Many Montana residents wouldn’t consider going on a weekend camping trip without their dogs. Many of us also drive our dogs to all sorts of places around town — the dog park, the groomer, the kids’ softball games, and of course, the dreaded vet.
Montana, like most states, doesn’t have specific laws requiring that dogs be secured in a carrier, by a harness or other restraint while in a vehicle. However, for everyone’s safety (including your dog’s), it’s best not to allow them free rein in the car. They can pose a major distraction to you while you’re driving. They can also be seriously injured if you’re in an accident or even if you have to stop suddenly.
Here are some tips for making your trips with your four-legged buddy safer for everyone:
- Invest in a dog car seat with a restraint that lets them get comfortable but doesn’t allow them to get out of it.
- Bring a toy and blanket to help your dog feel secure and keep them occupied.
- Secure any objects that could become projectiles and strike your dog.
- Don’t try to feed your dog treats or pet them while you’re driving. If they’re having an issue, pull over and deal with it. If you’re on a long trip, it’s a good idea know where there are pet-friendly rest stops and other areas where your dog has access to grass and can stretch their legs.
- Never let your dog stick their head out the window. It might look cute on TV, but it’s dangerous. It wouldn’t take much for them to go flying from the car.
Even if you’re careful when your dog rides in the car with you, not everyone is. If you’re involved in an accident caused by a distracted pet owner, make sure that you seek the compensation you need to deal with medical bills, auto repair costs and other expenses.