Inside the car, an unrestrained pet can form a very heavy and dangerous projectile. Even at low speeds of around 20km/hr your pet could end up flying through the windscreen should you hit another vehicle.
Firstly it is illegal in all states of Australia to have our pets sitting on our lap during the drive. We’ve all seen it, we may have even done it before, but there are so many reasons why this is dangerous.
The other legalities of travelling with pets are state specific, but country-wide a pet must be properly restrained and not interfering with the driver’s ability to concentrate. Owners can also be fined under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act if their animal is injured in an accident due to being improperly restrained.
None of us would ever dream of letting an infant or child ride in a car without appropriate safety restraints; protect your dog the same way.
So what sort of restraint should I use?
There are a number of different options available. If using a pet travel carrier ensure that it is very well secured as it can become a lethal object in a crash, with or without a pet inside. The best place for any pet or carrier is behind a cargo barrier in the rear of the vehicle. If this is not possible, secure the carrier with the seat belt around it.
If you are thinking about a safety harness for your dog then look for broad, thickly padded straps, especially the strap running down the centre of the dog’s chest. The broad straps will distribute the force of the impact as widely as possible, and the padding will cushion the dog’s chest wall and hopefully prevent or at least minimise crushing.
Travel with cats and small furries
Cats and smaller creatures should always be in a proper pet carriers in a vehicle. Cats love to hide so to avoid wasting time trying to get your kitty out from under seats, or in a worst case them escaping out the door, we would only recommend to transport them in a proper cat carrier. Again we advise the carrier to go behind a cargo barrier or with the seatbelt secured around it.
More Car and Dog Safety Tips
Don’t let your carefully harnessed dog hang his head out the car window: dust and debris can fly into his eyes and nose. We’re often advised not to leave our dogs alone in the car at all, but what are you going to do if you need a restroom and the building doesn’t allow dogs? My answer is to park in the shade if there is any, leave the car windows open, and move fast. Heat builds up in a closed car with unbelievable speed, even when the outside temperature is fairly mild. Take breaks often; it’ll do both you and your dog good to stretch your legs.
Do you have a small breed of dog? Why not try a safety booster seat. These are great to attach to the rear seat to provide your small dog with extra comfort, and security when travelling.