How We Can Help You Travel Safely with Your Pet

How We Can Help You Travel Safely with Your Pet

How We Can Help You Travel Safely with Your Pet

Did you know that more than 80 percent of pet owners travel with their dogs in the car? This isn't just long-distance travel, mind you. These eight and 10 Americans are taking their dogs with them when they run errands, go shopping or take their pet on an outing.

I know that we are Pawsome Doggie are guilty of taking our dogs with us nearly every place we go. Recently, we traveled to New York City by car, and stayed in a dog-friendly hotel in Midtown Manhattan. We are loyal customers to non-pet stores that let us bring our dogs inside--we're looking at (and thanking) you True Value Hardware--and banks that not only welcome our pets but provide treats for them, too.

(Portions of this blog post originally appeared on 

Put pets in the back seat

Now if you were to pass us in our car, you likely wouldn't notice that the dogs are in the car with us. Why? Because they're usually snoozing while buckled up in the back seat.

Yesterday, January 2, was National Pet Travel Safety Day. And even though that safety holiday has come and gone, it's a good reminder to remind pet parents how to safely travel with their dogs and cats.

Our dogs always sit in the back seat. Like with children, it is the safest. And they are always attached to a seat belt.

That's right, you’ll never find our dogs sitting in our lap while we're driving. Nor will they be in the front seat of the car.

And they don’t sit in our lap for another practical purpose: At 30 and 40 pounds, the dogs are too big to sit there. But we also know it’s not safe to drive with a dog in your lap, even though you see plenty of people doing it.

Dogs on your lap could be against the law

When we were living in New Jersey and would see our neighbors driving with a dog in their lap, guess what? They could be breaking the law.

In New Jersey, there are animal anti-cruelty laws, and it is illegal to transport an unrestrained animal. If you drive with a dog on your lap, you could be pulled over and fined up to $1,000. With distracted driving laws in place to limit cellphone use, it is conceivable that you could be fined for having a dog in your lap while driving as well.

New Jersey isn't the only state that has distracted driving laws that include a pet in the lap. You might get a ticket for driving that way in these states:

  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island

Hawaii is the one state that explicitly forbids you from driving with a dog in your lap. One Hawaii TV station reports that due to a little-known law, “You can be fined $97 dollars for driving with a dog in your lap and $57 if the animal’s loose in a moving vehicle.”

There is a reason that driving with a dog in your lap could fall under the heading of distracted driving—it is unsafe to do. For you and for your pet.

Why the back seat is safest for pets

Another reason to keep your dog tethered in the back seat? An airbag going off in an accident could kill the dog if it is sitting in the front seat--even the passenger seat.

And one more reason for seat-belting your dog in the back? An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert roughly 300 pounds of pressure, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert approximately 2,400 pounds of pressure. Imagine how hurt your dog could end up in the unlikely event of hurtling around inside your car during a crash.

Now if you're hesitant to put your dog in the back seat because you don't want it covered in dog hair, here's great news: Pawsome Doggie is now carrying large car seat covers for dogs that are bench style and specifically designed to go in the back seat. Better yet these are dog car seat covers with seatbelt holes--meaning it will be easier to buckle them up. Plus, these dog car seat covers feature popular NFL football and college teams so you can show your team or school spirit.

Below are our dogs Oscar and Sadie in the car with our University of Michigan car seat cover for dogs.

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