It’s been the law for quite a while that humans buckle their seat belts when riding in or driving a car. We do not, however, have the same laws for pets and so very few people restrain their pets while riding in a car.
With pet travel on the rise, more and more dogs and cats are suffering severe injuries from not being properly restrained. A pet that is not properly restrained in a vehicle is a danger to itself and other passengers in the vehicle. An unrestrained pet can potentially become a flying projectile in the event of an accident or sudden stop. Unfortunately, instances of pets being thrown through the windshield are all too common in severe accidents.
In addition to the danger to the pet and other passengers, even the most seasoned traveler can become overly excited or frightened in a vehicle and thus cause an accident by distracting the driver or in some way impeding her ability to drive. Even if your pet has never “acted up” in the car, it’s too big of a risk to take. A frightened or excited animal can jump onto the driver’s lap or crawl into the space at the driver’s feet and interfere with the operation of the pedals.
Another important consideration is what your pet will do in the wake of an accident. If your pet survives the accident, she may be able to escape from the car and run into traffic. If rescuers are needed, your pet may attack them while they are trying to extricate people from the vehicle.
There are several pet restraints available so you will be able to find the one that’s right for your pet. Check out pet safety belts, pet car seats with built-in seat belts, pet travel crates and kennels, and vehicle pet barriers. It’s important that your pet is comfortable with whatever option you choose. If you select a safety belt, let the pet wear the harness around the house until he becomes comfortable in it. An animal should be properly kennel or crate trained before using that method of restraint. When you first use the restraint, take your pet on shorter car rides and gradually increase the length until they become comfortable with it.
Many people believe that restraints are not necessary for short trips but that is when most accidents occur. Just as we should buckle up every time we’re in the car, we should also restrain our pets every time they’re coming along with us for the ride. Pets are members of the family and it’s our responsibility to make sure they’re safe.
(Summary of an article from www.tripswithpets.com)