Heading out on the open road with your pet, or pets, can be a really rewarding experience. After all, how many dogs have seen Mount Rushmore? Your dog! That’s who.
But there are some concerns that come up when you’re driving with your pet: how do I keep my buddy safe in the event of an accident? What if he won’t stay where I put him?
Any size dog should be fitted to an appropriately sized seatbelt harness. If multiple dogs are driving together, these should be short enough that the dogs can’t tangle themselves. These harnesses cost less than twenty dollars at most pet stores and are often on sale or clearance.
If you are uncomfortable with putting your pet in a seatbelt harness, your next best bet is to allow them to have a hammock. Again, these hammocks sell for a few dollars and will keep your pet from being thrown to the floor in an emergency situation. We generally recommend these for dogs that are so small that they may be injured by a seatbelt harness, while recommending the former for larger dogs.
Ah, you’re a cat person? Well kitty can go climb Mount Rushmore too. Many cat owners are very concerned about taking their felines on a trip, and we completely understand why. Cats are escape artists and nobody wants to realize their kitty snuck out when they stopped to gas up.
For cats, we recommend a heavy mesh netting that stretches all the way across the back of your car and prevents escape. They come with either velcro or a drawstring system to secure them and are available in dozens of sizes to guarantee a tight fit.
Litter boxes can be kept in a small cardboard soda flat in the passenger footwell, with water and food kept on the other side of the car.
The biggest problem most traveling pet owners run into is keeping their pet cool when they’re running in for a quick bite to eat or a restroom stop. If you’re uncomfortable with keeping your car turned on, we recommend using baby window shades, which cost only a few dollars, to keep the sun’s reflection out of your vehicle. We also recommend parking in the shadiest spots you can. Never leave a pet in a car on a day over 60 degrees for longer than five minutes, and only do so if you are parked well away from the sun in a shady location. Remember, your pet needs you to watch out for him.
A pet trapped in a hot car is often cause for an emergency and may result in others dialing 911 to save your pet. Be careful when leaving any pets in your vehicle, even for very brief periods of time.
If in doubt, grab some Burger King you both can share. It’s much better than coming back out to a crispy pet or a police officer who wants a word with you.