Pet Safety in the Car

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Today more than ever our pets are an active part of our everyday lives. As an added benefit, some employers allow staffers to bring their animals to work, while a fair amount of restaurants have dog-friendly patios. In addition to being excellent companions at home, our pets are often our side-kicks as we run errands or go on road trips. When driving with your pet, it is crucial to have their safety in mind as well as your own. Here are some tips to make sure that both you and your pet get to your destination safely.

Pets Stay in the Back Seat

When you are traveling with your pet, they should not be able to access the front seat. There are two reasons for this. First, as a practical consideration, airbags are designed to protect humans, not animals. So if you are involved in a collision, no matter how minor, if the airbag is triggered to deploy, your pet could suffer traumatic and potentially life-threatening injuries.

Additionally, having a pet in the front seat is a distraction for the driver. If the driver is more focused on keeping the dog restrained or entertained, then they will not be doing the important work of staying aware of road conditions. When a driver’s reaction time suffers due to distractions, serious accidents are more likely to happen. Lastly, if you are involved in a high-impact collision while your pet is in the front seat, the likelihood that they will be thrown from the car is much higher.

Pets Should be Restrained

For the same reason that people wear seatbelts in the car, pets should be provided with a protective restraint. Upon any kind of impact, a restraint, either in the form of a crate or a harness, can save your pet’s life. Making sure that your pet stays in place ensures that it will not be thrown into the front seat and potentially hurt the driver and other passengers. Additionally, a restraint will hold them down upon impact and decrease the likelihood that they sustain blunt force injuries.

The Center for Pet Safety recommends either a harness or a crate as a safe option for restraining your pet. Let your pet’s reaction help you decide between the two restraint types. Some pets are very uncomfortable and respond negatively to being in an enclosed space, others lash out when they are attached to any kind of involved harness. Use what you know about your pet to make a smart decision for their safety.

Pay Attention

Ultimately, your pet shouldn’t spend too much time in the car without being granted some time to get fresh air. If you’re on a long road trip make sure you factor in some extra time to toss the tennis ball or take water breaks.

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