Whether you are going for a short drive or a long trip, it is important to properly secure your pets and keep your vehicle maintained properly to prevent injuries in accidents.
Unrestrained pets can be a distraction for the driver and can contribute to a collision. In the event of a crash, a pet that is not secured properly can be thrown around or ejected from the car. This can cause serious injuries not only to your pet, but also to the human occupants of the vehicle.
By taking basic precautions and using the appropriate vehicle safety restraints, you could protect yourself and your pet from harm.
Where Is the Safest Location for My Dog or Cat in the Car?
Some people choose to drive with their pets in the front seat of the car, including in the lap of the driver. This is a very dangerous practice. Instead, you should always secure your pet in the back seat, where they will be less of a distraction.
A secured pet in the back seat of a vehicle will not be able to climb into your lap while you’re driving, and you will not be tempted to pet them.
Pets in the back seat will be better protected in the event of a car accident because there is less of a risk of them being thrown from the vehicle. Also, the airbags in the front of vehicles are designed for humans, not pets. There is an increased risk of injury to pets that are in the front seat if the airbag deploys in a collision.
Best Pet Auto Safety Equipment
With a little investment, you can ensure your pet’s safety in the vehicle. The two main types of vehicle restraints for pets that are recommended by the Center for Pet Safety are harnesses and crates.
- Harnesses – In-car harnesses allow you to use the vehicle’s seatbelt to secure your pet. If using a seatbelt, be sure to attach it to a harness, not the pet’s collar. Securing the seatbelt to your pet’s collar can injure their neck and throat in the event of a sudden stop. A harness placed around their chest will provide the proper protection and can save their life. If you have a small pet, it may be better to also buy a booster seat. Booster seats are designed to raise the animal to the right height for the harness and seatbelt to fit correctly.
- Crates – Crates will keep pets from roaming around inside the vehicle and will prevent them from being thrown from the vehicle in an accident. The crate or small pet carrier should be secured in the car to protect your pet and prevent the crate itself from becoming a projectile.
Be sure to select a safety system that best suits your pet’s age and size. Cats and puppies, naturally, are easier to transport in small carriers or crates, while medium-sized dogs may be better protected in a seatbelt-harness type of restraint. Regardless of what restraint system you purchase, read the installation instructions thoroughly before use.