How to keep your dog safe and happy in the car

As the weather gets warmer, many of you will be hitting the road for some summer fun and taking your dogs along with you for the ride. Before you pull your car out of the driveway, read these helpful suggestions from award-winning traffic safety educator Reed Berry about how to keep your dog safe in the car. They’ll help to keep your furry family member safe and content while on the road.

Back Seat Driver

Dogs tend to want to explore and will move around the car unless they are restrained with a safety harness. Just like children, dogs should sit in the back seat. This lowers their risk of being impacted by the front seat airbags in the event of an accident (airbags deploy at 200 mph – a force that could cause serious injury to a pet or child).

Select a harness size that fits your dog comfortably and securely, and that attaches to the vehicle’s seatbelt. No matter how cute it may look, never use a child’s safety seat for your dog.

Better Yet, Use a Carrier

Use a well-ventilated carrier that has a secure door and latch and is big enough for your dog to sit and lie down in. Place the carrier facing forward, so your dog will get plenty of air during the trip. You may also want to place a towel or blanket inside the carrier to make your dog more comfortable. Most importantly, secure the carrier to the car so that if you stop suddenly or have an accident, the carrier (and your dog) doesn’t get thrown toward the front of the vehicle.

Smaller Meals

Give your pet a small meal before starting out. A few snacks along the way will be better for his stomach than one large meal. Bring plenty of water and even some ice cubes to keep your dog from becoming thirsty or sick.

Feeling the Breeze

Just as it can be dangerous for a child to stick his or her arms out of a moving vehicle, it can be unsafe for your dog to stick his head out of a moving vehicle. Vehicles and large objects as well as dust and debris can cause injury. By opening the window just a few inches, you can allow your dog to feel a breeze and enjoy the ride while remaining safe from outside elements.

Never Park a Pooch

People sometimes ask when and for how long they can leave their dog unattended in a car. The answer is never! Anti-cruelty laws forbid owners from leaving their dogs in a parked vehicle without adequate ventilation.

The temperature inside a parked car, even on a cool day, is always higher than the outside temperature. If you think leaving the car windows rolled down is a good solution, think again. This opens you up to an increased risk of both your dog and your car being stolen.

Toys from Home

If you’re going on a long drive, bring some of your dog’s favorite bedding and toys to keep him busy during the trip and comforted by the familiar smells of home. Buying new toys is fine, but present them at home a few days prior to your trip. This way your dog won’t become concerned that everything he sees and smells is new and different.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to keep your pets safe and happy, give Answer Financial a call at (800) 258-5101 and ask about Veterinary Pet Insurance. You can also find us on the web at