For most of us, summer time brings family barbeques, vacations and relaxation. Since pets are family, many of us enjoy bringing our furry ones with us on these trips. If you have traveled with your pet before, you know there are many things you should consider when travelling with your four-legged partner. With the help of the Humane Society of America, the following is a helpful safety guide when traveling with your pet in the car.
- Dogs shouldn’t roam in the car
- The safest way for your dog to travel in the car is in a crate that has been anchored to the vehicle using a seatbelt or other secure means. Dog restraints or seat belts are useful for preventing your dog from roaming around the car and being a distraction to the driver, but they haven’t been reliably shown to protect dogs during a crash.
- Cats belong in carriers
- Most cats aren’t comfortable traveling in cars, so for their safety as well as yours, keep them in a carrier. It’s important to restrain these carriers in the car so that they don’t bounce around and hurt your cat. Do this by securing a seat belt around the front of the carrier.
- Leave the front seat for humans
- Keep your pet in the back seat of the car. If an airbag deploys while your pet is in the passenger seat (even in a crate), it might injure your pet.
- Keep those heads inside in the car.
- Dogs and cats should always be kept safely inside the car. Pets whom are allowed stick their heads out the window can be injured by particles of debris or made sick by having cold air forced into their lungs. Never transport a pet in the back of an open pickup truck.
- Give your pet plenty of rest stops
- Stop frequently to allow your pet to exercise and eliminate. But never permit your pet to leave the car without a collar, ID tag and leash.
- Bring along a human buddy
- Whenever possible, share the driving and pet caretaking duties with a friend or family member. You’ll be able to get food or use the facilities at rest stops knowing that someone you trust is keeping a close eye on your pets.
- Don’t ever leave your pet alone in a car
- A quick pit stop may feel like no time at all to you, but it’s too long to leave your pet in a car by themselves. Heat is a serious hazard: when it’s 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 116 degrees within an hour. On an 85-degree day, even with the windows slightly open, the temperature inside your car can reach 102 degrees in just 10 minutes. Even if you’re certain of your timing, you can get held up — in just 30 minutes, you could return to a 120 degree car and a pet suffering irreversible organ damage or death.
For additional safe travel tips for airplanes, trains or ships, check out the Humane Society’s helpful travel guides.