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How to Travel Safely with Your Pet

For the vast majority of us, traveling with a pet is not an easy task. Although most cars are not really designed for conveniently transporting our pets, there are times when driving with your cat and/or dog is absolutely necessary. Taking Fido or Fluffy to the vet, dog park, or even on a road trip with you are some examples of when you may have to drive with your pet. Sometimes these events are just unavoidable.

Safely Driving with Your Pet

Unfortunately, accidents happen. Some auto insurances offer coverage if your pet is injured in a car accident. Even so, it is important to practice pet safety and make sure they are physically secured in your vehicle before you start driving. If your pet is not secured, there is an increased risk of your beloved pet suffering serious injuries or, sadly, even death if you are in an accident or suddenly stop your vehicle. If you are a pet lover who travels with your furry friend, in addition to securing your pet, you should also follow the following tips:

  • Don’t let your pet sit on your lap while you drive. It can be incredibly distracting. Also, if you must stop suddenly, it is very unsafe for both you and your pet.
  • Do not leave your pet unattended in a locked car when it’s hot outside. Even warmer temperatures in the mid-80s can turn the inside of your vehicle into an oven.

  • Bring water for your pet. There are containers that are collapsible and spill-proof.

  • Don’t let your dog put its face out the window as you drive.

  • Consider transporting your pet in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. You can secure the crate so your pet is not thrown around if you stop suddenly or are in an accident.

  • Use a safety harness. These have become popular in recent years.

Additional Tips for Transporting Your Pet:

Not all tips need to specifically revolve around pet safety. Sometimes pointers are needed just to make the process of driving with your pet in the car easier. Between your pet’s possible anxiety and messes, like muddy pawprints– or even worse, car rides can be a major hassle. These tips should help:


  • Purchase mats and liners to protect carpets and make clean-up easier if they make a mess.
  • If you are planning a long trip with your pet, take them on a series of short drives first. This should help ease your pet’s anxiety and prepare them for spending prolonged time in the vehicle with you. The more you expose your pet to car rides, the more relaxed they will become when it’s time to transport them. 
  • Stop every couple of hours to let your pet take a break and have some water if you are on a long trip. It’s good for you to stretch your legs and stay hydrated too!
  • If you are traveling over state lines, bring along your pet’s rabies vaccination record. Some states require this proof at certain interstate crossings. While this generally isn’t a problem, it’s always smart to err on the side of caution and be prepared for the possibility.
  • Some carmakers, including Subaru and Volvo, cater to animal lovers with special equipment packages. These save you the trouble of locating components separately, can be included in your financing, and are covered by the manufacturer warranty. Consider investing in this option.
  • Double check what your auto insurance policy covers with your insurance agent. As mentioned above, not all policies will cover your pet’s injuries if they are in an accident with you. Being knowledgeable about your policy is always a good idea.