Pets that are in car accidents often have several injuries that include broken bones, ruptured lunges and severe trauma, according to Ann E. Hohenhaus of the Animal Medical Center in New York City.  She says this is a result of pets not being restrained properly. When your pet is not restrained, it can become injured when it tries to jump out of the window as the car is moving. Let’s take a look at some different ways to keep your pets safe on your next road trip.

Your Vehicle

According to Consumer Reports, ensuring the safety of your pet while in your car starts with having the right car in the first place. If you have smaller pets, a hatchback or small wagon will be well-suited for you. They allow space to put extra gear or a carrier, as well as having enough room for your dog to stand up and stretch out their legs. An SUV or a minivan will give plenty of space for larger dogs. Minivans are ideal as they provide the most room and they have a lower loading floor than most SUVs do. This is helpful for older pets that have trouble getting in and out of the vehicle. Most vans and SUVs have tie downs in the cargo area, which is especially helpful for securing a crate.

Proper Restraint

A pet barrier is one way to keep your dog that is in the backseat from flying into the front seat if you stop too quickly. They are sold in a variety of sizes and are also helpful in keeping your dog off of the upholstery. When it comes to a harness for your dog, look for one that allows your dog to sit or lie down but will keep them restrained if in an accident. When purchasing a harness, be sure to measure your pet’s chest and neck to make sure you are buying the right size harness for them. One such step-in harness is the Ruff Rider Canine Vehicle Restraint that fits dogs from 6 to 150 pounds. A Doggie Seatbelt will then attach to a dog or cat’s harness. If you want two in one, look for the Bergan Auto Harness that uses caribiners that attach to the webbing of the car’s seatbelt.

Helpful Products

Having a cargo area mat or liner is very helpful to protect carpet areas and make it easier to clean if your dog has an accident. You should bring along a water bowl for your dog to make sure he stays hydrated. You can find containers that are collapsible and spill proof to make life easier. If you have an older dog, they will be able to get in and out of your car if you have a dog car ramp for them to use.

Tips for Trips

If you are on a long trip, there are several things you should do to keep them safe and happy. The first is to not let them ride with their head out of the window to avoid head injuries. Every couple of hours, stop your car so that your dog can get out, stretch his legs and have some water. Never leave your pet in the car on a hot day. Even on regular days, you need to be sure and leave the windows rolled down a few inches to make sure they get enough air. Before you take your pet out of the car, be sure to put them on a leash before opening the door.

Veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward gives some recommendations for taking your pets on a road trip. If you have a cat, he suggests making a travel litter box. Take a small cake pan and fill it with litter for your cat. If you have a dog, try giving him a new toy to travel with. Because it is new, he may enjoy passing the time away playing with it. He says to make sure to exercise your dog adequately before taking him on a trip. Take your dog on a walk as soon as you reach your destination.

Combat Motion Sickness

Sometimes pet feel nauseous, anxious or stressed out when they ride in a car. To calm a nervous stomach, try putting a few drops of lavender oil on a cloth in their crate with them. Dr. Ward says you can try giving them melatonin as this helps some pets who are anxious while traveling. Benadryl is another option. He says to give small dogs and cats 12.5 mg and larger dogs 25 mg every 4 to 8 hours.