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Home > Travel > Children & Pet Travel > Travel with Pets > Safe Pet Travel

Safe Pet Travel

Safe Pet Travel
Safe Pet Travel Bark Buckle UP Pet Safety Program is traveling nationally to teach and promote pet safety while traveling with our pets. Because more pets now travel with their owners, especially in vehicles, there is a risk to vehicle occupants and others should an accident occur. For first responders called to render aid the challenge of securing a frightened or injured animal, before treating victims, is of great concern. Safety belts save lives.

The Bark Buckle UP Campaign educates pet parents on how to put on and take off safety pet belts and the importance of securing their pet safely for travel.

While most of us, spurred by safety concerns and government regulations, wear seat belts as a matter of course, we don't always think about restraining our dogs when they're our passengers. But going without a restraint poses dangers to dogs and drivers alike. In the event of a sudden stop or accident, a dog can become a flying projectile that can injure you, your passengers or be thrown through the windshield. Accidents do happen everyday.

In an accident, an unrestrained animal is dangerous to the human passengers as well. Even in an accident of only 30 mph, a 15-pound child can cause an impact of more than 675 pounds. A 60-pound dog can cause an impact of 2,700 pounds, slamming into a car seat, a windshield, or another passenger. Even if the animal survives, it can impede the progress of rescue workers for whom every moment is precious.

Unrestrained pets can also distract the driver, and cause an accident. Even pets that are normally well behaved could be frightened by something unusual and dive for the driver's feet or lap. Following a car accident, an unrestrained pet could escape and be hit by another vehicle or cause another collision. A frightened dog may attack strangers who are trying to help.

According to Bark Buckle Up, follow the rules when taking your pet in:

Automobiles

Buckling up is an important safety precaution for pets. Many states and provinces now require that pets be restrained while in a moving vehicle and restraints have several advantages. They help protect pets in case of a collision and they keep pets from running loose and distracting the driver. They also keep pets from escaping the car through an open window or door.

Cats and smaller dogs are often most comfortable in pet carriers. Carriers give many animals a sense of security and familiar surroundings and can be secured to the car seat with a seat belt or a specially designed carrier restraint (like a child's seat).

There are also pet restraints available that can be used without carriers, including harnesses, seat belt attachments, specially designed pet car seats, as well as vehicle barriers, and restraint systems.

Absolutely do not leave your pet in the car unattended. Even with windows cracked, and even on a seemingly nice day, temperatures in a car can quickly escalate and kill your pet. If you will have to leave the pet, the pet shouldn't have come along for that trip.

Secure your pet. You might think it's fun for the pet to sit in your lap or catch some breeze from the bed of your truck. Your pet is not safe in these situations and, in fact, you may endanger yourself and others if you can't drive properly.

You would never toss a child loose in the back-seat. There are harnesses that attach to seat belts and crates to secure your pets.

Keep your pet hydrated. On a trip, it's tempting to skimp on the food and water to avoid pit stops. While you do want to cut back a little, just for your pet's comfort while on the go, be sure your pet gets enough to drink or eat. If you are driving with a pet, plan for plenty of stops to walk you pet, and give the pet food and water.

RVs

Also known as RVs or Motorcoach. Motorcoach transportation has been a safe form of transportation in the United States *Motorcoaches fall under the category of buses in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Buses typically provide one of the safest modes of transportation. Motorcoach transportation has been a safe form of transportation in the United States.

Over the past ten years there have been 48 fatal Motorcoach crashes. During this period, on average:

  • 14 fatalities have occurred annually to occupants of Motorcoaches in crash and rollover events
  • About 2 of the fatalities being drivers
  • Approximately 29% of the fatal crashes resulted in rollover
  • Ejection of passengers from Motorcoaches accounts for approximately 56% of passenger fatalities
  • Among all Motorcoach crashes from 1996-2005, 65% were single vehicle events and involved running off the road, hitting roadside objects, or rolling over

    SEAT BELTS: Seat belts are another approach for potential improved Motorcoach occupant protection in crashes. Seat belts could also potentially provide protection in multiple crash modes, including rollover, and prevent ejection. Seat Belts, work with Pet Travel Harness, Kennel or Pet Car Seats.

    *National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Report

    Motorcycles

    No question that the excitement of having the air whip through your hair on a bike is exhilarating. While this mode of transport is fun, it is much more dangerous than automobile transportation. As a responsible pet owner it is critical the owner seek out, investigate, and purchase the safest gear available. From pet carries, trailers, side cars, goggles, and helmets there are multiple ways to safe guard your pet while still being able to enjoy the freedom of motorcycle travels. It is vital that motorcycle riders take this mode of transport serious. Using such machines poses such a higher risk it is critical to outfit you and your travel partner with the safest gear available.

    Aircraft

    If you must transport your pet by air, your first decision is whether you can take him or her on board with you, which is by far the best option. If your pet is a cat or small dog, most airlines will allow you to take the animal on board for an additional fee. To find out about this option, call the airline. Most airlines provide information about transporting pets with them.

