Does my pet need to wear a seat belt in the car?

Question: Does my pet need to wear a seat belt in the car?

Answer: While no laws are requiring you to use a seat belt for your pet, there are laws are requiring you to drive undistracted, so if your pet is in your lap you may be cited for distracted driving.

You can prevent this and protect your pet by using a pet appropriate restraint. For dogs, this can be a carrier or harness. The harness needs to be purchased separately, as your seat belts will not work for your dog, but the harness will attach to your seat belts. For cats, a carrier is best.

Pets do get injured in accidents. As a matter of fact, just last week I was called to the scene of an accident with pets involved. One was DOA, and the other was critically injured (he did survive). It was a very tragic scene. And frankly quite eye-opening even to me. I have not pushed seat restraints for pets as much as I should have in my career but this recent accident has changed determination.

Even if your dog is secured, it is best in the back seat, as airbags can be dangerous to pets. Also, do not let your dog hang its head out the window, as debris can strike them, and rushing air can damage airways. Lastly, do not allow your dog to be loose in the bed of a truck, and never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle. I know, I know these are things we think our pet enjoys, but it is not worth their life or yours.

Gary Beall DVM
Chip Beall DVM
Springboro Veterinary Hospital
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