April 6th, 2018 Shanghai – Keeping a dog happy and safe in the car can make traveling a better experience for all.
A mobile phone and a poodle don’t have much in common. But inside a car, both phones and pets can become dangerous distractions that could cause road accidents.
Although the dangers of using a phone while driving are relatively well known, fewer people know that pets can create problems too. “A dog or cat freely moving about the car when it’s in motion could present a dangerous distraction for the driver,” said Andrew Maschmedt, a Ford Asia Pacific senior vehicle dynamics engineer and distracted driving expert.
That distraction could lead to an accident, which could put both you and your pet at significant risk.
A solid foundation for keeping pets safe is to start with buying a vehicle that has ample storage space. In a mid-size SUV like Ford’s Kuga or Edge, there is plenty of headroom so you and your pet don’t feel cramped. Abundant storage space also means you can easily pack in toys, blankets and anything else your pet might need.
Asia is experiencing something of a pet-boom in recent years, buoyed by strong economies and urbanization. In the last ten years, dog ownership has exploded in India and Philippines, and people in Thailand have fallen in love more with cats.
All this means more beloved pets getting in cars and going on trips. But animal experts across Asia are seeing people traveling unsafely with pets on their laps while driving, or pets roaming around freely in cars.
Fortunately there are a few easy steps you can take to secure your pet that come recommended by vets and animal experts, and ensure that both you and your four-legged ball of cuteness stay safe.
- Never let your pet sit in the front seat: It’s fun to have your furry friend ride shot gun but it’s also dangerous for the animal. If you get into an accident, and the airbags deploy then your dog or cat could be severely injured, or even killed.
- Use a harness or crate when driving: The safest place for your dog or cat is in the backseat where they can be safely secured to a harness. Alternatively, put your pet in a crate in the rear stowage area if you have an SUV.
- Keep your windows up: Dogs LOVE to put their heads out the window when driving and let their tongues flap in the wind, so it’s hard to deny them that pleasure. But a sudden tap of the brakes, even a small one, can result in a tragedy with the animal being ejected from the vehicle without being properly secured.
- Pack some stress relief: Traveling in a car can be stressful for dogs and cats so experts advise to have a few of their favorite toys or a comfy blanket in the backseat or stowage area to help them relax. If your dog or cat is at ease, the driving experience will be safer and more enjoyable for everyone.
- Take a break every hour: Long drives can get dull, and especially for Fido and Fluffy. Take a break every 1-2 hours to let your pet stretch its legs, play, drink some water and relieve themselves. And let’s be honest; you’ll probably want to do all those things too.
- Never leave your pet alone in the car: After a car is parked in the sun for just half an hour in warm climates, the temperature inside can rise to as high as 70 degrees centigrade — which is hot enough to fry an egg. That’s easily enough to give your pet heatstroke.
- Get a Pet ID: Attach a tag to your pet’s collar with the owner’s mobile phone number on it, just in case your cat or dog runs out of the car either through a window or open door. A pet ID tag is essential for people to be able to get in touch with you if your pet is found missing.
The most important aspect of any car trip is making sure all passengers arrive safely – whether they have two legs or four. Safely securing pets when the vehicle is in motion can reduce the chance of potentially dangerous distractions for the driver, and make the roads safer for everyone.