Safe Travels with your Dog

dog-barriersWe’ve all seen dogs traveling in unsafe manners, flinging themselves wildly about the back seat, resting on the drivers lap, heads way out the window or loose in the bed of a pick-up truck.  What are some of the downfalls of loose dogs?

  • Loose dogs in the car who don’t remain in place can be a dangerous distraction causing accidents
  • Drivers can be charged under Distracted Driving laws
  • Loose dogs become a flying missile in the event of a collision or hard braking situation
  • Dogs with their heads out the window or in the open bed of a pick-up are left open to injury caused by flying debris
  • Dogs with full access to windows or in truck beds may get loose while the vehicle is moving or stopped.

So what are the safest ways for our pets to travel? Using an impact tested dog crate, approved for air travel by the IATA (International Air Transport Association) is the best way to ensure safety for both them and the people in the vehicle.  Properly secured to the vehicle, your pet will be more securely protected in the event of a crash.  They will also be kept in place and will not become a dangerous projectile.  Most dogs learn to ride calmly and quietly in a crate, which ensures they are not a distraction to the driver.

Another option in an SUV or Minivan is a car barrier.  Properly installed, it will keep your pet secure in the cargo area of a vehicle.  If you have a very large dog, a barrier may provide a better option for his containment.

If you cannot afford the space a crate or barrier requires, consider a harness restraint system.  Most car harnesses buckle into your vehicle’s existing seatbelt system and keep the pet in place in the event of a crash.  They also keep your dog from roaming far from his allocated seat.

The downside to car harnesses is that they do allow your pet some motion and an untrained dog can get tangled easily.  If you are going to go the harness route, make sure you take some time to train your dog to be mostly still and calm when riding so they don’t become a distraction.

Whatever you choose to keep your pet safe, drive carefully and enjoy your travels!

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