How to Safely Travel with a Pet
by Mollie Jones

If you’re a pet owner, car rides with your pet are unavoidable. In a recent survey of 1,000 dog owners, AAA found that 59% had driven distracted while their pet was in the car. It’s important to follow pet travel practices for the safety of both you and your pet.

Pet travel laws
Many states regulate how you can travel with your pet. Currently Hawaii is the only state forbidding owners to allow their pet to travel in their laps, though many others are considering such legislation. California forbids pets to travel in pick-up truck beds while unrestrained. Check with your local law enforcement officials or humane society to familiarize yourself with pet travel laws.

Auto insurance and traveling with a pet
Do you know if your auto insurance policy will cover vet bills in the event of an accident while your pet is in the car? Most policies offer pet coverage for pets injured in car accidents– typically included with collision coverage. However, such coverage is often limited to cats and dogs, and some companies won’t pay your pet’s vet bills if you’re responsible for the accident. Check with your insurance agent to find out what pet protection your coverage offers.

Pet car safety
The safest way for a pet to travel in a car is restrained in the backseat. A variety of restraints are available to allow safe travel with your pet. Consider a pet seat belt, which is a full-body harness that securely attaches to your car’s safety belts. Or, choose a sturdy travel pet carrier that can be secured with your car’s safety belts.

Any time your pet is in the car, keep your windows up and locked. Use your car’s child safety locks to ensure your pet doesn’t accidentally open windows himself. While dogs may enjoy sticking their head out the window as you drive, unforeseen hazards such as debris hitting your dog or the risk of an accident make this an unsafe practice.

When on long car rides, periodically visit rest stops so you can give water and food to your pet and allow them to bathroom (be sure to clean up after them). The break will also be a good opportunity for your pet to stretch and exercise to relieve restlessness.

Remember, if you’re going to travel with a pet, safety comes first. You can provide additional protection for both you and your pet by ensuring you have the right amount of auto insurance coverage in the event of an accident. Get an online car insurance quote to find affordable rates on coverage that fits your needs.