Car Travel with Pets: How to Keep Them Safe

January 10th, 2019 by

small dog in passenger seat of vehiclePet owners would do anything to keep their furry friends safe and healthy. While our own safety in the car is top of mind, doing the same for our furry traveling companions takes a bit more thought and consideration. Here are some tips to keep your pet safe while on the road.

Buckle Up

Buckling the seatbelt is often the first thing we do when we get in the car. Unfortunately, seat belts for a standard car don’t fit or secure a dog the same way. That’s why the first safety tip is to get a dog seat belt. Just like humans, dogs will move forward during a sudden stop. Falling off the seat can result in an injury. If your dog is well-behaved in the car, consider using a regular dog harness and simply slide the belt through the harness and buckle it in.

Smaller dogs or dogs who are more active may need something else. You may prefer having a dog guard that’s bolted to the floor and the roof so the dog can be free in the back while still being safe. Or your dog might prefer a hammock-style seat cover. No matter which option you choose, make sure you have something to keep your dog from getting hurt in an accident or during a sudden stop.

Keep Those Paws Inside the Vehicle

Many dogs absolutely love riding in the car whether the drive is long or short. Sticking their heads and paws out the window is one way to enjoy the ride. But it’s also dangerous. Some dogs may jump out of the window while the car is moving and injure themselves. And high-speed winds actually hurt your dog’s eyes. For safety, either roll up the windows high enough so the dog can’t stick his head out, or make sure he is restrained before you roll down the windows.

Bring the Essentials

Just like humans, pets need certain items to help keep them safe and comfortable on a car trip. These include things like a portable water bowl so your pet gets proper hydration, and a pet first aid kit to address minor cuts or injuries. Many retailers sell such kits online but you can also make your own if you choose. Don’t forget to bring an extra collar and leash, your pet’s food, toys, blanket, and a bed if your furry friend uses them at home.

This may seem like a lot to bring, especially if your car is already full. Save space and keep your pet supplies in an organizer just like those available for toiletries. You’ll have everything you need at hand, which saves time during rest stops. If your pet is the restless type, put an entertaining toy or puzzle in the organizer to keep him occupied on the road.

Traveling in the car with a pet can create some of the best memories for both of you. Follow these practical tips to make sure you both enjoy many car trips to come!


the dog” via Flickr by chascow. Used with permission via CC BY 2.0 / Cropped from original

Posted in Car Tips