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Dogs in Cars Can Cause Risky Behavior Behind the Wheel

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - 4:00pm

Whether it’s a joyride or a long haul, taking your dogs for a drive can be fun for everyone involved—but it’s important always to buckle up your pet. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 30,000 car accidents are caused annually by unrestrained pets. In a recent survey of dog parents by the American Automobile Association (AAA), 59% of respondents admitted to participating in at least one distracting behavior while driving with a dog. More than half pet their dog while driving, and 21% let their dog to sit in their laps.

Any behavior that takes a driver’s eyes off the road increases the risk of a crash, and stopping short can send an unrestrained dog flying, causing severe injury to pet and passengers. The ASPCA urges motoring pet parents to keep their pets safe and secure in the back seat in a well-ventilated crate, carrier, or harness. If you choose a crate or carrier, make sure it’s large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in.

Here are some more tips to keep your end-of-summer road trips festive and injury-free:

  • Always secure your pet’s crate so it won’t slide or shift in the event of a quick stop.
  • Resist the urge to feed your furry friend in a moving vehicle—even if it’s during a long ride.
  • Avoid letting your pet ride with his head outside the car window. He could be injured by flying objects!
  • Bring along a favorite toy or pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity and comfort.

For more helpful hints, please visit our Top 10 Tips for Safe Car Travel with Your Pet.

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