How Safe is your Pet in the Car?

Posted by Motorama in Motoring Tips

We all want to bring our four legged friend with us while travelling, but do you know how to properly care for your pet while it is in the car with you?

We have put together some of the best tips on how to keep you and your pet safe during car travel, this is something every pet owner should read.

1. Has your pet travelled with you before?

It is important to familiarise your pet with what it is like to travel in the car, a few times before the big day. That way, after some small trips around your local area, they know what to expect when going for the long drive. 

Don’t forget they can be quite nervous about travelling too! Be sure to give them a good walk before you take them with you for a long trip in the car. It will burn up some of their energy and encourage them to sleep for (at least part of) the journey, which should make it more comfortable for both of you.

2. Safety First!

How is your pet travelling, First Class, Economy? No, seriously, do you know what kind of arrangement your pet likes? Whether they prefer a crate or a special pet seatbelt? 

Your pet will have preferences too (although small dogs and cats are generally quite comfortable in a pet crate and larger animals like the freedom of a pet blanket or seatbelt), so leave a crate at home for a few days prior and familiarise them with it so see whether they like the feel of it or not. 

Be sure not to force them into it or out of it as it can have negative effects towards their take on the device. Then secure them inside and go for a stroll with it in your hands so they can get a feel for what it is like to be inside while moving.

A pet crate needs to be large enough for your animal to stand, sit, lay down and turn around. A dog seatbelt or blanket are better for larger dogs as they allow for more freedom. 

There are a huge range of pet accessories for car travel online and some of them are pretty cool, so be sure to put utilise the web when planning how your pet will travel during the trip.

Whatever the device, please ensure your pet is safe and secure and won’t move when you apply the brakes, just like you have a seatbelt, they deserve a safe journey too!

3. To Feed Or Not To Feed, That Is The Question.

You might be able to visualise what a carsick animal with a full stomach is capable of… We would prefer not to put a picture of it to be frank. So to avoid such a mess in your car and to keep your furry friend happy, it is recommended that pets are not fed in the car and only a minimal amount of food during rest stops. 

For the best outcome, feed your pet three to four hours before the trip so that the food is well digested by the time of travel. 

Also, be sure to stock up on your pets favourite food prior to travel as leaving it to the destination to buy food can be a bad idea. If you don’t know whether the destination stocks it or not, bring it with you as the last thing you want to do is introduce them to new food while travelling.

4. Rest Stop Ahead

Take some time out of the journey to stop for breaks every now and then. There is nothing a pooch or feline friend probably wants more than a good stretch of the legs and breath of fresh air after a couple of hours on the road!

Ensure that your pet is on a leash as animals can act unpredictable in unfamiliar environments, but a good sniff and walk around should keep them calm. A bathroom break, light snack, drink of water (it is recommended to bring bottled water or tap water from home as pets can sometimes get an upset stomach from water they aren’t used to) and a nice stretch of the legs should be enough to keep both of you happy and refreshed. 

After their snack, be sure to stick around until the food has started to digest, walking your pet is a good way to start digestion, burn off excess energy and tire them out a bit which should encourage them to take a nice long nap.

5. Are We There Yet?

Almost, but there are a few more points to cover. 

Since your pet is likely to be in the car for a while, doing unfamiliar things, be sure to include their favourite toy or blanket in their mode of transport. Just a little bit of home is all they need to relax them while travelling. Give them a treat or two as a reward for good behaviour when you arrive. 

When you do reach the end of your trip, be sure to take your furry friend for a good long walk. You’ll probably enjoy it too, given how long the drive to get there was!

6. The Don’ts And The Don’ts…

Please don’t leave your pet in the car unattended, temperatures can rise very quickly in the car even though the windows may be open. 

Also, be sure NEVER to take them in the back of a ute or truck, they are actually safer in the front with you than if they are restrained in the tray, not to mention the tray can get really hot on their paws! 

Again don’t travel with them in the back of the ute or truck for the same reason they can’t hang their heads out of the window. Apart from flying debris, the wind can have adverse effects on the eardrums and lungs of dogs and cats when travelling at highway speeds, which can make your best mate sick as well as premature deafness.

7. The Do’s!

Bring a copy of your pet’s medical record and vet’s details just in case something goes wrong on your journey. Also bring a current picture and attach a temporary tag which provides additional details about your place of residence while you’re with them and additional contact numbers, in case your pet decides to explore without you.

This will help ensure a return. Have you packed your first aid kit? Your pet should have one too, just in case of an injury.

With these tips in mind, your road trip with your pet should be a breeze! Good luck and safe driving.