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Smarter Ways to Travel with Pets in a Car

Smarter Ways to Travel with Pets in a Car


Like us, our pets need protection when riding in the vehicle. Although the law does not mandate that we buckle in our animals, we should do so anyways to keep them from harm.

For long and short road trips alike, safety is paramount. Likewise, making your pet comfortable and keeping him or her stress-free can affect safety. This article explores different ways to transport your pets for a smooth ride.

Pet Harnesses

You cannot use regular seatbelts for your pets regardless how human-sized they are. However, you can strap in crates for extra protection.

For dogs, you can purchase harnesses that lock into the backseats. Doing so keeps your dog from tumbling around or propelling forward in a collision. Dog harnesses need slack to allow the animal to sit, stand or lay down. That said, a harness too loose increases the danger. Regarding size, shop with the following in mind.

  • Strap thickness—broader straps distribute the weight more effectively and prevent internal damage on impact.
  • Length—shorter harnesses reduce momentum during collisions. They also prevent the dog from jumping into the front and distracting the driver.
  • Fastener quality—the mechanisms connecting the seat and straps together need durability. Cheap plastics will break under pressure, rendering the harness useless.

Smarter Ways to Travel with Pets in a Car

Pet Crates

In most cases, crates are the safest place for your beloved animals. Some SUVs have gates between the trunk and backseat, but such barriers do not increase safety. Using a secured or anchored crate is the only way to stop your pets from launching forward.

Make sure the crate you choose allows your pet to still sit, stand and readjust. As well, exercise him or her before confining your pet to that space. Besides a mat and/or a toy, you should remove extraneous items from the crate that may pose a hazard.

Smarter Ways to Travel with Pets in a Car

Car Safety Tips for Pets

Now that we’ve talked about securing your animals, let’s consider environmental factors that affect safety.

  • Ventilation—keep the vehicle well-ventilated. Never leave your animal alone on a hot or cold day. Even temperate weather can leave a car stuffy. Some animals, particularly those already stressed out, might hyperventilate or suffocate in such conditions.
  • Rest stops—make pit stops when your pet needs walking. Plan visits to rest areas or parks on your journey and stick to the schedule!
  • Travelling kits—pack pet essentials like grooming supplies, food and other accessories for feeding, cleaning and playing with him or her. If your pet takes medication, bring both a backup supply and the prescription documents.
  • Positive reassurance—speak in a lighthearted voice when travelling by car with your pets. Your voice can affect how they interpret the mood of the trip.