Tips for Traveling Safely With Pets

By Jen Burklow  on June 23, 2014

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June is National Safety Month and the unofficial start of summer road-trip season. For many of us traveling means bringing pets along too; unfortunately, our furry companions can be driving distractions.

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A 2011 online survey of 1,000 dog owners by AAA and Kurgo, a manufacturer of pet travel products, revealed 84 percent of respondents allowed their dogs to travel unrestrained in their vehicles; 65 percent admitted to engaging in distracting activities with their dog while driving.

In addition to being a distraction or becoming a projectile in a crash (at a driving speed of 35 mph, a 60-pound unrestrained dog can become a projectile exerting 2,700 pounds of pressure), an unrestrained pet is likely to be thrown into traffic following an accident - often leading to a lost pet, severe injury or death.

Before you head out on a summer road trip with your dog, along with restraining Fido, remember these travel dos and don'ts:

  • Put small pet carriers on the floor between the front and rear seats, only secure with a seat belt if they were designed for use with seat belts.
  • Don't put a pet carrier on the front passenger seat; airbags could crush it during an accident.
  • Don't leave a pet in a parked vehicle in the heat, even with windows cracked; heat stroke can be deadly and can happen in minutes.
  • Microchip your pet and have a tag with your information, including cellphone number, on all collars.
  • Carry vaccination/health records in case of an emergency.
  • Have a pet first-aid kit.
  • Bring an in-car litter box for cats on long road trips.
  • Locate a veterinarian near your destination(s).

Cars.com photo by Jen Burklow 


Copy Editor Jen Burklow is a dog lover; she carts her pack of three to canine events in her 2004 GMC Safari and 2014 Kia Sportage.  Email Jen


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