Hands (or paws) down, the best way to keep your pet safe during a car trip is to use a restraint system. You wear a seatbelt for your own safety -- give your pet the same respect. Your pet should ride in the backseat so it won't get injured if a front seat airbag is deployed. However, don't let your pet ride in the bed of a pickup truck. In that case, it's safer up front with you.
The best restraint system for your pet depends on its size and breed, as well as the size of your vehicle. There are many options from which to choose. Following are some general tips:
- Cats and some small dogs travel best in a carrier. They feel safer and can't run around inside the vehicle. You should use a seat belt to secure the carrier.
- If you need to use a crate for your larger pet, make sure it is well secured and cushioned. In the event of an accident, the animal can slam against the sides of the crate.
- The safest way to secure your dog in the car is through a restraint system. You can purchase a harness that attaches to your regular seat belts, or straps that attach to the ceiling of the car.
- Choose restraints that offer your pet some mobility -- the animal should be able to move and turn in the seat.