Summertime is the perfect time to get out and about with your companion animal. There’s absolutely nothing that says “it’s summertime” better than your best fur-friend in your car with you, windows rolled down, tongue lolling out, ears blowing in the breeze. However, if not done properly what starts out as a fun car ride can turn into a tragedy for you AND your fur-kid.
Recently, my friend and colleague who is a funeral home director here in Louisville told me of a tragic accident that involved a woman with her puppy. Apparently the pup was loose in her car and got under the pedals. She needed to slam on her brakes but knew it would kill the puppy. They both died.
Here are 10 tips to help keep you AND your pooch safe while riding together in your vehicle:
- Be sure to keep the dog’s leash firmly in hand when loading and unloading the dog from the car.
- Always keep a current i.d. tag on the pet in case the pet manages to escape. Make sure the collar cannot slip off. Especially when traveling, it’s important that the i.d. tag include an easily
accessible number, such as your cell phone number.
- For safety, do not allow pets to ride in the front seat, no matter how much the pet enjoys it. Pets riding in the front seat can be thrown into the windshield if you have to make a sudden stop. Also, the pet can climb on the driver’s lap, interfere with driving or fall down by the gas and brake pedals, causing an accident.
- Airbags can pose hazards to smaller people and pets. Air bags can launch out of the dashboard at a great enough force to severely injure a pet or small human. Some cars come with on on/off switches for the bags. Visit www.NHTSA.gov for details about switches as well as a list of dealers and repair businesses that install them. FYI, air bags can be deactivated by a car dealer, but this could affect a vehicle warranty or insurance.
- Secure your pet in the car. An unrestrained pet can interfere with driving and become a hazardous projectile in the event of an accident or sudden stop, hitting the windshield, injuring a passenger or knocking the driver over (or out) resulting in loss of control of the car. Crates or sturdy pet carriers are an ideal way to restrain pets in cars. Secure the crate so it does not fly forward or flip in case of a sudden stop or accident.
- If your car does not allow room to set up a crate, obtain a dog seat belt, which doubles as a harness or install a pet barrier to keep dogs in the back seat.
- Look behind you frequently. Tell a dog behaving well that she is good. Reassure a nervous dog that everything is OK.
- Bring a dish and some water since dogs often get thirsty during car rides.
- Keep the windows rolled up high enough so that the dog cannot squeeze out. Dogs can make themselves very skinny in order to escape through a window, even in a moving vehicle.
- When stopping the car, have things organized before opening the door, including stops at gas stations and rest areas. Make sure the dog is still secured. And when taking the dog out of the car, have the leash attached to the dog and in your hand so that the dog cannot escape.
As always, we’ve got your tail covered if you need us! Give us a call at 502-802-5052 for more information about our paw-fect pet sitting, private dog walking and pet taxi services.