Why Should I Restrain My Pet In The Car?
Over half of pet owners say that they would bring their pets on every vacation if they could, according to a recent AAA/Best Western survey. But less than 20% of pet owners use proper safety restraints when they travel with their pets. In an accident, a loose dog, cat, or human can become a projectile, with the potential to injure themselves, others, or even be ejected through the vehicle’s windshield. Even if you choose not to restrain your pet, do your best to keep them out of the front seat and out of the driver’s lap.
Accidents aside, restraining your pets safely makes getting out of the vehicle for rest breaks much easier, and prevents them from slipping out into traffic. Additionally, keeping your pet restrained makes it less likely that you’ll drive distracted -- meaning that you both get where you need to go safely. The three main ways to restrain your animals while traveling are: in carriers, with barriers, and with seat belt harnesses.
How To Use Carriers In Your Vehicle
There are three main ways to restrain your pet in your vehicle. The first is easiest for small-to-medium sized animals in medium-to-large sized vehicles: pet carriers. Travel pet carriers like the K&H Travel Safety Carrier feature soft sides and ways to attach to seat belts. This carrier should work in any seat from small or medium sized animals. For small animals, you could try this Comfort Carrier with a shoulder strap. For larger animals, you may need to bring a full sized, hard or metal crate into the car. Most crates, except the largest sizes, will fit into the back of an SUV. As always, you should choose a carrier that allows your pet to stand up, lay down, and turn around without much trouble.
Which Barriers Work In My Car?
If you want to give your pet a little more room, you could use a barrier instead. Pet barriers generally fit between the front seats and back seats, or the back seats and hatchback area. They keep your dog confined to that area during the car ride. The MidWest Pet Barrier is one of the most affordable, but prices range up into hundreds of dollars based on ease of setup, material quality, and custom fit to your vehicle.
Should I Use A Pet Seat Belt Harness?
At this time, we do not recommend pet seat belt harnesses, because they are not rigorously tested for road safety. Using a carrier or barrier will be the most effective way to keep your pet safe during car travel.
My Pet Hates Traveling - What Can I Do?
Some pets get car sick, anxious, or just plain annoying when traveling in the car. Luckily, there are some things you can do to ease their minds. First, make sure to bring water and give them access during rest stops. For dogs, you’ll want to let them get out of the car every few hours to stretch their legs and use the bathroom, just like you need to. Cats often refuse to go to the bathroom in the car, so don’t worry too much about giving them litter until the end of the day.
For animals that get car sick or anxious, you can use over the counter or prescription calming aids to help. We carry a variety of calming products, and every pet is different, so we recommend trying them before a planned trip to know how your pet will respond. One prescription product, Cerenia, is available for both dogs and cats and can prevent puking for up to 12 hours in the car. On long trips, it’s a lifesaver. Under the direction of your veterinarian, you can also give your animals certain antihistamines to help them sleep during long travel times. Remember, always speak to your vet before giving your dog or cat medicine.