Buckle up – how to keep your pet safe in the car


Photo courtesy of Abby Meyer

During the holidays, traveling to see family and friends revs up. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, about 91 percent of long-distance holiday travel is by car. While some people choose to leave their furry family member at home or at a boarding facility, others like to take them on the trip. If you decide to take your pet on your travels and in the car, there are some safety tips you should consider.

All pets should be restrained while traveling in the car, although making sure your furry family member is properly restrained is key. Per an article by the Today Show, “in crash tests by the Center for Pet Safety, a nonprofit watchdog group, 25 of 29 products failed in one way or another.” Because pet products are not classified as a consumer product by the Consumer Products Safety Commission, they do not need to be regulated. Four of the top products that the Center for Pet Safety tested and found to be top performers were: Sleepypod Clickit Utility, Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed with PPRS Handilock, Gunner Kennel GI Intermediate with Strength Rated Anchor Straps and PetEgo Jet Set Forma Frame Carrier with ISOFIX-Latch Connection.

While it may be out of habit or for comfort, your dog or cat should not be sitting on your lap while you are driving. Pets can provide a distraction to the driver – in a study done by AAA, 52 percent of people surveyed said they have pet their dog, 17 percent have allowed them to sit on their lap and 13 percent admitted to giving them food or treats…all while driving! AAA recommends restraining your pet to limit the amount of distraction to the driver, which could be cause for a crash. Also, your car’s airbags, which are designed to protect humans, could potentially be fatal to your pet if activated. The best place for your pet is safely restrained in the back seat!

If you know you are going to be traveling with your furry family member during the holidays, it is best to plan ahead. According to Consumer Reports, “If you’re staying in hotels, make sure they’re pet friendly before you book. And keep in mind that some hotels and motels that say they allow animals may have weight limits. If you have a 200-pound Mastiff, make sure you let your hosts know ahead of time.”

We want to make sure you and your pet have the best experience when traveling. If you have any further questions or need travel tips, please call us at: (773) 327-4446.

Written for Blum Animal Hospital by Jackie Sheppard.