It’s The Law! Buckle Up Everyone-Especially If Transporting Dogs!
Will you be driving with your dog when coming to Abalone Bay for your vacation? Of course you know it’s important to buckle up your passengers and yourself when on the road. But did you know you that the California vehicle code requires your dog to be restrained too?
According to California’s Vehicle Code:
- All animals to be restrained or contained when being transported on a load-bearing part of the vehicle,
- Unless the space is enclosed.
- Visit our website to read the exact wording of California’s Code.
Laws For Transporting Dogs In Other States
There are no federal laws restricting transporting dogs. Other states, like California, do have specific restrictions. Many laws look to protect the animal, while others focus more on protecting you and your passengers.
Before you take off cross-country or just to the vet’s office, make sure you are familiar with the laws that pertain to transporting dogs. Many states specifically require animals to be secured when transported in an open area of a vehicle. In some cases, the laws apply only to dogs.
It is best to review the state(s) you will be traveling in for their specific laws, especially as laws and regulations are frequently updated.
- Connecticut, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Rhode Island laws require transporting dogs on some part of the exterior of the vehicle, such as a pick up truck bed to be restrained or contained. While Massachusetts requires all animals to be restrained or contained, unless the space is enclosed.
- Nevada and Washington laws focus on safety and cruelty to animals, making it a misdemeanor to transport an animal in a vehicle (1) in a cruel or inhuman [sic] manner in Nevada, or (2) in a manner that will jeopardize the safety of the animal or the public in Washington.
- New Jersey will fine you at least $250 and as much as $1,000 if a law enforcement believes that you are transporting an animal is improperly. You also could potentially face charges under animal cruelty laws. The law also forbids dogs from hanging out of windows (and also riding in the beds of pickup trucks). Proper restraints needed for your pets when in New Jersey are defined as:
- buckled up with restraints specifically designed for pets, or
- safely stowed in a pet crate.
- Arizona, Connecticut and Maine can charge you using their distracted-driving laws if you have your pet on your lap.
- Hawaii is stricter in its laws. They explicitly forbid you from holding a pet on your lap.
- At least 14 states and many local jurisdictions have laws against leaving pets unattended in a vehicle. This is especially critical, no matter what state you are in, now that summer is upon us.
While none of the laws require your pet to be restrained or secured if inside an enclosed part of your car, it’s safest to do so for both your sakes. Here are a few tips on how you all can be both safe and law abiding while transporting dogs in your cars.
First Pick the Right Car
When transporting dogs its easiest to do so in a SUV, or minivan if your furry friend is large. For a smaller pet, a hatchback or small wagon would be sufficient. These cars provide space for not only your extra gear , but also a pet carrier. Look for ones with tie downs to secure a crate in the back. The important aspect is to be sure you have sufficient space to allow your pet to stand up and stretch its legs. A larger vehicle for larger dogs is definitely helpful, especially if your Great Dane is part of a larger family.
Ask your carmaker if they provide optional plastic liners and pet barriers for the cargo area. If not you are certainly able to find them available through pet stores or on the internet.
Use Car Crash-tested Crates
The safest and best way for transporting dogs to use a car crash-tested crate. You can then use this crate as your pet’s own special private room when staying at your destination.
Unfortunately there is limited information on crashworthiness of many products available to pet owners. The Center for Pet Safety continues to seek funding for these tests. You may visit their site to see the dismaying results of a generic wire crate (warning the results may be disturbing). Cesar Millan, also known on TV as the “Dog Whisper” recommends 4Pets ProLine box. Millan recommends when selecting a crate that it:
- Has durable aluminum and plastic reinforced with fiberglas
- Is designed to allow for good air circulation for ease of breathing by your pet
- Has good insulation for year round comfort
- Was produced with strict quality guidelines. Reputable brands will offer you at least a two year warranty.
- Includes the option for crash bags inside the crate for added protection in case of emergency breaking.
You may also want to consider purchasing a ramp or steps designed to help your furry passenger to climb in and out of the car effortlessly.
