We want your pets to be safe while in your vehicle, so we've provided you with a list of things to consider when traveling with your "furry family members," compiled by http://www.consumerreports.org
The first step is to choose the right car, SUV, or minivan. That ensures you begin with something that's reliable, scored well in our testing, and performed well in government or industry crash tests
A hatchback or small wagon is perfect for smaller pets. They have room for some extra gear or a carrier, and allow sufficient space for your pet to stand up and stretch its legs. Larger dogs tend to mean bigger vehicles, especially if they're part of a larger family. SUVs are a good choice, and come in a variety of sizes to meet your needs. Minivans provide the most room, and have a lower load floor than most SUVs that makes it easier for the pets to get in and out—especially as they get older.
Whatever size you choose, keep in mind that vehicles with tie downs in the cargo area make it easy to safely secure a crate. Many wagons, SUVs, and minivans have this feature. Chances are, you'll want to keep the pets off the seats or cover them, but it's still a good idea to avoid cloth seats
If you don't want or aren't in the position to take on the added expense of a new car, there are lots of companies that make products to make traveling with pets safer and easier.
Keep in mind that none of these products have been tested in our labs. All can be found in pet stores or big box outlets, or online from suppliers like Drsfostersmith.com, Barkbuckleup.com,Frontgate.com, Ohmydogsupply.com, or Solvitproducts.com.
Available in a variety of sizes for wagons, minivans, or SUVs, a barrier gives your pet some room to move, but keeps them safely contained behind the rear seat and off the upholstery.
According to Barkbuckleup.com, a 60-lb dog traveling at 35 mph can turn into a 2,700 pound projectile in an accident. For the safety of your pet and your family, look for a harness that lets your pet sit or lie down, but will keep them restrained in an accident.
Mats and liners help protect carpets and make cleanup easier. Look for one with a 2-3 inch lip around the edge to keep spills contained
If you have a pet bed at home, you can bring it along to help keep your pet comfortable and make them feel more secure. Or get one just for your car. Beds for the cargo area are one option, as are hammocks that fit over the rear seat area.
A re-sealable container is fine, but you can find ones that are collapsible, spill proof, or both. One cool model from BarkBuckleUp.com fits in a cup holder.
Smaller and older dogs can more easily get in and out using a ramp, and it makes loading easier on your back, too. A variety of models and sizes are available. Telescoping or foldable models provide extra length without being too long to fit in your car.
Pack all your supplies in a zippered tote. If you travel often with pets, some of this stuff can just be stored in the tote at home. If you have more than one pet, the best bet is to bring a separate tote for each one. That way, you can keep their food, medications, and toys organized. Some suggestions for the tote include:
As much fun as it can be for both the pet and the family to bring Fido or Snowball along on a trip, traveling with animals generally requires a bit more planning. If you're staying in hotels, make sure they're pet friendly before you book. And keep in mind that some hotels and motels that say they allow animals may have weight limits. If you have a 200-pound Mastiff, make sure you let your hosts know ahead of time.
Dr. Ernie Ward is veterinarian, lecturer, and author based in Calabash, N.C. Dr. Ward gave us some of his own tips for traveling with pets.