Tips for Pennsylvanians Traveling with Pets During the Holiday Season

As Pennsylvanians prepare for Christmas travels to celebrate with family and friends, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) District 10 offers tips for those travelling with pets. It’s important for motorists travelling with their pets to avoid distracted driving and to keep every member of their family safe while on the road.

According to a 2019 Harris Poll study on pet car safety, 69% of Americans consider pets family members and “increasingly, pets are travel companions.” Of this group, 97% drive with their pet and 84% don’t think pet safety in vehicles is properly addressed.
PennDOT’s District 10 reminds all pet owners who travel with their pets:
  • It is dangerous for pets who are not crated or harnessed in any vehicle, especially during long trips.
  • Additionally, unrestrained pets can become a dangerous distraction for drivers.
  • Drivers should always safely restrain their pets using a secure harness or a carrier, placed in a location clear of airbags.
  • Also, drivers should never drive with their pets in the bed of a truck.
  • Last, do not leave your pet in an unattended vehicle. It is the law.
Along with the American Humane Society, PennDOT also offers the following tips in preparation for a long trip with your pet:
  • To avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety, work your pet up to longer trips by taking shorter treks before taking on a long expedition.
  • Just in case you and your pet become separated, be sure that all ID tags are properly affixed to your pet’s collar and that they have your current contact information, including cell number(s).
  •  Update your microchip registration and pet license information to ensure it’s current, and consider including the name and phone number of an emergency contact.
  • Never allow pets to sit on your lap or remain in the front seat while you drive.
  • Never allow pets to stick any portion of their bodies out the window. Although most dogs love to stick their heads out open windows, the wind can seriously irritate mucous membranes and blow pieces of grit or other debris into their eyes.
  • Pets could also be seriously injured by objects as you drive down the road. Pets should never be transported in the bed of a pickup truck. Not only could your pet injure, or even kill himself/herself – he/she could cause an accident which may harm someone else. It is estimated that at least 100,000 dogs die in accidents each year because they were riding in truck beds.
  •  Do not leash your pet inside of a truck bed even when parked to avoid strangulation hazards and because open truck beds do not provide any protection from the weather.