Pet Safety Travel Tips
To most pet owners, keeping their pets happy and healthy is their primary goal. But many are putting their pets in harm’s way without even realizing it! Unknowingly, many pet owners put their pets in danger when they place them into their vehicles to transport without giving them proper protection to ensure a safe and comfortable ride.
Things To Do:
- Keep them secured – You wouldn’t let your kids ride in your vehicle unsecured with a seat belt or car seat, so why would you let dogs or cats? When pets are involved in vehicular accidents where they are not restrained, they can suffer serious injuries such as broken bones, internal injuries or severe trauma. Additionally, pets can become disoriented and afraid after a collision and run away from the scene of the crash. Not only does this increase their chance of becoming lost in an unknown area, but it also prevents them from receiving medical attention that might be needed as quickly as they should.
- Use a restraining device – There are many ways to keep your pet safely restrained in a moving car, van, truck or SUV. Be sure to find the one that works best for you and your pet. A crate that has been safely secured to avoid shifting or sliding is one way to keep your pet safe. It should be large enough for your pet to sit, stand, turn around or lie down. A similar option for smaller dogs under 20 pounds or cats would be a pet carrier or a pet seat. These devices can be secured by a seatbelt to keep them safe and an added bonus is they can be used as a carrier when you reach your destination. Likewise, a harness designed and approved to be used in vehicles, used in tandem with a pet seat belt, can keep them safe. Just use caution when purchasing them as there are no government standards or testing in place to regulate their safety.
- Keep a blanket to dry them or to wipe burrs/prickers off their fur – After Spot or Fido is done with their romp through the woods, whether in the summer or wintertime, it’s always a good idea to have a towel on hand to dry off their paws and pads as well as to wipe off any prickers or burrs that may have hitched a ride along with your pet.
- Bring supplies – Chances are, when you head out the door, you grab a coffee or water for your travels. Don’t forget to do the same for your pooch! Whether you are traveling with your dog or cat, it’s important to bring along some staples to keep them happy and safe on a longer trip. These should include a bowl, bottled water, food, a favorite toy to chew or play with on the way and a pillow/blanket to make them feel more secure.
- Own a safe vehicle – Although they may seem like it from the outside, not all cars, trucks, SUVs or minivans are created equal! Before buying your next one, be sure to investigate your prospective choices’ safety rating and reliability track record. Not only will this save you from needless risk and frustration, but it will also help keep your pet out of harm’s way while they are riding in this vehicle with you on the road.
Things Not To Do:
- Leave your pet unattended – With temperatures dropping in the winter time to freezing levels in Grand Rapids, your pet can experience hypothermia and possibly death when left in frigid temperatures too long. Even with fur, your pet cannot withstand extremely low temperatures. In times of heat, it does not take long for your vehicle to become a furnace causing animals to overheat and even die from heatstroke. Even with windows cracked, it’s far too easy for animals to suffer needlessly from getting too hot. Play it smart and avoid any risk to your beloved pet and forego leaving them unattended, even for short periods of time.
- Feed carelessly – It may seem like a good idea at the time, but making sure your pet has a full belly before embarking on a road trip can have negative effects. Not only will this increase their risk of having a bathroom accident while in your SUV, van, car or truck, but it can also increase the likelihood of them becoming nauseated and sick inside your vehicle. Not a good look for your car’s interior! To avoid any of these unpleasantries, try feeding your pet 3 to 4 hours before rides in the car and never feed your pet while in a moving vehicle.
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