Safely Transporting Your Pets
Updated: Jan 30
Golden Hammer Collision Center wants you to keep your furry friends safe! Here are some tips when transporting pets in your vehicle (statistical credit from CarWise)
Over forty million American homes have a dog, and many drivers like to take their 4-legged friends along when traveling on vacation, to the store or local park. Unfortunately, most pet owners don’t take the necessary safety precautions when transporting their doggos, which sometimes leads to distracted driving accidents. Most of these crashes are avoidable, and some are fatal. To keep you and your loveable pet safer when riding around in the car, use these safe driving tips from the experts.
Distracted Driving Includes Pets
Petting your dog while operating a vehicle constitutes distracted driving, as does letting them sit on your lap. Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) doesn’t compile specific pet-related distracted-driving crash statistics, they have been lumped in with these general distraction-affected accident figures from 2017:
Over 3,000 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. 9% of all traffic accident fatalities involve distracted drivers. 6% of all drivers involved in fatal accidents were reported as being distracted at the time of the accident. Nearly 600 non-vehicle occupants (bicyclists, skateboarders, pedestrians, etc.) were killed by distracted drivers.
Bad Driving Behaviors Dog Owners Use In Their Car
According to dog owner surveys, many drivers openly admit that they practice these unsafe driving behaviors while driving their pets around:
Not using proper pet safety restraints (84%) Getting distracted by their pet (60%) Petting their dog while driving (52%) Allowing their dog to sit on their lap (17%) Giving their pet a treat while driving (13%)
Considering that millions of drivers own dogs, these statistics are quite concerning.
How To Transport Your Dog Safely From Vehicle Stuffed Roads
So that your trip will be safer for all parties involved, including bicyclists, fellow motorists, and pedestrians, always use these tips when transporting your dog:
USE CAR RESTRAINTS
Before hitting the road, make sure that your pet has a safe, secure and comfortable place to ride. Here are some ways to ‘use restraint’ while driving:
Dog barrier. These resemble gates, are adjustable and available to fit most vehicle models. Even when using a dog barrier your pet can still see you for reassurance. Crate or carrier. Depending on the animal’s size, find a well-ventilated carrier or crate that gives them plenty of room to sit, stand, lie down or move. Then secure the crate itself so it doesn’t move around, especially if you get rear-ended. Harness. These attach to your car’s seatbelts and are essentially safety restraints. Just like small children in car seats, make sure to harness your dog in the back seat for added safety and security.
HEADS BELONG INSIDE VEHICLES
You wouldn’t allow a small child to ride with their head out the window, so why let your dog? That’s just asking for trouble - their loveable face could hit a solid object at high speed. Thousands of dogs are also injured or killed every year when falling out of windows or pickup truck beds, so don’t let your furry friend ride there either.
PACK A TRAVEL KIT FOR YOUR CAR
Never leave your pet unattended in the car for more than a few minutes, and on longer road trips always pack them a travel kit that includes:
Bowl, leash and bottled water, their medications, vaccination records (When crossing state lines), food and doggie treats, grooming supplies
WHEN DRIVING, ADDRESS ‘TRAVEL ANXIETY’
Signs of pet travel anxiety include loud barking, excessive panting and nervous pacing. If not addressed, travel anxiety can progress into a full-blown panic, so talk to your vet about safe ways to manage travel it.