Wanna go for a R-I-D-E?” These magic words are enough to send most dogs into a tailspin of excitement. Whether you’re going to the local dog park or on a cross-country expedition, to your dog, a road trip means new sights, new smells, and new friends. But does it mean safe travels? You make sure you and your human family are snugly buckled in before you head out in your car, but is your pet secure?
As a leading authority on pet travel and pet-friendly hotels, TripsWithPets recently conducted a survey to determine how many pet owners secure their furkids while driving. The results were encouraging: of the 1,000 poll respondents, 59% reported taking proper safety precautions. That’s up from 53% just two years ago.
For those who do secure their pets on trips, they were also asked which restraint devices they preferred. Here are the findings, ranked in order of popularity:
1. Vehicle Pet Barrier
Preferred by 35% of respondents, pet barriers were the most popular type of vehicle pet restraint. Made from metal bars, metal grids, mesh, or netting, these barriers are placed in the backseat or cargo area of the vehicle, keeping your pet safely away from the driver. Most importantly, they keep pets from flying into the windshield during an accident.
2. Pet Safety Belt
Pet safety belts were preferred by 25% of those we surveyed. Dog seat belts are sturdy straps that attach to a vehicle's seat belts, acting as a tether to keep dogs secure during sudden stops, sharp turns, and accidents. Safety belts also keep pets from roaming around in the car and distracting drivers and passengers.
3. Pet Travel Crate
Fifteen percent of pet owners polled chose to use a travel crate or carrier to secure their pet in the car. This is a versatile and practical option -- there are many types, styles, and sizes of crates to choose from, so it’s easy to accommodate any pet. Crates can also be used to keep pets secure while moving them from the car to a new location. Your carrier or crate should be well-ventilated, and should be spacious enough for your pup to sit, stand, lie down, and turn around comfortably. If your furry kid isn’t accustomed to being in a crate, it’s important to acclimate her to the idea prior to any trip to avoid distress and confusion.
4. Vehicle Pet Barrier + Pet Seat Belt Combo
Six percent of respondents use a seat belt in combination with a vehicle pet barrier. This two-in-one method provides added safety and security for traveling pets.
5. Pet Car Seat
Only five percent of respondents used pet travel car seats; a fact we found surprising, considering the benefits they offer. Similar to booster seats, these devices elevate the dog, allowing him to look out the window and see the sights, while being securely held in place by the car’s safety belt. The dog is secured to the car by a strap that attaches to a harness.
Roaming Free is Not a Good Option
We do find it encouraging that a growing number of pet parents are prioritizing travel safety for their pups. That being said, 41% of survey respondents do not currently secure their pets in the car -- a potentially dangerous decision. Allowing your pet to roam freely in a vehicle -- or worse, sit in your lap while you’re driving -- can have serious and possibly even tragic consequences.
Letting your pet roam free isn’t worth the risk to his safety, especially since there are so many options for securing your pet during travel, and making sure you’re both happy, healthy, and safe on your trip.
TripsWithPets has been helping pet parents find pet-friendly accommodations since 2003. TripsWithPets provides online reservations at over 35,000 pet friendly hotels & accommodations across the U.S. and Canada. You'll find thousands of pet-friendly destinations like Bar Harbor, ME, Burbank, CA, and Stowe, VT. When planning a trip, pet parents go to TripsWithPets.com for all they need to book the perfect place to stay with their pet -- including detailed, up-to-date information on hotel pet policies and pet amenities. Enjoy exclusive deals, get travel tips and news @ #jointheroadtrip.