Car trips are the best. The windows rolled down, your tongue flopping out of your mouth while the wind buffets your face, sniffing all the fun and new smells while zipping down the highway in South Florida – there’s nothing quite like having four legs, a wagging tail, and being the companion of choice for your human’s travels.
Of course, as the humans, we also have a certain obligation to our furry buddies. Their safety is our number one priority, and we’ll do everything in our power to protect them from any harm. Just as you would secure yourself and your loved ones in your car, you should also be sure to take care of your pets when they tag along for the ride.
Place Them in the Back
The back seat is far safer for your pet than the front seat. While it’s tempting to let them hop up into the front passenger seat with you, the risk of danger simply is too high to justify this. They could easily be ejected from the vehicle in the awful event of a collision, or they may suffer from severe whiplash if someone hits your car. Dogs are also notorious for bolting when they panic, and if they’re allowed free reign of the front seat, they may dart into traffic if you get into a mild fender bender. Even worse, an airbag – which was placed for your safety – could seriously injure or maim your pet when it inflates. For their own sake, set up a barricade to help secure them in the back seat and out of harm’s way.
Keep Them Restrained
You wouldn’t get into your car without first buckling up, so why would you let your pet tumble around untethered in your vehicle? When considering restraint options for your pet, you have many different options from which you can choose. Some people prefer to get a crate specifically for travel and place in the back seat. (Note: do not buckle the carrier in. While that may seem like the safe thing to do, it could actually lead to the carrier getting crushed if a crash occurs.) Other people prefer a harness to keep their pets secured. No matter which you choose, both are superior to letting your doggo bounce around the back seat unfettered.
Install a Window Guard
Yes, their nose wants to peek out the window. No, you’re not the jerk that’s going to deny them this simple pleasure. To give your dog the chance to enjoy the fresh air when you’re driving, but also to help shield them from road hazards, place a window guard over your window. A basic mesh shield over the window can give them the chance to pant and loll happily without potentially getting hit by road debris or accidentally falling from your moving vehicle. (Also, this goes without saying, but make sure you turn off the automatic controls on your windows. A wayward tap could end tragically if they land on the window controls while moving around in the back seat.)
You also want to make sure you plan plenty of stops for you and your pupper, including ample time to let them eat, drink, and go potty. Dogs, like people, can get car sick and need regular stops to help them burn off energy and release their anxiety on a grassy patch of lawn. After all, nobody wants to be witness to a doggy eruption (either from the front end or the rear) in the back seat. By following these three safety tips, you can help keep yourself and your four-legged companion safe and happy on your next road trip!
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Photo credit: Yoss Cinematic