of the cover is attached to only one side of the headrests, acting just as a seat liner. The second style is where both sides of the cover are hung on both sides of the seats, creating a hammock effect. Covers are very useful if you have a larger pet, plus will keep your seats fur and dirt free.
  • Crate - The absolute most secure option is a crate. These kennels must be large enough for your companion to comfortably stand up and turn around in. It should also be well ventilated so that they can easily breathe and don’t get trapped in the heat. Crates will give you the peace of mind that your pet won’t be able to distract you or jump outside.

What to Pack

Prepare a pet travel kit ahead of time. These may not only be lifesavers during the roadtrip, but will be useful once you reach your destination.

  • Food, water, & treats - Don’t let your pet starve! Buy food and treats ahead of time, especially if you’re going on a lengthier ride. This saves you time from having to purchase pet food at pit stops. Only feed them when stopped; the bumpiness of the moving vehicle might cause them to choke.
  • Travel bowl - Travel bowls are meant to be taken on the go, and they usually collapse or fold for ease of storage.
  • Waste bags or litter box - For when your pet really has to go.
  • Leash, harness, muzzle - These will be needed for any pit stops you take so that your pet stays by your side and under control. It’s especially useful if they’ll be encountering people in any way, whether it’s at those stops or the destination.
  • Special toy - Toys can help keep them from getting bored during the drive, as well as ease anxiety if they get nervous traveling.
  • Medical & travel documents - Documents are needed in the event that your pet becomes ill or requires papers to travel.
  • Medication - Bring with you any pills, ointments, or other medications.

Additional Tips

  • Prep them for the ride. Not all pets handle travel or car rides well. Take them on a series of test drives, with each one getting a bit longer than the last. Use this time to not only accustom them to car rides, but to observe how they handle them. Are they experiencing boredom, anxiety, or nausea? Get those questions answered early so that you know how to prepare for the real deal.
  • Don’t leave your pet alone in the car, especially if the weather is very warm or very cold. It only takes a couple minutes for the weather to begin taking a toll on your pet’s health, whether it’s overheating or freezing.
  • If you’re taking a longer road trip, schedule some pit stops. Give your pet a break and take them out of the vehicle. This is the time for them to stretch their body out or use the bathroom.
  • Don’t let them stick their head out the window. Other drivers might get a kick out of seeing a doggy head poking out, but your pet may have a sudden impulse to jump out or the window may somehow close on them. Even the wind may pose harm to their eyes and ears.
  • Keep them in the backseat. Having your furry friend sit upfront will distract you much, much more. Additionally, if the airbags go off they might injure your pet.
  • Put some form of identification on your pet. Collar ID tags and microchips with your pet’s name and your contact information on it will provide a way for you to reunite with your fur baby should you be separated.

Taking your buddy with you on any car ride is sure to add some excitement along the way. It no longer becomes about the destination, but the journey instead! Help make sure that it’s as pleasant as it can be for the both of you by providing your pet with the proper restraints and following the safety rules.


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