Taking the family pet along on a trip to the cottage or other pet-friendly destination goes without saying to many. Just as the days when leaving children unsecured in the car are gone, so should it be with animals. While strapping Rover in using a regular seat belt isn’t going to last very long, you do have alternatives for keeping him safe for the ride. Here are some hints to make your journey comfortable for all involved.

Familiar Smells

Taking a few favourite toys, blanket or other bedding will give your pet a grounding. Some of the excitement of the car ride for your dog or cat may be anxiety or agitation from all the new sights, sounds and smells. Having a few familiar things may help your pet settle.

Watch the Diet

Don’t let your pet fill up before a long trip. A light meal before leaving with a few snacks along the way may help prevent stomach upset resulting from the excitement.

Car Windows

pet in car

While a dog may be the picture of satisfaction with its head out the car window, it’s not safe. Roll the window down just enough to satisfy a pet’s nose, not far enough to make escape possible.

There’s absolutely no allowable time to leave a pet unattended in a parked car. None. If you can’t take your dog or cat with you at all times, they should not be on the trip in the first place. No situation is exempt from this rule.

Animal Carriers

There’s no rule that says life in the car is the same as life at home. Your pet may not get it, but you do and it’s up to you to ensure her safety. Try to match your pet’s temperament to the travel solution, but ultimately protection and safety are more important than short-term comfort. The ideal solution is a roomy, well-ventilated carrier that can be fastened securely in your vehicle. There are specialty cages made specifically for transporting pets, and there are usually ways to secure a carrier using seat belts or tying in to the cargo area. This is a must to prevent the carrier from becoming airborne in case of an accident.

Pet Restraints

Both dogs and cats will wander through the car to explore if left to their own devices. This can lead to distracted driving and hazards if animals get into the driver’s foot space. Pet car safety harnesses Keep the pet in one place with a bit more mobility than a carrier. Some pets will prefer the harness to the cage, while others won’t. Use a harness solution in the back seat. Pets are as vulnerable as small children to air bag discharge.