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Archive for the 'Pet Auto Travel Safety' Category

October 21, 2016

Dog in Travel Carrier

We’re always recommending safety tips and products for pets and when it comes to extended trips, like driving cross-country or through different states, but there’s more to hitting the road when it comes to traveling with a well-restrained animal. Before you go on your adventure, check out some of these tips when it comes to traveling with your four-legged friend:

Getting Certified

According to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), a CVI (Certificate of Veterinary Inspection) is required when importing and exporting animals across state lines. But in most cases, companion animals and pets are not included when it comes to certification requirements because of these exceptions:

  1. Traveling through the state for a short period of time
  2. Being transferred directly to a specific facility
  3. Taken to a veterinarian’s location
  4. Entering the state for an exhibition, show, tournament or fair

Minimally, some states may require proof of current vaccinations and some forms of health records on an animal, so it might be easier to simply obtain a CVI from your veterinarian if you travel a great deal with your four-legged friend.

Map Your Route

Long road trips always require rest stops along the way, which are really places you can get out of your vehicle, stretch your legs and perhaps use the facilities. While animals are usually welcome at official “rest stops,” look for other pet-friendly locations on the way, like dog parks or restaurants that permit animals in outdoor eating venues.

Car Time

Lengthy time spent in an automobile or other mode of transportation can be uncomfortable for people as well as our cats and dogs. While we all know better than to leave an animal alone in a car, while we’re traveling with them, keep in mind you should:

-Carry plenty of food and water in a spill-proof, sealed container along with clean dishes
-To reduce the risk of them becoming car sick, try and feed them at least an hour before departure times
-If your animal does have a problem with motion sickness, consult with your veterinarian about possible remedies like ginger capsules available at many health food stores
-Make sure your car’s heating and air conditioning are both operating properly and use them while driving according to the outdoor temperature

Be sure you provide shade in the area where your pet will be traveling, even in the winter months, it can be uncomfortable to ride in direct sunlight for extended periods of time.

Two Dogs in the Variocage

Do Your Research

Finally, before arriving at your final destination, make sure to do some research on possible wildlife found in that particular area and whether or not they pose a threat to your pet. Most states have a website that describes the wildlife that’s indigenous to their area, usually found at a fish and game venue. While wildlife usually doesn’t pose too big of a risk for companion animals, it’s always better to be safe and aware rather than uninformed and at risk to exposure.

Enjoy your time on the road with your pet and make the journey as comfortable as possible for everyone involved. There’s no reason we can’t be safe and secure when we’re traveling on the road with our animals.

By Amber Kingsley

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Pet-Friendly Hotel Chains on the Road

Author: MayaAndPierson
September 15, 2016

Not all pet-friendly hotels are created equal since pet policies and fees will vary. For example, some hotels may only allow pets smaller than 25 pounds, while others may only accept dogs.

With so many hotel chains on the road, you may be thinking about hitting the open road with your four-legged friends. To help make your planning easier, here are some popular hotel chains that are more than welcoming to pets.

Motel 6 August 2014 Maya & Pierson

Motel 6 has been Maya & Pierson’s #1 hotel choice ever since we got stuck in an ice storm in Oklahoma during the 2013 holiday season.

#1 Motel 6

This budget minded hotel chain was one of the first chains to allow pets. Conveniently located along all major highways, Motel 6 is a favorite among travelers looking for a stay along their travel route. All Motel 6 properties allow service animals and well-behaved pets (unless they pose a safety risk or are prohibited by law). And the best part is that they stay for free.

#2 Red Roof Inn

This hotel chain does a great job of welcoming your four-legged friend; in fact, they even have a Facebook page dedicated to them called “Red Roof Luvs Pets.” All of Red Roof Inns 345 locations are pet-friendly and all of them allow pets to stay for free. Their motto is, “You Stay Happy, Pets Stay Free!” (note from blog owner: Perhaps Red Roof has changed their policy because we have been charged pet fees at some locations.)

#3 La Quinta

Well behaved pets are welcomed at all but 4 of their 800+ La Quinta locations. La Quinta is known for offering quality service and providing its guests with many of the features and amenities offered at high-end hotels. Most importantly, La Quinta does not charge pet fees. When booking online, be sure to mention that you are traveling with your pet in the “Special Requests” section. If calling to book, be sure to let the reservation agent know.

