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PET Moving Safety | Car Travel | Do Airbags Harm PETS?

Updated on April 24, 2012

PETS Travel Safety: Our Dog Emily Travels Behind Bars On a Trip to Virginia

Emily Loves to Travel
Emily Loves to Travel | Source

Preparing the Vehicle for Dog & Cat Travel

  • Sheets: Covering the seats with an old sheet works very well as it can be washed very easily and replaced when soiled. The animals will create a mess by shedding, trust me, I know.

  • Packing Clean up supplies: Just like having kids all over again. Paper towels are a must have, sponge for emergency clean-ups, plastic bags for trash and other messy clean-ups. Bring extra doggy baggies for breaks that require clean up. Add a towel to the trunk.

  • Packing the Pet Supplies: Food for the trip, gallon of water, bowls for travel, leashes, collars, chew bones, favorite toys and most importantly bedding. (Do not wash the bedding, the scent is comforting to the pet when stressed), litter for cat, scoop, waste bags.

  • Folder for Important Pet Documents: See hub on Pet Moving Preparation.

  • Position Pet Barriers and Crating securely: Depending on your style vehicle there are different ways to secure your pets. If you have a hatchback, load the crates in so the pets can jump into the crate and you have easy access while traveling. If using a metal barrier instead for dogs, that works great to keep them secure in the back of the vehicle for transport. Cats must always be kept in a crate or travel carrier with litter box available. All pets should ride in the back seating areas, not in the front passenger seat. This is very dangerous in the event the air bag should deploy. If it is an option, allow your dogs to view outside the window while traveling, it will relieve stress from boredom.

Hatchback with Dogs is Easier Than Most Cars Emily Enjoys Some Sunbathing While Riding Ferry to Okracoke, OBX

Emily is very comfortable behind her Safety Barrier

SAFETY IS ALWAYS NUMBER ONE for all passengers

Small roaming animals in the car can become projectiles dangerous for both animal and driver. All pets should be maintained in the back seating areas where they are protected and secure especially in the event of an accident and the deployment of air bags. When we moved to Maryland with two dogs and a cat we used a Ford Flex which had a large back seat area and a large back area behind the back seat. THIS WORKED OUT REALLY WELL FOR THE CAT. Shadow had his own kitty suite in the back seating area. Shadow rode in Emily's dog crate for two full days. We attached the covered litter box to the crate with a stretch cord so that the open door of the crate faced the opening of the litter box. This way the cat wouldn’t have to come out or be handled until reaching the destination other than to provide food and water through another opening in the other side of the crate. A rolled towel was placed securely so the cat could not escape around the opening in between the crate and litter box. A towel or light weight blanket placed over the crate to create a tenting effect will keep the cat feeling secure during transport. Cat owners know that cats do not like to feel exposed. This set up worked like a charm for the two day adventure. Shadow remained in the kitty suite at night with the windows cracked for ventilation while the rest of the family stayed in a hotel. He didn't mind at all and continued to eat and drink very well during the moving experience. So did the rest of the family. Everyone arrived at the new house without any problems or illnesses from road stress.


Bella Road In Her Car Cage On a Platform My Husband Made So She Could See Out Until She was Two

AIR BAG Deployment Can be FATAL for Dogs & Cats

Air bags deploy at 200 mph at collision. That is bone-breaking force to a human and likely fatal to your pet. Riding in the front seat is very dangerous for your pets. I know they love to do it, but we need to make smart safety decisions when traveling. The proximity guidelines for air bags state that a human should no closer than 12 inches from the air bag. Humans in a seated and belted position are within this guideline. However, when pets are riding shotgun, of course they aren't buckled in and are resting in the seat much closer to the air bag than a belted human. This consideration also includes dogs riding on your laps.

Arrange Hotel Accommodations Well in Advance of Trip

Choosing a hotel prior to travel that will accommodate your pets is very important. The last thing you want to do is try to find an accommodating hotel with a vacancy after being on the road 8-10 hours: Been there done that. Decide in advance how many hours you want to travel to include stop times along the way. Choose a hotel within that time frame and book it in advance. You will be so glad you did. No worries, no decisions, just a restful night’s sleep for another long day ahead. When considering hotels also consider the parking facility. Does it allow for security and accommodate any pets that need to remain in the vehicle overnight like Shadow had to do.

Pit Stops Are Necessary

Plan Frequent Pit Stops Along the Way

Traveling for long hours can be very physically tiring, hard on your body, and on your pets as well. Make frequent pit stops for small walks and stretching. Every couple hours: stop, stretch, walk about. Let your dogs run around a bit stretching their legs. Everyone will have more travel endurance when following this simple technique and less fatigue. We have made about 5 very long treks like this with pets and have learned by making frequent pit stops everyone travels much better, less stiffness, and better traveling experience for all. If you do not follow this technique and go too long between breaks, your back could begin to get stressed and legs cramp up. Once this starts to happen, it is difficult to stop the progression. The second day than becomes quite a chore. On a positive note, when taking a moment for frequent pit stops, our travel experiences were much more enjoyable and less physically taxing. There is much to do on both ends of the trip when making a long distance move. If you have moved this way in the past, you know what I am talking about. If not, please take my word for it. You want to arrive as rested as possible; you will have much to do upon arrival at your new home.




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    • Golfgal profile image

      Golfgal 6 years ago from McKinney, Texas

      Thanks for visiting lindatymensky. Happy to be of help to you. They all just wanna be lap dogs, even my 90-pounder. She is the worst of the crew.

    • lindatymensky profile image

      lindatymensky 6 years ago

      This was a very helpful article. My animals react to travel and I need to be more prepared. (They want to ride on my lap while I drive!) Thanks for the great tips.

    • Golfgal profile image

      Golfgal 6 years ago from McKinney, Texas

      Thanks HRoger, I agree so I corrected it. Thanks for the constructive suggestion. Peace.

    • HRoger profile image

      HRoger 6 years ago from Online where I can be!

      Hi, great Hub! I just think your should really remove all that Bold from the top part it's really strong and doesn't fit the hub so well.

      Great info anyways! Take care

    • Golfgal profile image

      Golfgal 6 years ago from McKinney, Texas

      Thank you RTalloni, what a terrible thing. Yes, one of my pet peeve, tongue in cheek, is dogs in the back of the open truckbed. Yikes.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      So glad you highlighted this topic via a hub. My friend and I saw an open Jeep round the corner of a busy intersection this week and a chocolate lab was thrown out into the oncoming traffic. Thankfully, all traffic stopped and the Jeep was able to wheel around and retrieve the animal, but it was obviously injured. Such a sad thing to see.