Our Four Legged Sweethearts – is your pet traveling safely? - Greater Cincinnati Automobile Dealers Association
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Our Four Legged Sweethearts – is your pet traveling safely?

For many American families, having a dog is important.  They’re loyal; and also known as “Man’s best friend”, so who wouldn’t want to make that addition to their family.  It’s very common that every so often, families pack everyone into the car and out to spend some fun family time together.  Of course we don’t leave our dogs out of this family fun; we do our best to treat them like they completely belong.  The thing is, so many pet owners get excited to take their dog for a drive, watching it as it enjoys sticking its head out of the window and wagging its tongue, that they forget all the rules about safe traveling. 

We wouldn’t put ourselves or our kids in a vehicle with the intentions of driving it, while standing up, not being strapped in, and we probably wouldn’t spend the entire car ride, or even a fraction of it with our head dangling out of the window, just because we know that you never know what could happen.  In an article titled “Traveling Safely with & Choosing the Right Vehicle for your 4 Legged Cargo” by Linda Sharp, she states that, “when you bring home a pet, you have taken on the role of care taker.”  So, it’s up to you to make sure that your pet is safely and completely secure when you decide to take em’ for a drive. 

It’s important to make sure that when traveling, pets are kept secure, not only for their welfare and ours, but also for the other drivers on the roads.  “All dogs, large and small, should learn to ride politely in their cars.”  The list of safety hazards that can result from having an unrestrained canine in a moving vehicle should not be taken lightly (Sharp).

Having an unrestrained dog in a vehicle, no matter what their size is, is a distraction.  “Unfortunately 98% of dogs do not travel properly restrained in a moving vehicle.  Like cell phones, texting, eating, etc., unrestrained dogs are a distraction and driver distraction causes more accidents than any other issue.  Besides being a distraction, there are other hazards.  An unrestrained dog can fall, or jump out of an open window, or the back of a truck.  Speaking of windows, you really shouldn’t let your dog stick his head out of the window, because it can lead to eye infections, or an injury from striking objects or other random flying objects.  Another reason that dogs should not be loose in moving vehicles is, because if an accident were to occur, the dog could be frightened, escape the vehicle, and end up run over by another vehicle, or could become lost trying to leave the accident (Sharp).  In all, there are a lot of hazards that come along with unrestrained traveling pets.  We’re not saying that those awesome car rides with your best friend must come to an end; we just want you to take the initiative to make sure that your dog, or pet is traveling safely. 

It’s important to restrict your dog’s movement inside the vehicle.  There are a few things that you can do to make sure that your dog is secure.  Many dog owners use the dog’s crate as a safety restraint.  However, to truly be safe, the crate must be fastened securely in the back of the vehicle.  (Front seat air bags aren’t good for pets, so the best place for them is the back seat).  Another great safety restraint for dogs are canine seat belts.  When the “fasten your seatbelt” sign lights up, you should be reminded, that applies to your dog as well.  Some dogs aren’t good with seat belts, typically smaller dogs, and those who like to chew through things like that (Sharp).  A crate would be better for these dogs.  It’s even been recommended by some to get your dog accustomed to lying flat in the back while riding in the car.  Many dogs happen to like this position.

In all, riding in the back seat (or “way back” of your car) with a harness and securely fastened seat belt, this – or a securely fastened crate, is the safest mode of car travel for your dog (Sharp).  Hopefully this information has been helpful, and may you and your family have safe and happy travels!