We all need to be aware of car safety — whether we are travelling alone, with children or with other adult passengers. It is important to be safe when travelling in a vehicle and the need to be conscious of safety applies to pets as much as it applies to humans. Some people put an animal in a vehicle and assume it will be fine; while many animals are unperturbed by travelling in a moving vehicle, others do not travel so well and still others really do need to be restrained.
Keep your pet safe, keep yourself safe
Of course, one of the most important reasons to be aware of safety precautions for your animal is to protect their health and well-being. It makes a lot of sense that we should focus on this when an animal is travelling in a vehicle when so many of us invest in pet insurance to protect our animals in so many other situations.
Keeping a pet safe in your car also helps to keep you safe. Unrestrained pets represent a driving hazard and can be dangerous to you, others in your car and themselves. In fact, some car insurance companies may query your claim should you be involved in an accident and have an unrestrained animal in your car. When inadequately restrained in a vehicle, pets can take your attention away from the road and be seriously injured in an accident.
So, how can you help to ensure your pet’s safety in your vehicle?
- Always travel with your pet restrained in a rear seat of the car. Pet harnesses and pet carriers that can be secured by a seat belt should be used. Pets should travel in the back because airbags that are deployed in the front seat could cause harm to your pet, while pets that are not restrained in any way are likely to be thrown around, cause injury to others or be injured themselves if a collision occurs or there is a need to brake suddenly.
- Invest in a pet harness that is made from strong, soft nylon webbing and is effective in restraining your pet around its body and neck. The harness will not prevent your pet from laying down, standing up or sitting down, but it will ensure they are safely restrained as you travel.
- Sometimes pets do not like travelling in vehicles such as cars. They can become very upset and try to claw at you or claw their way out of the car. At worst, they have been known to crawl under driving pedals. Cats should always be caged and the cage should be placed on the floor in the rear of the vehicle.
- Dogs should not be allowed to hang their heads outside of windows. Yes, dogs love to do this but they are susceptible to eye damage resulting from dirt and dust flying past.
- Smoking in the car should also be avoided. Sitting in a smoky car can make a human feel ill and a similar effect is often experienced by animals.
- As much as you love them, your dog or cat should not be allowed to sit on your lap while you are driving. Your ability to manoeuvre around your pet will be hampered in a situation of panic where you need to respond quickly.
- Under no circumstances should a pet be left inside a car on a very hot or very cold day. Sadly, far too many animals die in this way every year.
- It is dangerous for an animal to run free in the back of a ute or other type of open-top vehicle. This is a leading cause of death for animals in road accidents. Pets should be caged if they really must travel in the back of such a vehicle and the cage should be tied down to prevent it from moving.
Pets need to travel safely in cars and other vehicles. When a pet travels safety, they, your other passengers and you are best protected from harm.