I was recently driving to work and got the idea for this blog as I came up behind a car driving under the speed limit in the left lane. No, this is not a blog about bad drivers, and I apologize in advance if I offend the person I am soon to make an example of. As I waited to see if this car would move over to the right or if I could safely get around it, I noticed the dog inside the car, and a few safety issues the driver of the car was ignoring. Here are 4 safety tips to follow when driving with your pet in the car (I will mention this driver was not following 3 of these).
- Restraint is best – It is the law that people must wear a seatbelt, but pets do not fall under this policy. When pets are allowed to roam free in a vehicle, they can distract the driver and cause an accident. If the car is in an accident, a pet has no safety restraint either. Consider a pet seatbelt to keep your pet in place, or use a cage when traveling in the car.
- Second hand smoke – Second-hand smoke is not good for your family, and not good for your pet either. The exposure to the smoke is even worse in the tiny environment of a car. Consider smoking when you get to your destination. If you must smoke in your vehicle with your pet, open every window to allow better ventilation.
- Open windows – Probably a dog’s favorite thing to do when riding in the car is to stick his head out the window. However, debris from the road or passing cars can be kicked up into your pet’s eyes and cause serious problems. Cracking a window for fresh air is great but don’t open it enough to allow your pet to put his head all the way out.
- Hot cars – It’s hard to believe we are talking about this subject in February but it’s been unseasonably warm. When the temperature is in the 70’s outside, the temp in your car can reach the 90’s and higher. And the summertime in Hampton Roads is much worse. If you are going somewhere that does not allow you to take your pet inside, you may need to just leave your pet at home.
As warm weather approaches, Grafton Animal Hospital encourages you to get outside with your dog. Throw a ball, take a walk in the park, or go for a swim at a local watering hole. Even if you are taking your pet to doggy daycare or for a semi-annual veterinary visit, it’s best to keep your pet safe for the drive. If you have questions about how to keep your pet safe in your car, please give any of our staff a call at (757) 898-8433. Otherwise, go out and enjoy the warm weather.