Dangers on the Road: Hot Cars, Loose Pets

 We love a road trip. Whether it’s a run to the dog park, a weekend getaway or a vacation, people love to travel with their pets. The fun starts as soon as we leave the driveway and hit the pavement. Unfortunately, many pet owners don’t think about buckling up their pet, even though they don’t think twice about buckling up themselves.

That’s why, as veterinarians, our clients rely on us to remind them that pets are vulnerable when they travel, and that proper restraint is critical if we are to protect our pets from injury – or even death – due to an accident on the road. We also need to remind pet owners of the dangers associated with rising temperatures in a parked vehicle and how quickly a pet left inside can succumb to the heat.

A new AVMA web page, as well as two informational posters, helps you spread both of these messages to your clients, and you can download each of the posters for free. Display them in your practice; hand them out when you visit a school or the local civic center; ask the local supermarket or convenience store to post them in the window or on the door. Their messages are short and direct, but the lessons learned will go a very long way toward protecting our beloved pets.

Also, remember to educate your clients about the risk of dogs riding in the back of pickup trucks. As you know, that is especially dangerous for the dogs for several reasons.

3 thoughts on “Dangers on the Road: Hot Cars, Loose Pets

  1. Indeed it’s a shame that so many pets get run over but I have seem some interesting dog accessories that promised to avoid this kind of situation. One of the best ideas I’ve seen was a dog collar and least that has LED lights in it to increase your visibility when you’re walking your dog in the dark. I know at first it seems like a Christmas tree decoration but if you are out in the dark and have to walk your dog in an area without any sidewalks you get noticed by drivers from a safe distance.

  2. This is a really important topic yet. I think the two issues are different. It certainly is important to have pets see their veterinarian regularly. Transport in vehicles in general needs to remain safe as well. I also live in a rural area where dogs still ride in the back of pick-ups, but it is a lot less than years past with consistent education on the heartbreaking mishaps of pets falling or leaping out of the truck. We saw fractured acetabulums on a regular basis from dogs hitting the pavement from being loose in the back of pick up trucks.
    The link to the poster page is excellent as it gives a lot of other information, including a great video with an Animal Control officer who deals with calls regularly on pets left in cars on warm days. Just last week I was leaving a parking lot where a dog was in a vehicle on an 80 degree day, windows slightly cracked. I had to track down someone to find the owner at this particular event as I felt an obligation to the animal to be sure it was OK. This video shows why even cracking windows is not enough to protect one’s pet in the car. Watch the video.

  3. On the one hand you tell us to promote vaccination and preventive care requiring pets visit the vet; on the other hand were telling people that carrying pets in the car is dangerous. Furthermore, people aren’t going to put the matted muddy yard dog in their car and they will ride in the back of the truck. I’m in redneck country where we can’t even keep people out of the back of pick ups.