Most of us wear seat belts in the car. At least, I know I do. How much thought do you put into the safety of your pets in the car? With any luck, nothing will happen, but what if there is an accident? I’ve heard too many horror stories of pets that survived an accident, only to run and be killed by another vehicle or escape, never to be seen again.
One time, I found a dog on the side of my road that was injured. I assumed it was a run away from a neighbor and been hit by a car, even though I saw no bruises. After careful examination of the dog, it was clear it had a back injury. I initiated treatment along with a search for the owners. No one in the neighborhood claimed the little dog. I expanded the search to local shelters. As it turned out the dog had actually jumped out the rear car window (how it hurt its back, I’m sure) and the owners didn’t even know it was gone until they got home!
Many years ago, I drove very long trips in a small hatchback car. My cat loved to lay in the sun on the items I had packed in the back. So, I would let her out thinking the trip would be better for her that way. Until the day I had to slam on brakes and she became a missile flying into the front windshield. I thought I had killed her. I learned my lesson. She always rode safely restrained in a carrier after that as have all my cats since. As far as type of carriers for the cats, I prefer hard sided ones to the soft sided variety. If there are projectiles in an accident, a good hard sided buckled up carrier stands a better chance of protecting a pet.
Recently I upgraded my dogs’ crates in my SUV. I bought stronger much more impact resistant crates for their safety. I know that the chances are that I won’t need them ( And I surely hope I don’t) , but if I do, it will be too late and I would be devastated.
So how should pets ride in a car? Safely restrained. Always. This web site will give a pet owner information on the testing that has been performed https://www.centerforpetsafety.org/ . Use common sense. Dogs or cats that are loose in the car are at risk. Even more than that, the human passengers can be at risk if the pet interferes with driving. None of us want our pet in a situation like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Sbbx3JQTZk ( and this pup was lucky!)