For many of us, traveling just wouldn’t be the same without our four-legged consorts by our side, and leaving them at home just isn’t an option. For those living the portable-pet lifestyle, finding ways of keeping them both secure and comfortable is paramount to safe driving for everyone in the car. We’ve compiled some of the best solutions to traveling with your pets for long excursions as well as quick trips.
There are now a multitude of options for keeping dogs strapped into place in the backseat, such as booster seats, harnesses, and carrier straps. Keeping pets strapped in the backseat is safer for a few different reasons. For starters, the backseat is located in the most impact resistant area of the car, and secondly, airbags in the front are known to do more harm than good to dogs. Lastly, having pets confined to the backseat eliminates a lot of distractions while driving.
Adjustable pet “booster” seats come in many sizes and are great to have because they keep your pet in one area while also serving as a seat cover. They’re also ideal for smaller cars and quick trips because their lightweight, portable, and easily folded up. Though these kinds of seats wouldn’t protect your pet from any kind of potential trauma from an accident, the strap does keep them from flying forward or moving around the car.
If you intend on using a carrier to transport your pet, you’ll want to secure it to avoid any slipping or shifting while driving. There are numerous straps and ties, such as Carrier Keeper, for instance, than can be used along with backseat seatbelts to secure your carrier. After cinching the straps around the pet carrier, they can be attached to the seat by looping the seatbelts through them, similarly to a child’s car seat.
If you’ve ever been driving with a tail or tongue whipping you in the face, you know that dogs can present a lot of unwanted (but sometimes tempting) distractions. Barriers are handy at keeping dogs confined to certain areas of the car, such as when letting them off their harness during stops, or in the event that they get loose while driving. Mesh barriers are great because they can be used in unison with other seats and harnesses, and prevent dangerous distractions by ensuring your pets stay safely in the back.
Bring Your Pet’s Crate
Using a crate does have it’s advantages, such as making the rear of hatchback vehicles safer and providing a recognizable bed that can be used in and out of the car. If your dog finds car rides to be stressful, bringing their crate can provide a comforting and familiar environment that’ll help reduce car anxiety. When choosing a crate, you’ll want one that is well-ventilated and big enough for your dog to stand, lay down, and turn around in.
Taking a cat along is a whole new issue. We all know what they are like, open the car door and they might be off and running, so a crate or cage might be a necessity here.
For ultimate protection, or for those with hatchback vehicles, a crash-tested crate is the best choice for safety, especially in crumple zones of the car (such as the back).
Take Extra Cushions
Bringing along your pet’s bed or blanket can give them a better sense of security as well as a softer place to sleep. Pets with arthritis might struggle to get comfortable, especially on bumpy rides. Bringing along something extra plush for them to lay on will provide the shock-absorption their delicate joints need.
Secure Your Windows
When traveling with a dog, windows are always a point of concern. Though we want our dogs to enjoy the breeze and smells out of the window, we don’t want the risk of them leaning out too far or potentially getting struck by flying objects. Window screens are growing in popularity and are great for allowing you to keep your window down without compromising your dogs safety. While you might feel that a window guard makes it safe to leave your dog unattended in your car, this isn’t advised. Remember that vehicles quickly turn into ovens, even on warm days with the windows down.
If you don’t have a window guard or screen, then it’s a good idea to keep windows rolled up three-quarters of the way. If you have a dog that is notorious for jumping up on the door to get a whiff of outside air, you can look into getting a door protector made specifically to protect the sides against scratches or wear and tear.
Make Use of Rest Stops
Dogs need to get out and stretch their legs too, and making frequent stops can go a long way in keeping your pooch more comfortable. Rest stops provide a great place to throw a few rounds of ball to let your dog burn off some energy and enjoy the fresh air. Keep in mind that older dogs may need bathroom breaks more frequently, so you’ll want to accommodate the individual needs of your pets.
Use these tips to make your vehicle a safer and more enjoyable ride for your furry passengers. A comfortable and relaxed pet means a smoother ride for you too.