How to Drive Safely with Your Pet

It’s kind of iconic Americana: the picture of a dog with its tongue out, hanging out a car window, isn’t it? How do you drive safely with your pet dog?

For starters, if you can get your dog to associate car rides with pleasure, that’s great. Therefore, a car ride shouldn’t just be for going to the vet to get a shot. When possible, consider taking your dog in the car to a dog park, the beach, or somewhere else he’ll/she’ll likely have a great time.

Next, anytime you can enlist the help of friends or family with transporting your pet dog, do it. For instance, a responsible friend could cradle the dog in their arms, cuddling them, putting them at ease in your car while you’re driving. That’s a nice thing, right?

Oftentimes, people don’t have the luxury of having help with their dog, so in that case, it’s probably best to put the dog in a secure cage in the back where they won’t escape and hurt themselves– or cause you to swerve and crash. In the cage– or “crate” which sounds nicer– include the dog’s bedding as well as toys. Anything you can do to make your dog feel “at home” and comfy for the car ride is worth doing. Dogs do love routine.

If you’re driving a car you should not have your dog in the front seat or your lap. That’s just not safe. Indeed, you’ll want to keep dogs away from airbag areas, too.

Keep in mind that dogs don’t do well in hot cars, so even if the windows are cracked open, there’s a good chance that the temperature inside the car is hot enough to cause your dog pain or even death. Obviously, don’t leave your dog unattended in a hot car for long periods of time. The same goes for when it’s freezing cold outside.

It gets tricky with letting a dog enjoy holding their head out open car windows. What if a pebble comes along and hits them in the eye? What if they fall out of the moving vehicle– or jump out onto oncoming traffic? For safety’s sake, don’t let your dog so this.

Drivers need to drive. They don’t need to fuss with a dog underneath them near the pedals. They don’t need distractions. Therefore, dogs, like kids, need to be secured with some sort of restraint. This could mean they’re held by someone else in the backseat or put in a “crate” so they’re contained. By the way, dog seat belts are a thing– look for them in stores or online.

The more mindful you are of your pet dog’s safety while traveling, the more safe both you and your dog will be.

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