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5 tips for keeping your pet safe in the car

May 17, 2016
Never let your pet stick its head out the window, and make sure it rides in a secured, crash-tested carrier.

For many of us, our pets are a member of the family, which is why it is of the utmost importance to keep them as safe as possible in the car. Since it's a bit difficult to just buckle them in, there are some specific precautions you should take to make sure your pet is protected.

1. Keep your pet in a crash-tested crate

Letting your pet roam free in the car is dangerous for both you and the animal. Not only should your pet be in a carrier, but the carrier should be crash-tested and anchored to your car with a seatbelt.

Dog behaviorist Cesar Millan's website recommended a crate made from plastic and aluminum and reinforced with fiberglass. In addition, the crate should be well-insulated, have good air circulation and be the right size for your pet.

"Never let your pet stick its head out the window.”

2. Keep the windows closed

The Humane Society urged pet owners to never let their animals stick their heads out the car window. Doing so puts them at risk of injury from debris. Also, the continued rush of air being forced into their lungs could make them sick.

3. Take periodic breaks

If you are taking a long drive, your pet is going to need time to go to the bathroom, hydrate and stretch its legs. Pet training product manufacturer PetSafe suggested stopping every two to three hours. If you have a dog, you will also benefit from taking it on a nice, long walk before the drive begins so they are more likely to want to rest on the drive.

4. Never leave a pet alone in the car

No matter the weather, leaving a pet alone in the car can be dangerous. When it comes to heat, the Humane Society said it takes the inside of a car only 10 minutes to reach 102 degrees Fahrenheit on an 85-degree day. In 30 minutes, it can reach 120 degrees and your pet can be at risk of death or organ damage. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said in cold weather, a vehicle will hold in the cold and could cause your pet to freeze.

5. Check your auto insurance policy

Some standard auto insurance policies provide coverage for any pets who are injured in a car accident, but others may require you to purchase an additional policy. Before driving with your pet, contact your provider to make sure your four-legged family member is covered.