Pet Safety in Vehicles

Three cheers for the State of New Jersey: they are the first state to take pet safety in vehicles seriously by enforcing laws that require pets to be properly restrained in vehicles. On a side note, they are also proposing laws to prevent people from eating while driving — not to mention putting on makeup!

Practicing pet safety is, in fact, ensuring that all your passengers as well as the driver are safe in a vehicle. Think about it: if you have an unrestrained dog “riding shotgun” or even sitting on the back seat and you suddenly have to apply brakes, your pet instantly “converts” into a projectile. As a result, he can smash through the windshield, causing an accident and injuries not only to others in the vehicle, but passersby or occupants in other vehicles as well.

There is no excuse not to restrain your dog because there are so many options available. A harness that works in conjunction with a seat belt is something that works for dogs of all sizes. For the first time, harness manufacturers are now focusing on the strength of their products and having them tested to see how they withstand force in a crash situation. So be sure to read up on your harness options before purchasing.

Another option for the backseat and cargo area of a SUV is a zip line that can be attached to a leash. While not offering the same protection, it will at least stop your dog from coming forward to the front of the car and distracting the driver.

Cats should never be allowed to roam loose in a vehicle. The safest way for your cat to travel is in a carrier. And, in turn, that carrier must either be restrained using a seat belt or placed on the floor of the back passenger area so that should you brake, the carrier is not able to fly forward with terrible consequences.

I believe that all pets should be microchipped for their safety and information kept up-to-date in the relevant database. But a collar with an ID tag is also great backup. Statistics gathered by pet microchipping agencies indicate that one in three pets will get lost in its lifetime. Once again, proper ID, especially if you are traveling, is a lost pet’s ticket home!

Editor’s Note: Your pet’s safety is very important to us. Share pictures of your pet riding safely in the car. Just post them to our Facebook page: Pet Health Central.


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