Women Drivers Blog

Have Dog, Will Travel…Safely

November 2, 2010 / 

Whether it’s a weekend getaway or just driving around to run your daily errands, an increasing number of pet owners are opting not to leave their other family member at home alone. Pets live in more than 60 percent of American households, and almost 80% of families with children have pets. But perhaps it’s time for a review of safety tips and innovative products to help you make the journey safer for all.

Pet-friendly car travel is a surging trend in the auto industry, and the right gear and new vehicle modifications offer pet owners plenty of options, so there’s no more excuse for unsafe and reckless pet travel.   

It’s Time for Safer Pet Travel

Perhaps you already take your dog in the car but are in the habit of letting “Rover” roam freely in the back. It’s time to incorporate the same precautions for our pets that we give to buckling up our children during car travel. The top danger is driving with unrestrained pets, and this should be your main consideration when choosing to bring along your canine companion. A dog roaming freely in the car is a safety hazard to everyone, causing distractions to the driver and potentially being catapulted forward with braking.

Pet Travel Products

It just makes sense to ensure your pet is secure in a moving vehicle.  We’re spoiled for choice with today’s array of safety products for pets of all sizes:

  • Travel Booster Seats: Yes, booster seats aren’t just for babies anymore, and the creative designs of restraining pet seats will allow a comfortable and safe ride for smaller dogs, either in the front or back by connecting to the seat belt.  
  • Travel Barriers: Great for larger dogs or more than one, to separate the back and front of the vehicle.  As a nylon mesh style, metal or steel, barriers are fitted for small cars, mini and full size vans, and SUV’s.  By creating a safe area in the back, it keeps your dog safely restrained yet comfortable to move and stretch.
  • Travel Crates and Carriers: Ideal for small dogs, puppies and cats, there are many styles and sizes to safely transport your pet.  Many are foldable and easily assembled, for easy storage.
  • Safety Car Harness: You strap you and your family in; why not the dog?  Today’s dog seat belts are designed with comfort and safety in mind, and are handy for larger dogs who like to sit or stand.  Check to see if the seat buckle has been strength tested and better yet, crash tested, for quality assurance.
  • Other handy items include window screens to prevent dogs from jumping out open windows, travel water bowls, seat covers and cargo liners and door bibs.

 Pet Friendly Vehicles

Some technology and safety features that make a car ‘pet-friendly’ include:

  • Rear assist camera and back up warning signals
  • Dual and three way temperature control
  • Roomier cargo space in rear
  • Cargo dividers act as a barrier
  • Tether and anchors in the back seats
  • Full length vehicle side curtain air bags
  • Fold flat rear seats

Being safety smart on the road is part of being a responsible pet owner. Be informed and make the most of all that’s available for a pet-safe vehicle, and enjoy the ride.