(Coppell, TX) - Many American travelers won’t leave home this holiday without their pets, and AAA Texas wants drivers and their four-legged friends to eat, bark and be merry during holiday road trips. An estimated 46 million households own dogs and travel near and far with their pet by their side. AAA reminds drivers to take safety precautions before they leave the driveway with their pets this season.
“Taking your attention away from the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of being involved in a crash,” said AAA Texas/New Mexico Representative Doug Shupe. “When traveling with your pet, drivers must concentrate on the road at all times and they should pull over and stop if they need to tend to a pet during a road trip.”
AAA Texas also advises:
•While taking a long road trip, pets should be confined to the backseat. Motorists can either use a carrier, or a harness attached to the car’s seatbelt. This way, the animal won’t be a distraction to the driver, and will stay put when the car door opens. Remember, a calm dog will be thrown with the same amount of force as an active dog if in a wreck.
•AAA suggests drivers stop every two hours to take a break from the wheel, and also get your pet some fresh air. This is an opportunity to feed your pet, take them outside, and keep them hydrated. If you’re travelling with a cat, it’s important to bring a litter box along for the ride. When traveling during the cold winter months and to areas where winter conditions are prevalent, animals should not spend more than a couple of minutes outside. Frostbite can set in quickly.
•To avoid car sickness, feed your pet a small meal at least four hours before hitting the road. Never try to give your animal food or water while you’re driving.
•When driving, keep your pet safely inside the car with you. Dogs or cats who like to stick their heads out of the window can be injured by flying pieces of debris. They could also get sick by having cold air forced into their lungs. Never transport a pet in the back of an open pickup truck.
•Don’t forget to leash your pet before opening the car door. Even well-trained pets could take off if they’re not used to travelling, or if they’re in a strange place. (If your pet is a first time traveler, it may be easier to use a harness instead of a collar. They’re less likely to wiggle out of a harness.)
For more information on safe travels with your pet, and to find great deals on pet-friendly hotels and restaurants, visit AAA.com/petbook. The AAA Pet Book is also available at your nearest AAA Texas branch office. To find the closest branch near you visit www.aaa.com.