How to keep safe when driving with pets

Posted by: Cal on 11/11/2013

Category: General

Animal owners will be well aware of the challenges of travelling with pets. Whether it's encouraging your cat to get into the carrier or stopping your dog from barking while driving, many issues can arise when you're transporting your furry friend from A to B.

One safety issue concerns animals distracting the driver. Unrestrained animals left to roam freely around your vehicle can cause chaos as you try to control both them and your vehicle.

Special pet seatbelts are available to remedy this, along with crates or sturdy pet carriers. These are especially effective at restraining cats when travelling. It's a good idea to secure the crate or carrier in the car so it doesn't shift about as you drive or when you stop.

If you've got a larger animal like a dog, you can use barriers to keep dogs in the back seat. 

Animals shouldn't be unrestrained in the front seat as they can be extra distracting here, and can be thrown into the windshield if the vehicle stops suddenly.

If your pet hasn't travelled in a car before, it's a good idea to do a few short practice drives before taking them on long distance trips. This will familiarise them the car and the sensation of driving, and it will help you determine if they suffer from motion sickness or anxiety. If this is the case, you can talk to your vet about medications
If you use a crate or carrier, leave it around the house for a few days for the trip so your animal becomes accustomed to it.

Make sure you're prepared for a trip with your pet by bringing plenty of water, snacks and play toys to keep them fed and entertained. Schedule bathroom breaks for both you and your pet and allow them to stretch their legs with short walks.

While the sight of dogs with their heads hanging out the window and ears flapping in the window is a joyous one indeed, it comes with potential hazards. Debris from the road can flick up and hit your pet, so it's best to keep windows only slightly wound down.

Finally, make sure your car is up to scratch before travelling with your precious cargo. Inspect your car tyres, make sure you have enough fuel and water and keep your windscreen squeaky clean to minimise your risk of accidents.