#4 Kimpton Hotels

Kimpton Hotels are a super pet-friendly boutique hotel chain that raises the bar when it comes to being pet-friendly. As part of their program, hosPETality, in addition to pets staying free, any number of pets are welcome regardless of size, weight, kind, or breed. Each Kimpton Hotel offers its unique pet-friendly services and amenities. Be sure to check them out if you are looking for some serious pet pampering.

#5 Indigo Hotels

Many of the Indigo Hotels will call you before your arrival to see if they can enhance your stay beyond your expectations. On arrival, you will receive a dog goody basket. Hotel Indigo in Downtown Asheville, for example, even offers custom dog treats with your pet’s name on.

They will also provide you with bowls, beds, toys and complimentary scoop bags. One unique feature of their pet-friendly program are their canine cocktail parties, known as Yappy Hour. During this hour, guests, their four-legged friend, and locals mingle over cocktails and snacks. The best part is that some of the money raised goes to the local animal shelter.

Indigo Hotels do have some weight restrictions in place, which differ between the individual hotels, and they also charge a one-time fee that ranges between $40 to $75.

#6 Loews Hotels

On arrival, you will receive a welcome package that includes treats, a golden pet tag, bowls, scoop bags and vouchers for local pet-friendly establishments. In your room, you will find comforts such as beds, litter trays, scratching posts, rawhide bones and even pet DVDs. They also offer pet services, such as pet-sitting and pet-walking.

Loews Hotels endeavor to wait on your paw and foot, and they have room service menus that have been especially created for pets by their award-winning chef. If your pet is the adventurous type, then you can head over to Loews Hotel, San Diego, where they hold dog surfing competitions. If your dog would rather spend the day being pampered, then consider visiting the Loews Hotels in St Pete Beach, where they offer a professional canine therapeutic service.

All pets are welcome, and they have a one-time fee, which is between $25 to $35.

When staying at any of these pet-friendly hotels, you must always register your pet upon check-in. Also, it’s important to abide by the house rules and follow proper pet etiquette to ensure that you and your dog, cat, or another furry friend is welcomed back.

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Pet Travel Infographic

Author: MayaAndPierson
June 8, 2016

Below is a great pet travel infographic made by Amber Kingsley. It should be briefly noted that the information on pet crates may be misleading. For one, the best crash tested crates do not always have handles. Nor are they necessary since it would be difficult to lift a heavy-duty crate and a large dog anyway. Also, having your dog ride in a pet crate is better than letting them roam loose in the car, but most crates are not crash tested. In fact, a third party did testing on the typical plastic crates and found they would not hold up in a car accident. So if you’re wanting a crash tested crate, consider the German engineered Variocage pet travel cage. It has been crash tested in multiple crash test scenarios and meets or beats many European standards for safety.

Pet Travel Tips Infographic

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10 Travel Tips When Riding With Rover

Author: MayaAndPierson
June 2, 2016

Maya Labrador Wearing Allsafe Dog Car Seat Belt

By Amber Kingsley

When driving with our dog, usually an image of them with their head out the window, their tongues and ears flapping in the breeze, but this is the most dangerous place for your dog. As any parent of a human child knows, the safest place for smaller riders is in the back seat.

A dog with their head out a window is at risk of falling out of the vehicle, being struck by debris, getting an ear or lung infection, but the biggest threat comes from the car’s airbag. Since they’re designed for full grown adults, not children and canines, a blow from one of these can cause serious injury or even death to a dog.

Don't Let Your Dog Put Head Out Window

If I were actually driving with my dog Maya having her head out the window, she could be hurt by flying debris or choked if I stop suddenly.

Here’s ten other tips to remember when we’re riding with our best friend:

#1 – Stopping in The Summer: Beware of black asphalt and sidewalks in the searing summer heat. They can easily burn a dog’s sensitive paws, so “pause” and feel the surface with your bare hand before you let Fido out of the car.

#2 – Bring Water: Always bring water along for the ride, even on short distances. Be sure to watch for signs of dehydration in your pet

#3 – Consider a Crate: An enclosure for your pet is also the safest way for them to travel. Many people don’t realize that flying objects in a car can cause injury or death in the event of an accident.

#4 – Buckle Up: If you don’t want to use a crate, then be sure to buckle up your pet by attaching their harness to seat belt or other device. If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident, an unrestrained animal can escape through a broken window putting them in danger.

Dog Pierson on Pet Travel Flat Seat in Car 2

#5 – Don’t Leave Them Alone: We all know the dangers of keeping a dog in a car that’s either too hot or too cold, but your precious pooch could also be stolen.

