Happy Dog in Car Backseat

Driving Safely With Pets

There are a number of reasons why you may need to take your pet for a ride in your car. You could be going on vacation, taking the pet to the vet or simply going for a short ride to run errands. However, failing to take the proper precautions to secure pets during car rides can jeopardize the well-being of both animals and passengers alike. To ensure your pets are safe during car rides, keep in mind the following:

  • Keep dogs and cats in carriers when possible. When pets are allowed to roam around a vehicle, they can distract drivers and potentially cause an accident. Carriers should have secure doors and latches. They should also be comfortable and well ventilated to ensure pets have a safe and stress-free ride.
  • Avoid leaving pets alone in cars for any length of time. Temperatures inside a vehicle can rise quickly, which can put your pet’s health at risk.
  • Keep your pet comfortable. For long trips, bring along their favorite toys, water and some small snacks. This can help reduce stress and make the ride more enjoyable for everyone.
  • Remove any loose objects from the car, if possible. Following a crash, these objects can become dangerous projectiles.

Other considerations and warnings
Above all, it’s important to understand and follow any relevant laws related to driving with pets. Check with your local department of motor vehicles or veterinary office to learn more. If you transport a pet in your vehicle, it’s critical to know the specific dog restraint laws that are enforced in your state. It's also very important to be aware of the laws of other states in which you drive. If it's a longer trip, be aware that when crossing state lines with animals, you’may be required to carry a certificate of veterinary inspection. If you don’t have your pet’s updated health certificate, you could be breaking the law. Also, no matter how good of a driver you are,  accidents can happen.  Drivers who are distracted by animals, resulting in crashes, can be held responsible for injuries, besides property damage.