Depending on the animal and its temperament, it can be either a pleasure or a nuisance when it comes to taking a pet along for a ride. Unfortunately, there are certain hazards that come with having pets in a vehicle, and the wrong decision or action on the part of a pet owner can result in death or serious injuries to the animal. An animal who is allowed to ride in a car without any thought of safety is potentially at risk of falling or jumping from the vehicle, being thrown from it, disrupting the driver, and other hazardous incidents; because animals are entirely dependent on their owners to protect them from these threats, it is the responsibility of owners to ensure the safety of their pets. To do this they must understand what to do and what not do while driving with an animal in an automobile.
There are many reasons why people take their pets with them when traveling by car, such as a trip to the vet, the beach, or a family vacation. As with any passenger, the driver must ensure that his or her pet is as comfortable and secure as possible. Unfortunately, this isn't always a possibility, as some animals become nervous and agitated in moving vehicles. It is important that people know their pets and whether they are able to travel safely in a car. If a person is uncertain, taking the animal for short drives around the block can reveal any nervousness or fear that it may have. This can help some animals adjust to being inside a moving vehicle and they may even begin to look forward to it. Some animals, however, may never become comfortable with cars, particularly if they have had a negative experience inside of one. If long road trips are unavoidable, a vet may be able to help by prescribing a sedative for the animal.
Animals should never be allowed to wander or sit in the driver's lap while a vehicle is in motion. Like humans, they should be restrained for their safety and the safety of others. If one's pet is a feline, it should always travel inside of a hard or soft pet carrier. Dogs may also travel in an appropriately sized crate or carrier that allows them to stand, turn, and lie down comfortably. Whether the animal is a dog or a cat, carriers and crates must be secured, so that they do not slide and will not be easily be ejected from the vehicle in the event of an accident or hard stop. Harnesses or seat belts for dogs are another way to secure animals while driving. These typically attach to the car's seat belt buckle and are designed to keep animals from freely walking around in a vehicle, as well as potentially being ejected or thrown in an emergency. Dogs that are harnessed should never be allowed to ride with their heads outside of the car window. Although this may seem cute or fun, animals can easily be injured by flying debris. In addition to injuries to the eye or other areas of the face, they may also develop lung infections or sustain damage to their ears.