#6 – Plan Ahead: If you’re going on a long journey, check your route for some pet-friendly destinations to stop along the way. And not just dog parks, a growing number of hotels and restaurants allow dogs.

#7 – Keep Them Busy: Bring along some of their favorite toys and treats. Just like children, bored animals can be very distracting when you’re trying to drive.

#8 – Stop Regularly: Just like the driver and other passengers, especially on long journeys, you’ll want to stop, get out and stretch your legs. You dog might want to relieve themselves, and they obviously can’t say, “I have to go to the bathroom.”

#9 – Keep An Eye On Them: While most dogs who are traveling safely either in a crate or buckled up in the back seat, usually they’ll just go to sleep. But keep an eye on them for signs they could be getting restless or car sick and pull over if necessary.

#10 – Start Out Slow: Before you take your dog on a cross country trip or other extended holiday, start off with shorter trips and work your way up to several hours with them in the car. They’ll be less stressed and also less likely to become car sick.

We don’t have to leave our pets at home when we go on road trips or vacations, but we do need to keep them safe. With just a little bit of extra planning and these tips, you and your best friend can have the time of your life on the road.

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November 13, 2015

Dog Maya Goofy Grin Kurgo Harness

By: Derek Petersen

It’s that time of year that a lot of people will be traveling to see friends and family. If you’re like me, you take your furry friends on the road with you. Athena (my Siberian Husky) and Boston (my Chocolate Lab) always get so excited when they know it’s time for a ride in the car. Their eyes widen, ears perk up, and their tails start to wag. Little do they know that it’s not for a short trip, but were heading on an 8-hour drive to see the family. I find that waiting until the last minute to say “want to go for a ride,” works in my favor. Little do they know that I’ve been prepping them for this ride the last couple of days.

There are tips on traveling safe with your pet while in the car, but there are variables that you need to think about before putting your pet in the car for a long road trip. Taking these steps to prepare your dog for a long road trip is imperative to their health and wellbeing during your road trip this year.

Here are some easy steps to follow to ensure your dog has a great road trip:

Step #1:

Feed your dog early. Your pet’s travel-feeding schedule should start with a light meal three to four hours prior to departure. It’s important to feed your dog a few hours early to help prevent motion sickness.

2 Shelties in the Variocage Compact XLStep # 2:

Prepare your vehicle for your pet. It’s recommended that you crate your dog for long road trips. If you don’t normally crate your dog, it may be time to rethink that decision. Crating your dog will create less of a distraction while you drive (especially while driving by yourself) which is safer for the both of you. Also, a crate helps to prevent your dog from becoming a projectile if you have to stop urgently, reducing the chance of injury for both of you. A best practice is to exercise your dog before putting them into the crate. A dog that has exercised is more likely to relax in the crate, while dogs who haven’t exercised will have built up anxiety and may not be willing to accept the crate.

Paw Print Pet Organizer Bag / PouchStep #3:

Pack a bag with all of your dog’s goodies: dog food, treats, bottled water, dog leashes, waste bags and dog toys (their favorite toy, of course). This pet friendly travel kit should also contain portable dog bowls, dog documents, and a dog first aid kit. Keep the leashes handy, as you will be making frequent stops.

Step #4:

Now that you have prepared your dog and vehicle for the trip ahead, it’s time to plan the stopping spots. If you’re traveling on major freeways or highways, you can count on having rest areas (that almost always have a “pet section”) to stop and let your dog out. There are times you might need to stop and get food, but no matter where you stop, don’t ever leave your dog in the car. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked vehicle can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop. On a cold day, a vehicle can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing your dog to possibly freeze to death.

Now we’ve gone through the steps in preparing your dog(s) for a long road trip, and you should be ready for the road ahead. Always continue to learn the best practices in keeping your family, pets, and yourself safe in your vehicle at all times. Buckle up and enjoy your trip!

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October 13, 2015

Variocage Safety Dog Travel Cage After Car Accident

In determining the best way to protect your best pal when he rides in the car consider your personal preferences, your dog’s behavior, and the type of vehicle you have (a car or an SUV?)….

Continue reading this article about crash tested pet travel products on PetAutoSafety.

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The New Pet Auto Safety

Author: MayaAndPierson
October 7, 2015
Maya Labrador AllSafe Dog Car Harness

“Changes? What sort of changes? Will I still get my daily treats and walks? Yes? Oh good. I don’t mind change then.”

