Planes, Trains, and Automobiles


Traveling Safely with your Pet  

For many people hitting the road this summer, the dilemma is not which sight to see but whether to take along their four-legged family members.  With all due respect to well-traveled iguanas, rabbits, or canaries, this question most often involves cats and dogs.  Before taking Fido or Fluffy along for the ride, ask yourself:

* Are both the mode of travel and the ultimate destination something your pet would enjoy?

* Is the destination pet-friendly?  For example, many wilderness sites can be downright hostile to companion animals. 

* Do you have room for the pet to travel comfortably?

* Does your pet get motion sickness (find out before starting a long trip!)?

Remember, an unhappy traveling companion of any kind can take the vacation out of a trip.

If you do decide to bring your buddy, plan ahead.  If traveling by air, contact the airline carrier weeks ahead for required health certificates and specifications for the pet carrier.

If the open road appeals to you, here are some helpful tips to prevent heartbreak when your co-pilot goes along for the ride:

Pets should not ride in the front seat of vehicles with airbags.  Airbags were designed for the safety of adult humans, and they can critically injure or kill an animal.

Pets should be restrained at all times inside moving vehicles.  An unrestrained pet can distract the driver, and in the event of an accident, become critically injured, potentially become a dangerous projectile, and/or escape from a vehicle.

Pets should never ride unrestrained on the outside of a vehicle, such as in the bed of a pickup. 

Pets can be restrained comfortably in a variety of ways:  inside carriers or behind vehicle barriers, or secured with pet seats, pet seat belts, or pet harnesses.  The safest place to secure your dog is in the middle of the back seat. 


Pets should not be left unattended inside vehicles for any length of time.  Changes in air temperature inside the vehicle, unattended food, and tasty tempting car upholstery all pose dangers to your pet. 

Pets should not ride with their heads outside vehicle windows.  Flying debris can damage their eyes, ears, face, or neck.

Keep an airtight container of pet food, a sealed jug of water, and a pet first aid kit inside your vehicle in case of emergencies.  Inside the kit, keep a copy of your pet’s medical record, your veterinarian’s phone number, and a recent photo.

Your pet should carry proper identification at all times (microchip, I.D. tag, or tattoo) when traveling by car. 

Traveling in an automobile from point A to point B should be comfortable, enjoyable, and above all, SAFE for all passengers, including our furry friends.