Buckling Fido in is just as important as keeping Sally in a car seat

A dog shouldn't be buckled in the front seat or let to roam a car freely - he should be in the backseat or in a carrier in the back.
A dog shouldn’t be buckled in the front seat or let to roam a car freely – he should be in the backseat or in a carrier in the back.

In my life, there are no children. All of my nephews and nieces are grown. I am responsible for one smaller than me though – a dog by the name of Toby.

Being responsible for a pet means making sure he or she is adequately fed and healthy. Also, that he or she is kept safe – at home, outdoors or in the car.

Traveling with a pet by car involves just as much precaution as putting your child in a car seat. I learned this firsthand this week. Toby and I were traveling around downtown Marshall, and were circling the downtown square, when out of nowhere, a car comes zooming up a road- almost careening into me and causing those behind me to slam on brakes.

Toby was in the back seat, and for the first time in a while, I had not buckled him in. He comes flying to the front – my hand automatically reached out, and deflected him from crashing onto the front dash or window. He did bump his noggin (see the picture) on the console – but not hard.

I joked with a friend of mine from the Marshall Police Department that Toby would have been listed as a passenger if that had been an actual crash.

All joking aside, it made me nervous. Toby is my responsibility – I don’t see my dog as my child, but we are pretty close.

So I went online looking for pet safety in a car. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offered the following  tips for traveling in a car with your dog or cat.

First of all, prep your pet for a trip. Take short roads trips so he or she will be prepared for a longer trip if you are planning a trip to see the parents or take a US tour.

Keep your dog or cat safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier or keep him buckled in a harness in the back seat. Don’t let him ride with his head out the window, and certainly don’t let him or her ride in the driver’s seat with you. It may look cute to have Fido or Fidette drive in your lap – but you are taking all sorts of safety risks.

If you are going on a long trip, keep a pet-friendly travel kit. Bring a bowl, a little food, some water, a favorite toy,  medication, first aid, leash, harness and a pillow.  If it is just a short trip around town – a bowl and a water bottle is a good idea – keep the dog hydrated.

Never, never leave your dog alone in a parked vehicle. In hot weather, the car can be like a furnace. In cold weather, a car can act like a fridge.

Lastly, just throwing this in here -quit texting and driving and quit talking on the cell phone and driving. Driving is for driving.


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