Want to go for a ride? Those six little words are often music to a dog’s ears. Whether you’re bringing them to the local dog park or to visit friends and family, many dogs enjoy a road trip. You probably ensure that you and your family are buckled up before you go, but are you also keeping your pet safe when they are riding in the car with you?
Trips with Pets, the leading authority on pet travel and pet friendly hotels, conducted a poll to find out how many pet owners are securing their furry companions while on the road. 53% of the 765 respondents reported taking proper safety precautions, which is up from just 44% only two years ago. Many states now have pending legislation regarding the use of pet restraints in a vehicle, so if you currently have your dog or cat loose in your car, it’s time to consider using one of the following methods:
Vehicle Pet Barrier: This was the most popular pet travel restraint in the survey, cited to be used by 41% of pet owner respondents. These barriers are used in the cargo area of the vehicle, keeping your pet safely away from you and your passengers, and more importantly, away from the windshield in the event of an accident.
Pet Travel Crate: 32% of pet owners in the poll reported putting their pet in a travel crate or carrier while inside the car. Make sure it’s well-ventilated and large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down, and turn around in. There are a variety of wire, mesh, hard plastic and soft-sided carriers available to fit your pet. If you’re buddy hasn’t been familiarized with a crate environment, it will be important to do so prior to heading out.
Pet Safety Belt: Buckle ’em up like 9% of the people in the survey do. Dog seat belts are made to easily slip onto your existing vehicle seat belt and acts as a harness to keep your pet safely in the seat in case there is a sudden stop or impact. It also keeps pets from distracting drivers.
Pet Car Seat: For smaller pets, pet travel car seats are the perfect answer when you’re on the go, and are a good option for 8% of the survey respondents. Reminiscent of a booster seat, your pet is able to look out and see what is going on while your vehicle’s own safety belt holds it in place. Your pet is secured in the car seat with a lead which is attached on to their harness.
Roaming Free is Not a Good Option: It’s encouraging that owners traveling with their four-legged family members are trying to keep them safe, but 47% of the people who took the survey do not currently secure their pets in the car. Letting your pet have free reign in a vehicle or sit in your lap while driving can have serious consequences. Aside from the obvious implications during a crash, if the scared pet gets free from the car, he could wander out into the road or try to hamper the efforts of rescue workers. And although dogs love to stick their heads out windows, doing so can actually damage their eyes and ears, not to mention put them at risk of falling out. The same also applies to truck beds.
An unrestrained pet can multiply its weight by hundreds or even thousands of pounds during an automobile accident. Some vehicle accident statistics report loose objects, including pets, to be one of the top five reasons for automobile injuries. Don’t put your beloved pet in harm’s way when you take them for a ride.