This is How You Stay Safe When Driving with Pets:
9 Expert Tips

Last updated:

Pets are popular passengers. Appointments with veterinarians and trips to the park are common reasons that people choose to drive with their pets in the vehicle. Many drivers prefer having their pets in the car for company or because they know that their pet likes the adventure of a car ride. Whether transporting your pet because of necessity or because of pleasure, it is important to make sure that you and your furry friend are safe. Keep the following tips in mind when driving with an animal.

9 Tips for Driving with Pets

  1. 1

    Consider your pet’s personality and behavior. Before allowing your pet to ride in your vehicle for the first time, carefully consider how it will likely react to being in an enclosed and moving automobile. Most people drive with dogs because they most easily adapt to riding in a vehicle. Other pets such as cats, guinea pigs, exotic birds, and small monkeys are less common passenger pets. If you are concerned that your pet’s behavior or excessive noise will distract you while you are operating the vehicle, do not drive with it.

  2. 2

    It is never a good idea to allow your pet to move around the car while you are driving. Drivers should never allow a pet to ride in their lap as they drive. Animals can be unpredictable and cause dangerous distractions.

    dog in the lap
    An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert about 300 pounds of pressure

  3. 3

    Assuming that you are driving with a dog, the most popular passenger pet, you will need to create an area inside your vehicle in which he can safely ride. There are many types of pet restraints for cars available today. If you do not want to purchase a pet restrain system, you can create an area in the back seat of your car or cargo area of your SUV. Spread a blanket or old towel across the seat or floorboard to protect your car’s interior.

  4. 4

    Some drivers find that it is necessary to restrain their pet with a leash and collar while riding in a vehicle. If this is the case, make sure that your pet will not become entangled while you are driving. Many drivers purchase a special gate that prevents their pet from moving into the front of the vehicle.

    pet barrier
    Amazon and specialized websites provide a wide choice of barriers for every taste and budget

  5. 5

    To encourage your pet to stay in their designated area of the car, provide a bone, toy, or treats to occupy them.

  6. 6

    Many pets, especially dogs, prefer to look out of the windows of the vehicle while riding. Make sure that your pet has enough range of motion to see where they are going. This often also prevents pets from getting motion sickness.

  7. 7

    In case your pet has an accident in your vehicle, bring plastic bags, wet wipes, and paper towels when driving with an animal.

  8. 8

    If taking your pet on a long distance drive, make several stops. Allow your pet to stretch his legs, use the restroom, and drink fresh water approximately every two hours.

  9. 9

    Use extreme caution when leaving your pet in your vehicle. Only leave your pet unattended for very short periods of time. Make sure to ventilate your vehicle by leaving the windows cracked. Do not leave your pet inside your vehicle in extreme heat or cold, even for very short increments of time.

    dog in a hot car
    75 degrees outside turn into 95 degrees in a car with closed windows after just 10 minutes

Many drivers find that their pets love riding in their cars. A pet can become a welcome passenger after it gets accustomed to riding in a vehicle. Remember to use extreme caution when driving with an animal and take measures to prevent it from distracting your attention from the road.

Finally, here is a dog safety expert and a popular web veterinarian with their safety advice:

Andrei Zakhareuski, Driving-Tests.org Founder
Andrei is a driver with 11+ years of experience and the founder of Driving-Tests.org.

You may also like:

It’s a Jungle Out There: How to Avoid 6 Dangerous Obstacles on the Roadway

Experienced drivers know that driving is like playing a video game in that there is always something popping up in your path. All drivers should be aware that objects will periodically appear in the road. Considering these obstacles ahead of time and contemplating how to handle particular situations will reduce the likelihood of them causing you to be involved in an accident. The following are some common roadway obstacles and tips on how to maneu ...

How to Use Anti- Freeze

Whether you experience frigid, icy winters or live in a more temperate area of the country, antifreeze is an essential fluid for your vehicle. Most modern motors use water to keep the engine from overheating. While plain water works in a pinch, a mixture of water and engine coolant, or anti-freeze, is much safer for your car. Like replacing windshield wiper fluid, adding engine oil, and inflating your tires, adding anti-freeze is a simple maintena ...

Pit Stop: How to Use Informational Road Signs to Plan Your Stops

Most automobile safety experts suggest that drivers should take a short break every two hours. If you are travelling with family members, friends, or pets, you could very well end up making multiple pit stops on even the most modest road trips. It is important for drivers to think ahead and plan to make scheduled stops but also to be aware of upcoming locations for emergency bathroom breaks or a few minutes of fresh air for a car-sick passenger. ...