Though the accessories listed on the previous page can certainly keep your pet safe while the car is in motion -- a harness is the perfect safety belt, while a crate can keep a pet from becoming distracting -- you don't need to purchase anything to follow the most basic safety rule regarding pets and vehicles.
The number one rule of having a pet in a vehicle is that you can't leave the pet there. Your parked car is not an appropriate locale for your pet, period. It's not OK in the high heat of the summer or the dead of cold in the winter. You should never leave your dog in a truck's bed unattended -- it might become threatened by or threatening to strangers. Similarly, experts recommend you should never travel with your dog in the back of a pickup truck. Many dogs have been injured by falling out of open truck beds. The same goes for those dogs who love to stick their heads out the window -- experts say that's a no-no, too. While hanging his head out the window, your dog can get inner ear and lung infections from the flying dust and grime, as well as eye infections if something flies in his eyes [source: ASPCA]. It's also possible that your animal could be struck by something whizzing by.
It can seem like a lot to consider for your next drive with your pet, but as long as you plan a bit and take proper precautions, you and Sparky can have miles of fun on your next road trip.
For more pet travel information, visit the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
More Great Links
- ASPCA. "Automobile Safety." (Accessed 1/19/09) http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/pet-care-tips/automobile-safety.html
- Cats Play. "Snoozer Lookout Pet Golf Cart Seat." (Accessed 1/19/09) http://www.catsplay.com/golfseat.php3
- Family Education. "Automobile Safety for Dogs." (Accessed 1/19/09) http://life.familyeducation.com/dogs/travel/45672.html
- Mighty Pets. "Vehicle Barriers, Safety Dividers." (Accessed 1/19/09) http://www.mightypets.com/subcat.asp?0=519
- Nextag. "Car Booster Seat." (Accessed 1/19/09) http://www.nextag.com/dog-car-booster-seat/search-html
- Nextag. "Pet Barrier." (Accessed 1/19/09) http://www.nextag.com/dog-barrier-for-car/search-html
- Oh My Dog Supplies. "Dog Car Seat Covers." (Accessed 1/19/09) http://www.ohmydogsupplies.com/dog-supplies/dog-car-seat-covers/
- Pet Classics. "Outdoor Dog Ramps." (Accessed 1/19/09) http://www.petclassics.com/Outdoor-Dog-Ramps/
- Pet Relocation. "Your Pet's Travel Crate." (Accessed 1/19/09) http://www.petrelocation.com/pet-travel-crate.html
- Pet Super Store. "Dog Car Seats." (Accessed 1/19/09) http://www.pet-super-store.com/pet-supplies/dog-car-seats/
- Pet Travel. "Pet Restraint Systems - It's the Law!" (Accessed 1/19/09) http://www.pettravel.com/pet-safety-harness.cfm
- Pets on the Go. "The Best Pet Carriers." Accessed 1/19/09) http://www.petsonthego.com/boutiquecarrier.html
- Robert, Greg. "Pet Car Barriers, Pet Vents, and Seat Covers." (Accessed 1/19/09) http://www.pet-dog-cat-supply-store.com/shop/pet-car-travel.php
- Top of the Line. "Dog Travel Safety Harness." (Accessed 1/19/09) http://www.topoftheline.com/auto-dog-harness.html