For those of you who prefer a safety harness for your dog, only one has thus far, passed the car crash test according to the Center for Pet Safety. The Sleepypod Clickit Sport was rated 5-stars.
Schedule Travel Breaks for Both You and Your Pet
The road up to Sea Ranch is long and winding. You’ll want to be sure to schedule plenty of breaks along the way to stretch both your legs and your pooch’s. It’s also a great opportunity to take photos of the marvelous vistas. Plan your travel time to include a break every 2-3 hours.
Pack Food, Water and Bowls
Make sure you have enough food and water. This is especially important if transporting dogs for many days or if the day is hot. Five gallons of fresh water will last the average dog about a week. Pack standard dog kibbles that your dog is accustomed to at home, but consider some other food items to stimulate his appetite and provide added energy for when your dog is too tired to eat much or sometimes anything. A meat-based canned dog food or some savory chicken noodle soup full of fat and carbohydrates poured over kibbles will usually do the trick.
We like to use a cloth bowl that zips up into itself or plastic collapsable bowls for easier storage.
Treat Your Dog As You Would Your Own Baby
Not only must you plan for frequent stretch and potty breaks; you must also NEVER leave your child or your pet in a closed car. Doing so when the weather is warm can literally be a death sentence for your both your baby and your pet.
Five reasons why leaving a dog in a hot car can be deadly are:
- Dogs are especially vulnerable to heat-related illness because they can only cool off by panting and through the pads in their feet.
- Even on seemingly mild days, an enclosed car can be deadly. In a Stanford University study, when it was 72 degrees outside, a car’s internal temperature climbed to 116 degrees within one hour.
- Enclosed cars heat up quickly. In a study by San Francisco State University, when it was 80 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car rose to 99 degrees in 10 minutes and 109 degrees in 20 minutes.
- A dog’s normal body temperature is between 101 to 102.5 degrees; a dog can only withstand a high body temperature for a short time before suffering nerve damage, heart problems, liver damage, brain damage or even death.
- Studies show that cracking the windows has little effect on a car’s internal temperature.
Bring Along a Doggy First Aid Kit
Another essential for transporting dogs is a doggy first-aid kit and any medication your pet may be on. Before you leave, discuss with your vet the items that may be needed for your dog’s kit. Be certain to have your kit and other essentials quickly accessible.
When we take our vizsla on hunting trips and on vacations with us our kit includes:
- eye wash/drops,
- doggy aspirin to help relieve soreness from over exertion
- de-skunking ingredients- you just never know with our Ana!
Checklist of Essentials to Pack
Are you ready to head off on your trip? Just use our handy checklist when transporting dogs to make sure you have all the essentials listed above, plus few other recommendations to make sure you and your pet have a fabulous vacation.
- Carrier or crate – We strongly recommend you crate your pet when staying at Abalone Bay
- Sturdy, well-fitting nylon or leather collar or harness, license tag, ID tag(s) and leash
- Birth certificate and other required documents
- Food and water dishes – Abalone Bay provides small dishes and a floor pad
- Manual can opener and spoon for canned food for when you are on the road-Abalone Bay provides both manual and electric openers
- An ample supply of food, plus a few days’ extra
- Medication, if necessary
- Healthy treats
- A blanket or other bedding – Abalone Bay has a throw for the sofa and a box of old towels in the laundry room. Please do not let your pets on the furniture with out it.
- Litter supplies and plastic bags for on the road- Abalone Bay provides litter bags. Guests must pick up after their pet to avoid added cleaning charges.
- Favorite toys
- Chewing preventative – To keep your dog from teething on the furniture
- Grooming supplies as needed
- First-aid kit
- A recent photograph and a written description, including microchip number, name, breed, gender, height, weight, coloring and distinctive markings
Are you considering a vacation with your pet at Abalone Bay? Then click on the button below to learn more about our dog-friendly oceanfront home:
What Are Your Tips for Transporting Dogs?
Do you know of other tips for transporting dogs? Have you any special stories to share with us about vacationing and traveling with your dog? We’d love to read all about your pet’s adventures and your tips in the comments.