  • Does the airline will allow you to take your pet on board with you? If that option isn't available to you, does the airline have any restrictions on transporting your pet as cargo?
  • Does the airline have any special pet health and immunization requirements?
  • Does the airline require a specific type of carrier? Most airlines will accept either hard-sided carriers or soft-sided carriers, which may be more comfortable for your pet, but only certain brands of soft-sided carriers are acceptable to certain airlines.

    If your pet must travel in the cargo hold, you can increase the chances of a safe flight for your pet by following these tips:

  • Use direct flights. You will avoid the mistakes that occur during airline transfers and possible delays in getting your pet off the plane.
  • Always travel on the same flight as your pet. Ask the airline if you can watch your pet being loaded and unloaded into the cargo hold.
  • When you board the plane, notify the captain and at least one flight attendant that your pet is traveling in the cargo hold.
  • If the captain knows that pets are on board, he or she may take special precautions.
  • If traveling during the summer or winter months, choose flights that will accommodate the temperature extremes: Early morning or late evening flights are better in the summer; afternoon flights are better in the winter.
  • Affix a travel label to the carrier with your name, permanent address and telephone number, final destination, and where you or a contact person can be reached as soon as the flight arrives.
  • Make sure that your pet's nails have been clipped to protect against their hooking in the carrier's door, holes, and other crevices.
  • Give your pet at least a month before your flight to become familiar with the travel carrier. This will minimize his or her stress during travel.
  • Do not give your pet tranquilizers unless they are prescribed by your veterinarian. Make sure your veterinarian understands that the prescription is for air travel.
  • Do not feed your pet for four to six hours prior to air travel. Small amounts of water can be given before the trip. If possible, put ice cubes in the water tray attached to the inside of your pet's kennel. A full water bowl will only spill and cause discomfort.
  • Try not to fly with your pet during busy travel times such as holidays and the summer. Your pet is more likely to undergo rough handling during hectic travel periods.
  • Carry a current photograph of your pet. If your pet is lost during the trip, a photograph will make it much easier for airline employees to search effectively.
  • When you arrive at your destination, open the carrier as soon as you are in a safe place and examine your pet. If anything seems wrong, take your pet to a veterinarian immediately. Get the results of the examination in writing, including the date and time.
  • Fit your pet with a collar that can't get caught in carrier doors. Affix two pieces of identification on the long term permanent ID with your name and home address and telephone number and a temporary travel ID with the address and telephone number where you or a contact person can be reached.
  • Do not ship pug-nosed dogs or cats such as Pekingese, Chow Chows, and Persians in the cargo hold. These breeds have short nasal passages that leave them vulnerable to oxygen deprivation and heat stroke in cargo holds.

    Boats

    While on the boat, make sure your dog is under constant supervision, especially while the boat is moving. If your puppy or dog is a newcomer to the boat and to the water, take things slowly initially to allow your pet to adjust to the movement of the boat and to the noise of the engines. The goal is for your dog to enjoy the boating experience. If your pet is nervous or scared while on board, you may want to consider leaving him behind on shore next time. Not every dog will enjoy being on a boat.

    No matter what size your dog, consider using a Personal (Pet) Flotation Device (PFD). There are quite a few companies that make them in varying sizes and specifications. It is important to properly size your dog so, bring him along when you purchase this safety item.

    Some of you Labrador owners are thinking, "A PFD, for my dog?" My response is a simple, yes. No matter how good a swimmer your dog may be, a PFD can come in handy when a dog does not realize his true swimming limitations or accidentally falls overboard. Keep in mind that most, if not all PFD's for pets, are designed with a convenient handle on top that aids in lifting your dog out of the water under normal or emergency situations.

    Another safety consideration on the boat with your dog is his footing. Remember, your dog is not wearing boat shoes, so a fiberglass boat can be challenging especially when wet. Provide better footing with a piece of carpet or a rubber mat. Also, a boat's surface can get quite hot on a dog's footpads, so check the deck's temperature often.

    Trains

    We all will agree to the fact that traveling by train is a cultural experience. Catching your train shouldn't be difficult or complicated, but you should know a few details ahead of time to make your trip more comfortable. Not only do you want to get a seat on the train - the right train - you want to ride safely and securely.

  • Tag your dog. Sometimes all the precautions in the world are no match for a clever dog bent on escaping. Before you travel, get your dog a collar and an engraved tag with plenty of contact information (and your cell phone number, so you can be reached while traveling).
  • Travel with care. Although some small dogs can ride with their owners in the trains car, many must ride in cargo with no climate controls. Avoid doing so at all. If you must, do so during spring and fall when the temperature isn't too hot or cold.
  • Affix a travel label to the carrier with your name, permanent address and telephone number, final destination, and where you or a contact person can be reached as soon as the train arrives.
  • Make sure that your pet's nails have been clipped to protect against their hooking in the carrier's door, holes, and other crevices.
  • Give your pet at least a month before your flight to become familiar with the travel carrier. This will minimize his or her stress during travel.
  • Do not give your pet tranquilizers unless they are prescribed by your veterinarian. Make sure your veterinarian understands that the prescription is for train travel.