Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Keep Your Pets Safe While Traveling

I am a huge advocate of safety for pets when traveling in the car.

About 6 years ago, my wonderful Shiba Inu, Sushi, and I were leaving the dog park. We had just spent about an hour there to let Sushi burn off some energy. We had a lot of fun, and it was time to go.

The street we needed to turn left onto was quite busy, so I decided to turn right which would take just a few more minutes to get home. Well, it was about 2 hours before we got home. An oncoming car lost control and not only hit into us head on, but also into the driver's side. I remember thinking we might die, then I heard Sushi scream. It was quiet. When I opened my eyes, my first concern was Sushi. We've always used either a crate or buckle him in the backseat using his 3-in-1 Vest Harness. This time he had the harness. I managed to get out of the car and checked on Sushi - he was scared, but physically seemed ok. He was still buckled in.

Our car was totalled. Even though I had been wearing my seatbelt, I had 7 months of physio. Sushi was afraid to go in a car for a few months, but otherwise he was perfectly fine. That seatbelt harness saved him from possible injury or worse, death. It also prevented him (20 lbs) from being thrown against me.

There are many options when it comes to taking your dog (or cats) in the car, and keeping them safe. Some car companies often sell barriers to fit into your car. There are a variety of seatbelt options as well.

Please, if you love your pets, find the safest way to travel with your pets in the car. The crate is probably the safest, in my opinion, especially for cats! If you choose to use a crate, place it in the backseat facing the back of the passenger seat. Move the passenger seat back just enough so the crate is snug. If it is a small crate, you should be able to use the car seatbelt to put through the crate's handle.

Never ever travel with your pet loose in your car. You never know what could happen. Do not allow your pets to ride in the front seat. You don't allow small children, so why should your pets? I have seen a small dog, who was wearing a cheap seatbelt type of harness, get so excited to see the dog park, that it jumped out of the rolled down window. Luckily, the car was not moving very fast, and the dog was ok.

Also, as much as dogs love to stick their noses out the window, do not allow this. A loose object could actually hit them and depending on what the object is, how fast you are driving, etc...this could really injure your dog.

As Sushi liks to say....BUCKLE UP DAWGS! (and cats).



  1. Crate is not necessarily safer. If a car is compacted somewhat in a crash, the crate may buckle and make retrieving the dog difficult. My fireman friend told me this - he said harnesses which are properly crash tested and fitted make it easier for the dog to be rescued should emergency services be involved.

  2. Thanks for that info, Pat! The more pet owners know, the better.