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Safe transport of pets in motor vehicles

The AVMA is committed to educating pet owners regarding the safety of pets in motor vehicles. AVMA encourages development of evidence-based crash testing for kennels and safety harnesses used for motor vehicle travel. Open Cargo Area Safety Transport of pets, loose or tethered, in open cargo areas of motor vehicles is not safe. Properly secured, size-appropriate kennels that are appropriately ventilated and allow climatic conditions suitable for the pet’s species, breed and conditioning to be maintained are the preferred means of transport of pets when in open cargo areas of motor vehicles. Interior Vehicle Safety The preferred means of transport within the confines of a vehicle is either in a secured kennel, other species-appropriate enclosure of appropriate size, or fitted with a properly designed, species-appropriate safety harness..

Traveling by Car

Q: What can I do to prepare my pet for traveling in a car?

A: If your pet does not ride well in a car, consider leaving your pet at home, with friends or family, or in a boarding facility.

  • If you don't often take your pet in the car, start with short trips to "fun" destinations (such as a dog-friendly park or play area) to help your pet get used to riding in a car.

  • If your pet gets car sick, talk to your veterinarian about alternate traveling suggestions or medications to keep them comfortable.

Q: What should I do to keep my pet safe and healthy?

A: To keep your pet safe and healthy:

  • Make frequent stops (about every 2-3 hours) to allow your pet to go to the bathroom and get some exercise.

  • Properly restrain your pet in the car to prevent injury to your pets, you and to other drivers.

  • Do not let your pet ride in the back of a truck. If your pet must ride in the truck bed, they should be confined in a protective kennel that is secured to the truck to prevent injury. » AVMA Policy: Transport of Dogs in Motor Vehicles

  • Pets should not be allowed to ride with their heads outside the window. Dirt and other debris can enter their eyes, ears and nose and cause injury or infection.

  • Pets should not be allowed to ride on the driver's lap or near the driver's feet. Small pets should be confined in crates or in travel-safe dog beds, and larger pets should be appropriately restrained with harnesses attached to the car's seat belts.

  • Cats should be transported in carriers.

  • Providing a familiar blanket and/or safe toy can help make your pet more comfortable during the trip.

  • Properly restrain your pet when traveling in cars or other vehicles, and never leave your pet in your vehicle without you.

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