Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota Helps Pet Owners Prepare for Holiday Car Trips

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The clinic offers tips for driving in the car with animals during the holiday season.

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With the holidays approaching, there are sure to be lots of road trips and long car rides to visit friends and family. For pet owners bringing their pets with them, Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota wants to make sure they are safe in the car.

In Minnesota, it’s “Click It or Ticket,” so it’s important to buckle up as soon as one gets into the car. Cars have seatbelts and airbags to keep everyone safe, but how can pet owners keep their pets safe in the car?

First off, never let an animal go loose in the car. For cats, use a carrier that is the right size for the cat. For small animals, use a transportable cage or a small carrier. If rescuing an animal such as an injured bird or baby raccoon, use a carrier or cage to transport the animal to an emergency clinic or wildlife rescue rehabilitation center. Many people put a wild animal in a cardboard box, and they just use the four flaps to close the box. The scared, confused animal will try to get out. If that animal gets out, people risk being injured or getting into a car accident.

What about dogs, especially large dogs? They tend to lie down in the backseat or sit in the passenger seat. This means a loose, unsecured animal is in the car. This is not safe. Just like people need to be buckled for a reason, so do dogs.

Think about the following scenarios:

  •     The driver slams on the brakes.
  •     The car gets in an accident.
  •     The pet crashes into the dashboard, the back of the front seats, or even worse, through the windshield.
  •     The pet might stick his/her head out the window and get hit.
  •     A paw could accidentally open the window further and the dog might jump out.
  •     A paw could accidently close the window while the dog’s head is sticking out.
  •     The dog might distract the driver by sitting in their lap, licking their face, or brushing up against them.
  •     The dog might jump down to where the brake and gas pedals are.

None of these scenarios end well. It’s important to understand how to restrain a dog when going on a car ride. There are several options:

  •     Traveling Kennel or Carrier: This is pretty basic. Just make sure the pet has room to be comfortable in the kennel or carrier. The only downside is that a kennel or carrier could move or fall off a seat, etc. while the car is in motion. For that reason, it’s best to loop the seatbelt through the back of the carrier or a handle on the top.
  •     Box Car Seat: Invest in a car seat for the dog that clips into the seatbelt or is fastened around a seat. This will keep the container from bouncing around or falling off the seat, and keeps the dog safe.
  •     Harness: Make sure to get a harness that fits the pet correctly and has a way to clip into the seatbelt.
  •     Seat Saver: This item connects to the back of the heads of the captain seats and to the heads of the backseat to create a dog hammock in the car. It keeps the pet content in the back of the car and safe from moving around.

Every pet owner should go invest in something that will keep their furry family member safe. No matter what pet owners choose, they should always make sure it’s the right size and fit for their pet. For more information, visit Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota online at

About the company:
Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota (AERC) started out with one clinic, one veterinarian, and one technician. Today, they employ a wide variety of doctors and health care team members – all specially trained in emergency and critical care--in addition to a growing referral practice for when pets just aren't feeling like themselves. For more information, please visit their website at

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