Changes to the Pet Auto Safety retail site are coming soon!

By Dawn Ross is making a change. As the owner of this site, I’m still going to be traveling safe with my family. But instead of selling pet travel safety products, I’ll be directing you to the places that do. I am changing the site to provide information rather than products. This way, you can do your research on crash testing and such here before buying from anyone.

By providing information, I can help you make an informed decision regarding what to buy. I’ve been selling and using pet travel products for my dogs since 2006, so I have lots of experience.

If you want the safest product for your pet, I know who the best companies are. If you want a less expensive product but one that still provides a measure of safety, I know where to look. If you have a dog that can’t ride in a crate and won’t wear a harness, I know of some alternative products. And if you need a unique pet travel product, I might have some ideas on where look for it.

It’s not just information on products that I’ll provide, though. I have some great ideas for how to get dogs used to riding in the car. I can help you with a checklist so that you don’t forget any of your pet’s things when you travel. And with the help of some folks who are very familiar with crash testing, I can help you understand crash test studies and crash testing information.

Thank you for supporting me through this change. J

Please feel free to comment below and tell me what you’d like to see on our new site.

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The Truth About Pet Safety

Author: MayaAndPierson
September 21, 2015

Variocage Dog Travel Cage for SUVs

Article by Richard Casey with 4×4 North America:

4×4 North America and our partner, MIM Construction AB, appreciate all efforts to raise awareness about traveling safely with pets. We are gravely concerned, however, about the dissemination of incomplete and inaccurate information about travel safety and crash dynamics, as it is counterproductive to traffic safety efforts. How one travels with pets can mean the difference between life and death for people and pets in an accident, so providing accurate information and sound recommendations is of paramount importance.

Automobile safety ratings incorporate testing for frontal impact, rear impact and rollover performance. This is because automobile safety agencies recognize the unique and significant risks posed to passengers in each of these crash scenarios. They also understand automobile safety features, such as cargo areas and crumple zones, and how they must respond to protect passengers during accidents.

MIM Construction AB has been working in automotive crash safety since 1986. Our MIM Safe Variocage – an automobile dog crate – has been stringently tested in accordance with government automotive crash safety standards in front impact, rear impact and rollover. It has been strategically engineered with the safety of everyone in mind – both people and pets. It has a proven track record of safety for over a decade.

Testing dog crates solely for frontal impact, and not incorporating actual vehicle safety features or assessing the impact to human occupants, presents an extremely limited and false representation of real crashworthiness and safety. Proposing that vehicle cargo hooks and cargo straps alone can adequately protect passengers from heavy cargo, such as a dog crate, contradicts safety recommendations made by national automotive safety agencies and automobile manufacturers, putting families and their pets at increased risk of serious injury and loss of life.

We believe that there should be regulations for traveling with pets and standardized testing for assessing the safety of pet travel products. It is critical, however, that these regulations and standards incorporate all aspects of crash testing and work together with vehicle safety features. This is the ONLY way to help people travel safely with their pets.

For further information and/or questions please feel free to contact us:

Richard Casey
4×4 North America, Inc.


(Note from the blog owner: 4×4 North America is not a partner of, affiliate for, or parent company of Nature by Dawn, LLC for and They are our supplier of AllSafe dog car harnesses and Variocage dog crate products and we strongly endorse them. 4×4 North America is the primary US distributor for these products, which are engineered by MIM and KleinnMetall in Germany. These two German companies have over 40 years of combined experience with developing crash tested products for pets. Their experience with pet travel safety is far greater than any independent studies conducted here in the US. While US institutions for pet safety do exist, they are fairly new and are still learning their trade. This is not to say that some aspects of their testing are not valid, but their testing may not be complete. This is an important factor to consider when making a decision on which pet travel safety product to buy for your dog. If you have any questions about the AllSafe and Variocage products and their European crash testing, please contact 4×4 North America as indicated above.)

