Traveling Safely with Your Pet

It can be so much fun to take your four-legged family members on road trips when you can. Other times, you have to bring them along when finding a pet sitter just isn’t working out. Whatever the reason, traveling on the road with pets is becoming increasingly more common in our society.

Unfortunately, more trips mean more potential accidents, and as fellow pet-owners, it’s important to us to do what we can to help keep your fur babies safe on the road. That’s why starting February 24th, Apparent will be offering Pet Coverage to help them heal if they’re ever injured in an accident. So in the name of this awesome new coverage, and wanting to help protect all our pets, we’ve compiled a list of road trip tips for traveling with your cat or dog to ensure everyone stays safe. Bon voyage!

Test the Waters

Introducing your pet to your car in small doses may help alleviate any unforeseen hiccups. For example, packing your cat or dog in its carrier and taking a ride around the block a few times can help him or her get comfortable. These trial runs not only help your pets acclimatize to your car—it helps you prepare for your upcoming journey.

Pack Accordingly

Traveling with pets not only requires extra attention to their needs—it means packing the right items to ensure a safe journey. Be sure to pack a copy of their current medical records, should they need to visit a vet in the case of an emergency. Also, make sure they’re traveling with a collar that contains identification, home address, and your contact information.

In addition to your pet’s food, bowls, leash, litter box, grooming supplies, and other necessities, it’s important to remember any necessary medication and a pet first-aid kit. It’s also important to remember a few bottles of filtered water. Finally, to help relieve any additional stress, pack a toy, pillow, or favorite treats to bring a little piece of home on their trip.

Keep Them Safe and Secure

Leaving a pet unsecured in a moving vehicle is a hazard. In the event of an accident, pets can become unwanted projectiles and pose a threat to the driver, passenger, and themselves. In fact, a ten-pound dog in a crash at 50 miles-per-hour exerts nearly 500-pounds of pressure, while an 80-pound dog in a crash at 30 miles-per-hour exerts nearly 2,400 pounds.

Unrestrained pets can also cause distracted driving. For example, agile cats darting under seats can cause drivers to slam on their brakes. And according to some studies, dogs cause distracted driving by climbing in owners’ laps (41 percent), pawing drivers (27 percent), and blocking a driver’s vision of the passenger side window (11 percent).

While many drivers acknowledge that it’s dangerous to drive with an unrestrained dog, nearly half of them do it anyway. Whether you use a crate, car-specific harness, or different type of restraint, it’s essential to secure your pets while driving. Ultimately, the safest way for your four-legged friend to travel is in a crate that’s secured with a seat belt or other safety device.

Give ‘Em a Break!

Your pet’s normal feeding and bathroom schedule will be out of whack while on the road. To help them prepare for your adventure, feed them a light meal three to four hours prior to leaving. While en route, plan to stop every two to three hours to provide them with food and water and an opportunity to relieve themselves.

It’s important to practice extra patience, as you never know exactly how your pet will react to unaccustomed stimuli. Provide them ample time to eat and drink, be sure they’re properly relieving themselves in a litter box or outside your vehicle, and to avoid adding to an already hectic experience, never feed them while the car is in motion.

Never Leave Them Unattended

Regardless of the time of year, it’s important to never leave your animal alone in a parked car. On hot days, parked cars soak up rays of sunshine that cause internal temperatures to climb, even with the windows open. According to some research, solar radiation caused one car to heat up an additional 20 degrees to a blistering 116 degrees Fahrenheit. In cold weather, a car can act as an icebox and trap in the cold.

Traveling with your pet doesn’t have to be stressful. Ensuring their safety and comfort is easy enough—and minimizing distractions in the car can be just as simple. By taking necessary precautions and practicing safe driving techniques, you and your four-legged friend will make it smoothly to your destination. And to find out more about Apparent’s new Pet Coverage feature, chat us online or visit us at apparent.com/pet-coverage.