Safety Tips to Keep Pets Secure on a Road Trip
By Philly Murtha, May 02, 2018
As summer approaches, families begin to plan camping trips, off-road adventures, and ocean or mountain getaways with children and/or pets in their SUV or minivan. Some automakers, including Subaru, have partnered with the Center for Pet Safety to develop safe-travel guidelines for pet owners as road trip season begins. Volvo even features pet-safety accessories, including dog harnesses, gates, and load compartment dividers.
- If a pet is less than 20 lbs., the safest travel option is to secure a carrier or crate in the second or third row of a vehicle. Crates for pets should be large enough for the animal to sit, stand, lie down, and turn around.
- Larger pets, over 20 lbs., also must be secured in a pet harness that attaches to a seat belt, and they should travel in the second or third row of a vehicle. Pets should not sit unharnessed on the vehicle floor as they can still be thrown forward in a crash, injuring themselves and passengers.
- If a vehicle has 3 rows of seats, it’s best to secure children in the second row and place pets in the third row. A family with one child should secure the child on the left or right side of the second row and place the pet behind on the opposite side from where the child is seated.
- The ASPCA advises to make sure a pet is microchipped and registered for easy identification and wears a collar with name and family contact info.
- If traveling across state lines, take along the pet’s latest health report including rabies vaccination record.
- A pet-friendly travel kit is useful. The ASPCA says to include a bowl, pet food, plastic bags and scoop, grooming supplies, and animal health documents. On trips, it’s suggested to give pets bottled water, so they don’t get an upset stomach.
- Never leave a pet unattended in a parked vehicle—even with open windows—as vehicle cabin temperatures, especially during summer months, can become extremely hot.