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How to Safely Travel in Cars with Your Pets

National Pet Travel Safety Day is coming up on January 2! Since pets of all kinds travel on a daily basis in cars and trucks, here are some facts you may not have considered when either going to the store with your dog, or long distance.

Buckle Up: If a car crashes at a speed of just 25mph, an unrestrained dog can be projected forward at a force equal to 40 times its weight. A large dog weighing 75 lbs. can achieve an impact force of 3,000 pounds in a car crash. These facts mean that your dog should be buckled up at all times when in the car. 

No More Lap Dogs: It may look cute when you see a dog on the lap of a driver and the dog has her head out the window, but it is dangerous on many levels. If the driver is in an accident, the dog could be injured by the airbag. These facts mean that your small dog should be harnessed in your car at all times and should never ride on your lap. 

Distracted Driving: Another good reason to harness your pet - you won’t be tempted to look away from the road to make sure he/she isn’t getting into the groceries, chewing something or just getting up to mischief.

Food and drink. Don’t leave home without your dog’s favorite food. A road trip is not the time to switch foods — that could lead to stomach upset and diarrhea. Bring jugs of water and water bowls for the road trip. Don’t rely on their being a convenience store where you could stop to get water for the family; your dog and cat may be thirsty before you find a store. 

Microchip/ID Tags: Make certain your dog or cat is microchipped (and if they are, that your contact information is current). If you don’t want to microchip your pet, make sure they wear a collar and a tag with your current contact information on it.

Don’t buckle the animal’s crate with the seat belts: While it may seem a no-brainer to secure your dog’s crate while in the car with a seat belt, don’t do it unless your crate is specifically designed to withstand damage to its structure – the carrier can actually be crushed in the event of an accident. Place the crate behind one of the seats on the floor, or on the seat itself.