Sadly, even pets can get hurt in automobile accidents. Here are five tips for keeping your pet safe on the road.
Restrain your Pet
Looking away from the road for two seconds doubles your risk of a crash. Make sure your pet is secure and immobile in your vehicle by using a pet harness/safety belt or a pet crate. Focus on the road: for your own sake, and for the sake of your pet. According to a 2011 survey, nearly 6 in 10 respondents admitted to driving with their dog over the past year, and 65% had engaged in at least one potentially distracting activity, like petting the animal, holding or restraining it, or giving it food or treats.
Get Pet Insurance
Some auto insurance companies offer special coverage for pets, but many do not and what is offered may be insufficient to cover veterinary costs. Fortunately, you can get pet health insurance, which covers a variety of veterinary costs for sick and injured pets.
Keep your Pet Calm
After an accident your dog or cat may be scared, confused and could become aggressive or skittish. Talk softly to your pet. Approach it slowly, avoiding sudden movements. If you are not calm yourself, your pet will sense the same thing and may act out of sorts as well.
Caring for your Pet
If your dog feels cold, has a weak and rapid heart rate, or his breathing is rapid and shallow, he may be going into shock. Cover your pet with a coat or blanket to help keep warm. Keep it calm and seek veterinary attention immediately. If your pet is bleeding, place some clean sterile gauze over the wound and apply pressure. Use a tourniquet only as a last resort, and never around the neck or over a fracture or joint.
After an Accident
Stay calm! Get insurance information from the other driver and the names and contact information of nearby witnesses after making sure everyone, including your pet, is ok. Call the police and tell them the truth. Discuss the details of the accident with no one else. Report the crash to your insurance agency as soon as reasonably possible. Have an attorney, like the ones from Pritzker Law, ready on hand in the case of legal issues arising from the accident.
The road can be a dangerous place for humans and animals alike. Fortunately, there are things you can do to take precautions that reduce the risk of accidents. If one does happen, make sure your pet keeps calm and gets medical attention if needed.