Traveling with Pets this Summer? Planning and Preparation Key to Pet Safety07/20/2012 - BERNALILLO, N.M.
Summer is the time for drivers to hit the highways on the road to vacation and many will include family pets in their travel plans. Unfortunately, while most travelers will be sure to detail their itineraries and outline a route to their destinations, many will leave out an important part of preparing for the trip: taking the necessary steps to keep their beloved animals – and themselves – safe on the roads.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that over a five-year period, 7.2 million people have been involved in automobile accidents caused by distractions while driving their vehicles. While distractions caused by the use of technology are commonplace, other behaviors, including those related to managing concerns within the vehicle, such as pets, are also leading causes; endangering the lives of pets and people alike.
Although many people consider pets as valuable family members, there is little insurance compensation for pets if they are injured or killed in an auto accident, according to Bernalillo Allstate Agency Owner Mike Maves.
Planning and preparation are necessary to ensure smooth travel with family pets. According to both the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) pet owners can help make car trips safer for their pets, themselves, and fellow drivers by following these simple travel tips.
General Safety Tips for Cats and Dogs
- If your pet is unaccustomed to car travel, take it for a few short rides before your trip.
- Consider whether your pet is comfortable when traveling. Some animals, like some people, function better in familiar surroundings. Having its favorite food, toy(s), and dishes available will help make your pet more at ease.
- Pets should not be allowed to ride with their heads outside car windows. Particles of dirt can enter the eyes, ears, and nose, causing injury or infection.
- Stick to your regular feeding routine (with small portions of food and water) and give the main meal at the end of the day or when you reach your destination.
- Dispose of unused canned food unless it can be refrigerated. Take along a plastic jug of cold water in case other reliable water sources are not available.
- Plan to stop every two hours for exercise.
- If you must leave your pet in a parked car, be sure to lock all doors, park in a shady area, and open windows wide enough to provide ventilation without enabling your pet to jump out or get its head caught. Be aware of weather conditions. You should not leave your pet in a parked car when the temperature and/or humidity are high or when temperatures are near or below freezing.
- Bring a pet first-aid kit with you. The kit should contain emergency vet contact information, bandages, prescribed medication, etc.
- Remember to include a leash with your pet's traveling supplies.
Dog Safety Tips
Dogs tend to be more willing to ride in the car than cats. Drivers can benefit from this enthusiasm, while keeping their overall safety in mind.
- Keep your dog in the back seat, away from air bags. If an air bag deploys, it could seriously harm or kill your dog due to its child-like size and fragility
- Use a pet harness specifically made for dogs. These harnesses protect their chest area in sudden impacts or stops. Do not treat your pet like a human by strapping it into the car seat belt. These belts are engineered for people, not canines.
- Never let your pet ride in your lap or unsecured in a seat. If an accident happens, they become deadly, free-flying objects.
Cat Safety Tips
In general, cats tend to be more anxious about car trips, so it may take more coaxing to get them in the car and keep them safe.
- Do not let your cat ride in your lap, even if it helps provide comfort. If an impact occurs, cats can become deadly, free-flying objects. Cats also may try to crawl behind the pedals when they are nervous, which could cause an accident or injuries to both you and your cat.
- Keep your cat in a padded carrier that is secured by a seat belt. Cats tend to feel more comfortable in a kennel than out in the open. The carrier padding will provide a cushion against sudden stops or jolts.
- Keep travel as smooth as possible. Drape a towel over the carrier (without obstructing air flow), minimize sudden stopping or acceleration and keep a calm atmosphere in the car.
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer, serving approximately 16 million households through its Allstate, Encompass, Esurance and Answer Financial brand names. Widely known by its slogan "You're In Good Hands With Allstate®,” Allstate offers insurance products (auto, home, life and retirement) and services through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial representatives, as well as via www.allstate.com and 1-800 Allstate®. As part of Allstate's commitment to strengthen local communities, The Allstate Foundation, Allstate employees, agency owners and the corporation provided $28 million in 2011 to thousands of nonprofit organizations and important causes across the United States.
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