Just like every new experience riding in a car may take some getting used to not all pets will take to the car happily so here are some tips to keep car rides safe for everyone and help your pet adjust.
- The golden rule of car rides! Never leave your pet alone in a car! In Florida, even a car with the windows down gets very hot quickly! A running car may seem like a good idea, but pets can become anxious when left alone and it may cause undue stress. We have also seen a car shut off or a pet lock itself in the car by accident, both these situations can have bad consequences.
- Keep pets restrained properly! Loose pets can be dangerous in multiple ways. They can distract the driver, cause vision impairment, and physically bump or make the driver unable to maneuver. All of these leading to a car accident
- Types of restraint include crates and carriers that are properly strapped and secured, harnesses that attach to seat belts
- When choosing a harness, crate, or carrier make sure to pick one that is certified by center for pet safety. https://www.centerforpetsafety.org/
- Half the battle is making sure your pet is properly fitted in the crate or harness, and is comfortable. Introducing the pet to its travel attire or safe spot in its normal environment will reduce stress and negative association. Make the introduction fun, give the pet tine to adjust before the first car ride.
- Take short car rides at first giving treats and praise to help pets acclimate.
- Prepare for car rides on the fly with a pet travel kit: include your pets safety harness or crate, a collar with ID tags, bottled water, vaccine records (these may be on your phone), toy, blanket or bed, medications treats and food, and last an emergency first aid kit for your pets.
- Never let your pet leave the house without visible (external) ID tags on them. Microchipping is great, but people need a special scanner to find the microchip (normally these can be found at shelters and veterinary offices). Tags and a current phone number are still one of the best ways to make sure your pet is returned safely.
- Make sure all collars and harnesses are fitted properly and do not slip off easily.
- Prepare for long rides! Do not feed directly before a long car ride, at least an hour or two in advanced or feed after the car ride when possible. Make sure if feeding prior to car ride, the meal is light. Let the pet get plenty exercise prior to getting in the car.
- On long car rides you may need to make pit stops. Offer litterboxes at rest areas if needed. If walking your pet make sure the doors, windows, and sun roof stay closed until your pet is leashed, so they cannot escape.
Overall enjoy traveling with your pet and make memorable experiences!