Pet travel is on the rise. No longer are dogs and cats staying at home while their humans venture off to run errands or a family vacation. Whether you’re traveling across town to go the pet store or to a pet friendly hotel, vacation rental or bed and breakfast across the country with your pet, it’s important to make sure that they are properly secured in your vehicle.
Pet car seats are one very popular option that many dog parents choose to secure their four-legged friend in their vehicle when they travel. These are primarily used for dogs (as cats are best suited for travel crates/kennels). You can find automobile seats for pets in various sizes depending on the size of your pet. However, they do not accommodate larger dogs. The largest pet car seats out there typically hold dogs up to 35 lb. In addition to properly securing your pet in your vehicle, most pet car seats also serve as a booster! They give smaller dogs a boost to allow them to look out the window (but remember no heads out the window!).
Most pet vehicle seats are secured to the vehicle seat similar to how child car seats are secured. They are strapped in using the car’s safety belt. The pet car seats also have a lead attached to them. The lead is attached to the pet’s harness. That’s right, a harness! You should never attach the lead to a collar as this could possibly cause strangulation if you were ever in an accident. As another safety precaution, it is recommended that pet car seats are secured in the back seat.
There are all kinds of shapes, sizes, fabrics, and colors to choose from when it comes to pet car seats. Quilted, plaid, magenta, cozy lamb’s wool interiors, funky capsule looking seats – there is something for every pet traveler! There are also accessories! When you make pit stops on your way to your pups favorite dog friendly hotels, your dog can eat and drink from a car seat travel rack which holds food and water bowls. Some pet car seats have storage compartments so your pet can bring along some of their favorite toys or pet travel treats on their way to grandma’s house or to pet friendly accommodations! What if you have multiple little dogs? No problem. There are even pet automobile seats that safely accommodate more than one pet!
No matter what pet car seat you choose, it’s very important to allow your pet to get used to it before you hit the road. The first step would be to get them used to wearing a harness if they have never worn one before. Let your pet wear the harness around the house for a while and then take them on walks using the harness. Each pet is different – some pets instantly take to the harness, others take some more work. The next step is getting them used to the car seat. Put the seat on the floor in your house and let your pet sniff and explore it. Practice securing your pet in the car seat in your home. When they are comfortable, bring it into your vehicle. Go for short rides, and then gradually build up to longer rides. Again, some pets will automatically take to it without any problem; others may take a little time. You know your pet best, so be sure to be patient as to not make it stressful for them.
When hitting the road on your next pet travel adventure, be sure to consider a pet car seat as a safe way to secure your pet in your vehicle.