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April 29, 2015

No, it’s not Wordless Wednesday. It’s Words on Wednesday because I can’t seem to post without saying anything! This time, it is my Maya that has something to say. Check her out in the back seat wearing her Kurgo dog car harness and have a good laugh at what she has to say:

Labrador Maya Kurgo Dog Car Harness Muddy Seat

Labrador Maya in Kurgo Dog Car Harness Spelling Vet

And just so my Pierson isn’t left out, here’s what he has to say about car ride fun:

Pierson Journey Vet Dog Car Harness

Funny, right? Seriously though, check out this important safety message:

Dog Left in Hot Car

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Pros and Cons Series – The Pet Dek

Author: MayaAndPierson
April 17, 2015

The Pet Dek is a great pet travel product for giving your dogs a more room in the back seat of your car. It has a number of other wonderful benefits and features. As with every product, though, there are some things you need to consider. Our purpose in sharing both the pros and the cons is to make sure you have enough information to make an informed decision before you purchase one. We wrote a review on the Pet Dek last year, but the product has had improvements made on it since then.

Improved Pet Dek with Wrapped Carpet

The mat or carpet of the Pet Dek now wraps around the edges. (The earlier model did not.)

Covering – The Pet Dek is covered with a longer mat, allowing it to wrap around the edges.

Pet Dek with Sloped Back Seat

Notice how the back seat of cars tends to slope downward. And notice how the Pet Dek resolves any issues this slope might cause.

No Slope – The back seat of cars slopes downward. The Pet Dek has a rounded projection under it so that it can be completely horizontal with no sloping. This also prevents any rocking should your dog step on the edges.

Holds 200 Pounds

Legs – In my post from last year, I mentioned that I had problems with one of the legs. The manufacturer was made aware of this and the design has been improved. There are no more issues with the legs. By following the installation instructions of this product, the legs will lock in place easily.

Made in USA

Vents Uncovered – The Pet Dek will not cover back seat air vents.

Storage – The Pet Dek easily folds up and fits in the trunk or cargo area. Folded size is 23″ x 24″ x 4″.

Easy to Carry – The Pet Dek weighs 12 pounds. When it is folded, there is a handle that makes it easy to carry.

Easy In/Easy Out – It can take less than a minute to set up the Pet Dek. And less than a minute to take it back out again.

Access to Front Console – If your dog is free to move about in the back seat, the Pet Dek may make it easier for him to step on the center console. This might be a dangerous distraction to the driver. If you are concerned about this issue, there are simple console pet car barriers made out of a canvas material that can block this space.

Back Seat of Car with Raised Center Console

Notice how the center of this back seat is raised? If this is a permanent feature in your car, the Pet Dek may not work.

If Your Back Seat has a Raised Center Console – If you have a raised center console in the back seat like pictured above, the Pet Dek may not work.

Back Seat of Car with Side-Wells

This back seat may not be ideal for the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat. Notice the side-wells of this car. If they stick out too much, it may keep the Pet Dek from going all the way back against the seat.

If Your Seats Have Side-wells – If your seat has curved edges on the ends (I call them side-wells), there will be a gap between the Pet Dek and the back of the seat. I use pillows to fill the 1 1/2 inch gap (see below). One good thing about this gap, though, is that I have easy access to the seat belt housings, which is I used to buckle my dogs in.

The Car Pet Dek with Dogs Maya & Pierson

There is a gap between the Pet Dek and the back of my seat, so I put the grey padding there to cover the space. You can’t tell very well from this image, but there is also a small gap between the Pet Dek and the front seats.

Front Gap – Because the Pet Dek is just one size, there is probably going to be a gap between the edge of the Pet Dek and the front seats. If your dogs are buckled in like mine are, this won’t be an issue. But if your dog is free to move around, you may want to place something like pillows in those gaps so that your dog doesn’t step through.

Size Not Adjustable – As indicated above, the Pet Dek is just one size – 23″ x 40″ x 2″. There should be no problem with this pet travel product fitting into most vehicles, but just be aware that there might be a gap as indicated above.

Not Crash Tested – It is not known how the Pet Dek will hold up in a rollover, side impact, or front or back impact car accident. As of the date of this post, I am not aware of whether any products similar to the Pet Dek have been crash tested.

If you’re like me, you are looking at the Pet Dek because you want to make your big dog (or dogs) more comfortable in the back seat. Considering how narrow the back seat of most cars are, I find that the pros of the Pet Dek far outweigh the cons. My dogs Maya and Pierson can still wear their dog car harnesses. And depending on which car harness brand I have them wear, they can still stretch out their legs and be more comfortable on those long road trips. There is no more sliding off the seat when I have to stop suddenly and they don’t have to hug the back seat because of the seat slope.

If you have any questions about the Pet Dek pet travel product, please comment below or email us at If you already have the Pet Dek and want to share your experience, please feel free.

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