Luxury Resort and Travel Guide

7 Tips for Keeping Pets Safe on Summer Road Trips

As summer vacations near, families and friends will soon be hitting the road for their weekend getaways, many with pets in tow. Whether it be to Southern California, Northern Arizona, or anywhere else, it’s important that everyone arrives to the final destination safely — including our four-legged furballs. According to a survey by AAA and Kurgo Pet Products, only 16-percent of people transporting their dogs use proper safety restraints, while 52-percent can’t help but pet them while driving. And while it’s tempting to constantly obsess over our loyal pups and cats, it can be dangerous to them and us.

“When traveling with your pet, safety and comfort should be paramount,” said Bretta Nelson, Arizona Humane Society spokesperson. “A good rule of thumb is a child litmus test; if you wouldn’t allow a child to do something, your pet shouldn’t be exposed to it either.”

Lucky for you, we’ve got seven tips from the Arizona Humane Society to help keep everyone safe during road travel. And for an added layer of caution, Larry H. Miller Dealership has the top picks for pet-friendly cars that don’t skimp on human comfort.

Keep the roam in check: A small 10 lb. cat or dog can easily be thrown from a vehicle in a potential crash. Crates, especially those that are anchored to the vehicle, are key to ensuring safety for pets. While restraints or pet seat belts are helpful in keeping pets from roaming, they haven’t been reliably shown to protect pets in a crash.

Make truck travel safer: Free-range pets in the back of a truck bed is a bad idea. Notwithstanding the chance of a crash, flying debris, weather conditions and loud traffic noises that could scare a pet into jumping out of the truck, are all hazards. Tethers and leashes are not a good restraint and could be just as dangerous resulting in potential choking or dragging if a pet jumps out of the bed. Always keep pets with you in the interior of a car while traveling and never leave a pet unattended in a vehicle.

Keep cat comfort top of mind: While dogs may love the prospect of a car ride, most cats get nervous traveling. For their safety, as well as the drivers’, carriers are best. While they may not have anchors, they can be secured using a seat belt routed around the front of the carrier.

Back seat is best: It may be tempting to have your furry co-pilot ride shotgun, but the front seat is best left for humans. While air bags are meant to protect humans, they can severely injure a pet if deployed.

Roll up the windows: Keeping precious heads inside the car is important. Oftentimes, pets who are allowed to stick their heads out of the window can be injured by debris. Keeping the windows up also prevents accidental closures that could trap a pet’s head.

Choose the right ride: Thinking of a new vehicle? Choose one that works for your entire family, pets included. A crossover, such as the Toyota RAV4 or Nissan Rogue, is great for smaller pets that may require a carrier. It gives them the space to stretch their legs on longer rides. SUVs, including the Jeep Grand Cherokee, are a good choice for larger pets and have the most room for a crate that can be secured safely. Autotrader recently recommended new vehicles as top picks for pet travel including the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica and the 2018 Nissan Rogue. Also, think about your interior, as often leather or faux leather seats are preferable to cloth seats.

Keep Company: Regardless of the time of year, never leave a pet unattended in a vehicle.

“With how much time we spend behind the wheel, our vehicles have become second homes in many instances, not only for us, but our children and pets, as well,” said Sara Waldman, director of communications, Larry H. Miller Dealerships. “While we wouldn’t think twice about allowing our children to engage in unsafe behavior while mom or dad drives, we’re hoping by sharing these tips from the Arizona Humane Society that people adopt that same safe-travel mindset when it comes to pets.” 

For more on the AZ Humane Society, visit:

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For more ideas on where to visit this summer, click here.

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