Road Trip Safety For Pets

By: Pam Wiese Email
By: Pam Wiese Email

Summer vacation often means a road trip and if your pet is along for the ride it might be a good time to brush up on travel safety.

According to Triple-A, unrestrained pets cause more than 30,000 accidents annually. With some six million Americans estimated to take pets on road trips this year, it's a good idea to talk travel safety.

While dogs want to be free, keeping them in place keeps them and you much safer. Remember that in an accident, everything not attached or restrained becomes a flying object that can smack or crush you and that includes pets. Unrestrained dogs can also be a distraction.

By far the safest mode of auto travel for a pet is inside a travel crate that is anchored in the vehicle. If your dog is too big or really hates being crated, then harnesses with a seat belt attachment that will keep him or her tethered. Don't use the seat belt attachment with a dollar. You can choke or strangle a pet.

If he or she gator rolls and hates leashes, then dog gates that work on tension and can pop in and out of your SUV cargo area are an option. These will keep a pet from distracting you, but it doesn’t provide the protection of a crate.

Even if your pet is well behaved, riding on your lap is not safe. It will slow your reaction time in an emergency and if he or she bolts out of the vehicle after a crash, they can be hit by other vehicles.

Other options include pet hammocks that hang from the back of your front seats. They are flexible and make it nearly impossible for dogs to get into the front seat. Elevated dog seats that attach in the vehicle offer small dogs a chance to be restrained and still see out window, but veterinarians warn that hanging heads out of windows can result in eye injuries to your best friend and always make sure your pet travels with tags in the event that there is an accident.

You wouldn't let a member of the family dive from the front seat to the back seat, hang their head out a window or climb all over your lap while you try to drive, would you? Don't let your canine do it either.

The Nebraska Humane Society at 8929 Fort Street in Omaha is open weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can always look up animals and find information at

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