Summertime brings about opportunities for pets, especially dogs, to ride in the car with their owners. It is important to keep all passengers, including children and pets, safe in the car.

Some states have laws that require your pets to be restrained. For example, New Jersey requires pets to be in a restraint or carrier in the car. According to Megan Blake, The Pet Lifestyle Coach, “unrestrained pets in cars pose serious potential risks, including becoming a major distraction to drivers. Unrestrained pets can easily be seriously injured, killed or even lost after being thrown from a car.”

Megan goes on to say that “dogs, like children, should never be allowed to ride with their heads out the windows. Flying debris, including bugs, could harm them, and their lungs or ears could be injured from high-speed wind.”

Here are some tips to keep summer fun and safe with your pets and children:

  1. Start your trip with GPS and music set; phone stowed. Keep children and pets content by bringing along a favorite toy, treat, or blanket.
  2. Understand the laws for passenger restraint. Both child and pet passengers require special attention. No passengers belong on a lap or in the bed of a pick-up truck.
  3. Make sure that heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system of your vehicle is in good condition before your trip begins.
  4. Make it a point to pull over if a child or pet needs attention.
  5. Pack snacks and drinks for everyone, including pets, for convenience. Pull over to eat.
  6. Remove loose objects from your vehicle, as they can become projectiles in a crash, causing injury to people or pets. In the event of a crash, unsecured pets may become frightened and jump from open windows.
  7. Forbid paws and heads from being out the window. They could be injured by flying debris.
  8. Never leave children or pets in cars alone for any period of time.

Additionally, here are the top five “what to pack for pet travel tips”:

  1. A blanket or towel that your pet has slept on so it smells like home, and a t-shirt or sock that you have worn so it smells like you. These will be good “security blankets” for your pet.
  2. A collapsible water bowl that can be folded into a pocket or purse for easy carrying.
  3. Your pet’s own food. Bring enough for the whole trip so you’re not caught in a situation where you have to switch to a different brand mid-trip.
  4. Your pet’s medicines and medical shot records.
  5. Any other accessories your pet may need, such as life jackets, sweaters, protective boots, pet sunscreen, and toys.

Following these tips could help you and your passengers have a safer trip. Your passengers (both humans and pets) will be grateful that you took extra steps to ensure their safety.


Source: “Driving Safely with Pets” by Staff Writer at State Farm