How To – Safety Guide for Traveling with Your Pet

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    Whether you are going across country or driving to the local pet park to get some exercise with your dog providing a safe environment for your animal will mean that your pet, you and other drivers or pedestrians don’t end up in trouble.

    Some states have laws about how you must maintain your animal while in your vehicle. Many of the laws are targeting owners that leave their pets in a hot vehicle unattended but there are some areas that require you to restrain or protect your pet for protection while the vehicle is moving.

    In a recent survey by the AAA they found that 80% of pet owners travel with their animals but only 15% use any methods of restraint to protect their animal.

    Over 60% of pet owners say that they regularly pet, feed or allow their animal to sit on their lap as they drive.

    And although the Media has been quick to cover the distractions of texting while driving accidents due to pet distractions are up over 23% in the past 5 years.

    Not Restraining Your Pet While Driving

    Most people never think about how their animals could be harmed while in their car. There are a number of concerns for pet owners no matter how well trained you think your pet is. Many of the injuries do not even require that you be in an accident.

    The most common injury is eye injury found in dogs that are allowed to stick their head out the window. This may sound like common sense but many dog owners will allow their pets to hang out the window whether in the passengers seat or even on their lap.

    Another very common injury is the dog getting stuck under the seats. Doctors normally need to sedate the animal to free it.

    And then there are injuries due to accidents. A pet that is not restrained during an accident under 35mph has a 80% higher chance of not surviving the accident.

    These statistics are alarming when you consider very few people know about them.

    If you were to consider that every trip you take with your pet could result in their death just because you didn’t care enough to restrain them properly you would obviously do something but unfortunately tales of this type go untold because the owner is embarrassed and also because there are few laws for the prosecution of the owner.

    How can you protect your animal in your car?

    Most people already know about pet cargo containers. They are available for most vehicles but are very easy to use in SUVs or Trucks. When placed in the vehicle the cargo container should be restrained with a safety belt.

    The benefit of using a pet cargo container is many fold.

    • First you are not distracted while driving.
    • Your pet can not cause themselves injury within the driving compartment.
    • If your pet is restrained during an accident you reduce the chance that they will be injured or killed.
    • Your pet will not be distracted and will be calmer during the trip

    Not only are you helping your pet be safe you are also helping your pet have a calmer time during the trip.

    You may be one of those people that think their pet is their child and they always have to be in physical contact with it and they are so cute that they have to be on mommy or daddy’s lap all the time sweet sweet shnugums we love you…

    But you are doing the exact opposite thing that you should be doing. Basically your selfishness is putting your pet in danger .. a danger that they do not understand. If your pet did understand that you are putting them in a 80% higher chance of dieing even in a small accident.. they would strap themselves into a safety restraint and call you an idiot or maybe bite you.

    What can you do to Protect Your Pet in Your Car?

    The best solution is a pet kennel that you place in the back of your SUV or Truck. There are specially made kennels for Pickup Trucks that provide more protection but if you do use one you should not use it when weather conditions are extreme.

    A pet Kennel that is restrained with a belt or tie down will offer the best protection but it should be sized to the dog so don’t use a large dog kennel for a small dog. The idea is to restrain the animal during an accident not to allow secondary impacts within the kennel.

    A Pet Partition offers some amount of protection you will reduce some secondary impacts but remember your pet can still fly into and possibly through rear and side windows.

    A Pet Hammock is a solution if you are leaving your animal unattended in good weather and it could provide some but not much protection against impacts.

    Pet Restraints or seat belts for your pets are options but because you are dealing with an animal and not a child their first response will be to find a way out of it. Most of these devices are not tight enough to provide the same protection that your seat belt offers. Unless you know your dog is accustomed to using one.. meaning you are caring for a friend or relative’s pet then they may offer little help once your dog is free… and you know it will be a game to them to get free.

    Final Note

    Whatever option you choose is better then no protection at all. At the very least if the Department of Transportation now recommends children to sit in the rear seat of your vehicle then you should always place your pet in the back seat.

    You can start doing that right away and then explore other options that fit your pets needs as soon as you can.

    Most people do not realize that it only takes a few pounds of force to kill a person or a pet.

    Even small accidents like a fender bender or bumper hit can leave your animal permanantly injured without the use of a leg or an eye.. or possibly even dead…

    We are not trying to be alarmists but when the rates of injury and death are going up due to the pet owner not taking responsibility it is important to look out not only for the pet and their owner.. but also for the people around them that may end up in an accident when a dog jumps into a drivers foot area, into the steering wheel  or other situations.

    Your pet depends on you to take care of them.. 2 minutes and a cargo container is not much hassle for all the love they give you.

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