Useful Car Tips

How to Transport your Pet Safely

October 05, 2018
Traveling can be stressful enough as a human but imagine if you’re a pet! You don’t know what’s going on, you don’t know where you are, and that comfy bed you called home is now gone. Ease your pets’ anxiety by practicing these safety tips when traveling, no matter how short or long the distance.

Lindsey Wolko and the Center for Pet Safety

After losing her dog, Maggie, to an unfortunate car accident, Lindsey Wolko founded the Center for Pet Safety (CPS). Wolko had trusted the safety harness she purchased for Maggie, but after some research, she and CPS found that many of the claims made by manufacturers of so-called “safety restraint systems” were unfounded and downright untrue. Test after test demonstrated the failures of safety harnesses as well as pet carriers. It’s always best to practice safe driving techniques whenever you get behind the wheel but transporting your pet safely in the car is never as easy as buckling them up like a human being. Educate yourself on what products are available and how you can safely transport your beloved pets to your destination and back home again.

Driving with your Pet

The first step in transporting your pet safely is using the correct vehicle. While it may be comical to see a huge mastiff bulging out the windows of a SmartCar, it’s really not safe. Your pets should have plenty of room to stretch out in your chosen vehicle, whether you intend to use a create or halter during transport, and most importantly if you choose to allow them to roam free. According to, “in almost every state, if your pet causes you to crash, it’s a violation covered under distracted driving laws.” In fact, “Hawaii law directly states that you can’t drive with a dog on your lap.” Operating a motor vehicle with your pet nearby is never a good idea. The vehicle’s safety systems are intended for human occupants only, so you are effectively putting yourself and your pet in danger anytime they occupy the front seat with you. Never drive with a pet on your lap.

Flying with a Pet

You may have heard a number of stories—good and bad—regarding owners who’ve traveled via airplane with their pets. While it’s entirely possible to do, it does require preparation and a respect for the laws already in place. The first thing to consider is your destination. What laws do they have in place as to pets that come into the country, and what sort of paperwork do you need to have on-hand. Most places will want to know what vaccinations a pet has had to make sure they’re not introducing diseases into their own pet population. The next step is contacting the airline. What practices do they have established and what procedures do you need to follow when boarding and disembarking the plane? Some airlines allow pets to join you in the cabin, while others make room for them in the hold. Choose your options based on how you think your pet will cope with the conditions.

Safety First

Keep your pet’s safety at the front of your mind if you’re considering traveling together. Research more tips based on your travel situation and talk with your vet. Ask what their recommendations are and if they’ve heard of any tips from other pet owners. Exploring new places with the ones you love doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Plan ahead, be prepared, and make new memories with loved ones by your side. No matter how furry they are.
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