Car Safety for Pets

May 02, 2023
By: Adriana Valle

The State of Connecticut does not legally require dogs to be restrained or secured while riding inside a vehicle. I hope that changes and pet parents are educated on the importance of securing pets during car rides. While there is no law for restraining pets, drivers can be charged under distracted-driving laws if they drive with a pet in their lap. Car safety for pets is a hot topic and a very important one. Let’s discuss.

Pets Should Only Ride Inside Vehicles

Per Orvis® News, a website dedicated to outdoor lifestyles and life with pets, “Dogs being transported in an open truck bed must be in a crate or cage or must be secured to prevent them from falling, jumping, or being thrown from the vehicle. They cite this 2009 report as their source.

While it may be legal to transport a dog in an open truck bed, it doesn’t take into account the heat, sun, and fear they may experience when riding in that manner. I prefer pets be inside the vehicle; for their protection from the elements and comfort.

Pets Should Be Restrained Inside Vehicles

Now that we’ve established that pets need to ride with you inside the cabin of your vehicle, pets should be restrained while riding inside the car. Letting them sit on your lap or ride with their heads out the window is a recipe for disaster. For various reasons, pets, and other passengers are safer when the pet or pets in the vehicle are restrained. Following are some of the key reasons why:

Pets Can Become Projectiles in an Accident

According to Progressive Insurance, “A pet left loose in the car can become a projectile in an accident and suffer serious injury or even death.” Because of the force with which a pet can be propelled on impact, the pet can injure themselves and others in the case of a vehicular accident.

Dogs with their heads out the window can be smashed in an accident, fall out due to an unexpected turn, and may even pose a threat to pedestrians.

Pets Can Cause Accidents

As stated, distracted drivers can be ticketed in the State of Connecticut because distracted drivers are dangerous drivers. Similarly to eating, texting, or putting on make-up, our reaction time and focus are affected by driving with a pet in our lap. Even if the pet is unrestrained in the back seat or cargo area, our focus can be diverted. A dog barking out the window, climbing over luggage, or stumbling around is an inevitable distraction.

When restrained, pets tend to lie down and rest during transport. While restrained, driver distractions are prevented and pets remain safe for the duration of the trip.

Pets Can Delay or Deter Help

In addition, a crated pet will allow emergency personnel to approach the car in the case of an accident. A dog that is loose in the vehicle is a deterrent for law enforcement and first responders because they can pose a danger to their safety. Especially during a stressful situation, a dog will likely bark and protect the inside of the vehicle. First responders don’t want to have to choose between their safety and yours.

Pets Can Get Lost

Cats and dogs that are loose in the car can also get lost if a good samaritan comes over to help and opens a door immediately after a collision or accident. They can also get lost if they bolt out a window or door immediately after a crash.

Moreover, nervous or excited pets have been known to run out the door at rest stops. There are endless stories of people losing their pets in transit or on vacation only to have to delay their trip to look for their pet. Sometimes, the stories end tragically or families have to head home without their beloved pet because they could not be found; another worst case scenario.

shoreline happy paws logo 2023

At Shoreline Happy Paws, our team of professional dog walkers and pet sitters is all about preparation and prevention. Transporting pets can be done safely. We encourage you to consider your safety, that of your passengers, and your pets when planning your next road trip.

We specialize in dog walking, dog hiking adventures, and pet sitting services in the following areas:

  • Old Saybrook
  • Essex, Ivoryton & Centerbrook
  • Deep River
  • Chester
  • Westbrook
  • Clinton
  • Old Lyme
  • East Lyme
  • Niantic

Certain Parts and Certain Service Hours in:

  • Lyme and Madison
  • Waterford, New London, Groton
  • Uncasville, Gales Ferry, Mystic, Noank 

Please contact us by phone or text at 860-964-0464 or via email at to learn more.

By Adriana Valle

Adriana is the owner and Chief Pet-Loving Officer at Shoreline Happy Paws. She has been a Professional Pet Sitter for over 10 years.

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