More than a third of pet owners enjoy bringing their pets along while traveling. We admit, there are few cuter things than a dog hanging their head happily outside of a passenger window. But did you know there are several safety measures you need to take into consideration before having your furry friend tag along? It is true, they too require automobile safety when traveling or joining you for an afternoon drive. Take a look at our five pet safety tips you need to consider before bringing your pet along:
1. Never leave your pet in the car unattended.
Even on a mild, seventy-eight degree, day the temperature inside of a parked car can exceed triple digits in minutes. While it may feel like the temperature is safe enough -leaving your pet alone in a hot car can cause serious illness, even death, and in some states, cities, or counties, it is illegal!
If you see a pet left alone in a car, retain the tag number and vehicle information. Immediately contact BOTH animal control and law enforcement. If you are in a store parking lot, consider telling the store manager and having the owner paged. Stay nearby to monitor the situation until help arrives.
(The telephone number to Palm Beach County Animal Control is (561) 233-1200.)
2. Consider Pet Safety Restraints.
Pet safety restraints serve multiple preventive purposes. First, unrestrained pets can be seriously injured in an auto accident. Second, they can become a dangerous flying projectile during an accident, causing physical harm to other passengers in the vehicle. Third, pets that move about in a moving vehicle can be a distraction.
There are several styles of safety restraints available for purchase at pet specialty stores and online. There is no "best" form of restraint. Instead, you should consider the safest restraint available for your pet's weight and size.
3. No Petting While Driving.
Don't allow your pet to ride in your lap or arms while you are operating a vehicle. Unrestrained pets can create huge distractions regardless of their location in the vehicle, but riding in your lap or in your arms is an even higher form of distraction for you as a driver. See consideration number two, above, for more information on the importance of pet restraints.
4. I Need a Break. I need Water. I need to Potty.
Your pet needs to get out of the vehicle, stretch their legs, walk about, and drink water as often as you do. Every time you take a break in your travels, your pet needs to be removed from your vehicle for a break too.
5. Your Pet Needs Identification.
Your pet should be wearing proper identification while traveling to assist in reunion if you become separated. Identification that can be worn allow for immediate contact from the general public, but microchip identification may assist you further if your furry friend is taken to a vet or animal control when they are found.
Retain a copy of your pets vaccination records and/or "health certificate" in your glove compartment. This provides proof of their health when visiting hotels, resorts, when requested by law enforcement, and any other purpose you may encounter in which this information is required.