4 Tips to Help Keep Your Pet Safe in the Car

Whether it’s for a joy ride, a road trip, or moving to a new home, lots of pet owners love taking their pets for a ride in the car. While this can be fun for everyone involved and is often necessary, there are inherent risks involved when it comes to taking your pet for a car ride. Fortunately, there are preventative measures you can take to make sure that your pet stays safe and happy in the car.

1) Keep Them Cool

One of the most common causes of pets being harmed in a vehicle is when they are left inside a hot car. It can be tempting to leave your pet inside your car while you run an errand that you think will be quick, such as a trip to the grocery store, but even just ten minutes inside a hot car can cause the temperature to increase to dangerous levels. 

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, in ten minutes in 80 degree weather, the temperature inside the car will increase to nearly 100 degrees. After an hour, the air temperature inside a vehicle may be forty degrees hotter than the air outside. These temperatures are hot enough to cause illness or even death to your pet. Unfortunately, safety measures like cracking a window do little to maintain a safe temperature inside a parked vehicle. 

If you are planning to frequently travel with your pets, you may wish to look into vehicles such as safety features which will allow you to lock the vehicle with the car running and the air conditioning, with your keys safely in your pocket. If this isn’t an option and you can’t have someone sit in the car with your furry family member with the air conditioning running, it’s best to leave your pet safely at home.

2) Use Safety Restraints

You are probably well aware of the safety benefits of using restraints like seat belts and booster seats in cars when it comes to children. Just like humans, pets are much safer when they are restrained in a moving vehicle. There are different methods that you may want to use depending on the size of your pet. Small animals, like a cat will often be more secure if they are traveling in a carrier. Dogs (or more curious cats!) often do well with a harness. There are different styles and you can discuss which option is best for your particular pet with your veterinarian. One popular style is a harness that can be clipped into the car’s existing seat belt. This can greatly reduce the risk of serious injury if you are involved in a car accident. 

3) Keep Them in the Back Seat

Just like children, pets are often much safer in the back seat of your vehicle. This is because the airbags that are installed in the front seats of vehicles are designed for average adults — not children or pets. An airbag can cause serious injury if your pet is sitting in the front passenger seat or in your lap. Sitting in the front seat also makes your pet more likely to go through the front windshield in case of a collision. Keeping your pet in the back seat will also help you make sure that small pets stay out from underfoot. The last thing you need is to be distracted by your cat getting under your feet while you’re trying to drive!

4) Keep the Windows Up

While your pet might enjoy the breeze if you let them ride with their head sticking out of the open window, this unfortunately isn’t very safe for them. Your pet might be able to jump out of the window into traffic if the window is open very far. No matter how much you trust them or how well behaved your furry friend normally is, all it takes is one temptation to make them jump. If your pet has their head out the window when you are involved in a collision, they are likely to be seriously injured. They also may be injured by debris in the air whipping into their face, such as particles hitting their eyes when you’re moving quickly down the road. Turn the air conditioning up to make sure your pet has a breeze in the car.

Do you have questions about the best ways to keep your pet safe in the car? One of the best things you can do is bring those questions to your veterinarian so they can go over options and troubleshooting with you. Contact Bregman Veterinary Group today to get in touch so we can help you keep your furry copilot safe and happy!

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