Top 5 Safety Tips for Traveling With a Pet in the Car


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Restrain Your Pet
A girl sleeping with a dog in the back of a station wagon. Cute, but not the safest way for a child and dog to ride.
A girl sleeping with a dog in the back of a station wagon. Cute, but not the safest way for a child and dog to ride.
Steven Mason/Getty Images

­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.

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Sources

  • "Pet Care - Car Travel Tips." ASPCA. 2008. (Dec. 30, 2008) http://www.aspca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=pets_cartraveltips
  • "Traveling by Car." The Humane Society of the United States. Nov. 17, 2006. (Dec. 30, 2008) http://www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/caring_for_pets_when_you_travel/traveling_by_car.html
  • "12 Top Travel Tips." Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff. Doctors Foster and Smith. 2008. (Dec. 30, 2008) http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?acatid=205&aid=643
  • Campbell, Angie. "Keep pets safe when traveling." GreenvilleOnline.com. Dec. 26, 2008. (Dec. 30, 2008) http://www.greenvilleonline.com/article/20081226/UPSTATEPETS/812260301/1068/YOURUPSTATE01
  • "Why Buckle?" BarkBuckleUp.com. 2008. (Dec. 30, 2008) http://www.barkbuckleup.com/default.asp

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