For many people pets are members of their families, so they go everywhere with the owners. From time to time you can see a small dog or a cat on driver’s lap, because they are good friends and want to be together everywhere. While this scene might look cute, there are some safety rules that have to be kept, if the driver does not want to be fined and present danger on the road.
“So, should the pet just run around the vehicle being loose,” the driver will ask. Definitely not, because in this case it presents distraction and danger too. If the vehicle will be turned suddenly, the animal might get hurt itself or hurt other passengers. A pet travel safety company, Bark Buckle Up, says that even a 15-pound pet causes a lot of damage at a minor crash at 35-miles-per-hour. An animal has to be restrained just like any human in a vehicle.
Pets can travel either in a special carrier or being harnessed. The carriers are usually required for smaller animals like cats which cannot be buckled-up. The carriers should be big enough to allow them sitting or lying down. There are certain conditions for the carriers required by the Humane Society of the United States: it should be a carrier with smooth edges, opaque sides, a grille door, and ventilation holes on four sides. To prevent it from sliding, the driver should secure the carrier with a seatbelt or set it in the cargo area of an SUV or a van. It is not advised to put the pet in a trunk of a car, because the air circulation there is limited.
Almost all dogs can travel with harnesses, but it depends on each specific animal, whether it will tolerate it. Usually pet stores have a great variety of harnesses which can be adjusted by size to fit the chest and shoulders smoothly. It is important to restrain a pet securely: the animal should sit comfortably on its seat and should not be restrained by the collar, because there is a risk of choking. Some pet owners might choose harnesses with a short leash which is hooked in the cargo area and gives more freedom to the dog.
Special car seats elevate the pets and help them see what is going on outside. They are designed for small and medium dogs and should be buckled to the center console between the front seats of on the rear seat.
When the driver and passengers leave the vehicle, the pet should not be left alone in it for any period of time: either one minute or an hour. According to the Federal Emergency Management Association, the temperature in a parked auto can quickly reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which is dangerous for any living being. Some owners have a habit of leaving the pet with windows cracked open, but this does not usually give much relief: poor air circulation and high temperature cause heatstroke, brain damage and suffocation.
Many communities welcome pets and arrange pet-friendly places. In every town there should be outdoor shopping malls and outdoor cafes where people can come with animals. If the area is unfamiliar, it is easy to ask any local people for help in finding a place like this. Such websites are a really good resource for finding pet-friendly hotels, restaurants or any other places where travelers could stop.
Before taking a long trip, pet-owners should make sure that the animal has had the most recent shots. If the trip is taken to other state or country, it is recommended to check the hosting state requirements for pets. The animal should be made comfortable with a favorite toy or blanket on a long drive and it is good to make frequent stops from time to time which will let both the driver and the pet to “stretch the muscles”, use a restroom, have a snack or satisfy any other needs.