Dog inside a box

​Tips and rules for transporting pets in your car

If you're thinking about your hairy dog getting some fresh air with its head out the window, you need to know what the Brazilian legislation says about that

May 6, 2019 - Flapping ears, tongue sticking out, head out of the car window and that electrifying look. Does your dog love to ride like that? It can be super-fun, but it's also dangerous and (you may not know it) but it’s an offense under the law in various countries, such as Brazil. After all, if there are regulations to transport children, why would there not be any for the furry (or feathery or scaly ...) members of the family?

According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), responsible for conducting the demographic census in the country, since 2015 there are more pets than children in the homes of the traditional Brazilian family. And, just because they do not need a car seat it doesn't mean that you can carry them any way you wish. This is important not only for their safety, but for yours and everyone else's in your car.

This is because those dear little animals often cause distractions or blockages that can affect your driving. Not to mention that some enjoy "la Vida Loca" and might try to jump out from the moving car! "In a collision, your pet can even be thrown against the other occupants of the vehicle", warns Vilson Tolfo, FCA's Regulatory and Homologation manager for Latin America.

So, first of all, they simply cannot be loose in the car. The Brazilian Traffic Code, which we use as a reference for this text, prohibits this practice and, in three articles, provides punishments and fines for those who fail to comply. Let's get to it:

Article 169 warns of the dangers of "driving without paying attention to safety", which is the case of having a free, light and loose animal there, especially if it's in the front (or, even worse, on the driver's lap). Article 235, alerts against "driving people, animals or cargo on the external parts of the vehicle, except in duly authorized cases". So can you have the animal in the bed of your truck? The head (or any part of body) out of the car falls into this category, so forget it. Finally, article 252, item II, prohibits "driving the vehicle while carrying people, animals or cargo on the left or between the arms and legs".

Well, now that you know what not to do, let's get to the tips on how to transport pets correctly. As you can guess, this will depend on the type of pet you have. We are talking about species, size and behavior. Basically, what you need is to make sure they are safe and restrained but comfortable enough so they don't risk putting their bodies out of the vehicle, hurt themselves with the movements of the car or disturb you while you drive. For this, there are some tips to follow:

A transport box:

1. Use a transport box: you know those creatures that hate cars but love boxes? Exactly: cats. This is, then, a great way to make your kitty stay quiet, comfortable, safe and without any desire to jump in your face right when you switch lanes. It's easy to find transportation boxes specially made for these cases (the ones you attach to your seat belt) at specialty stores. They are also great for carrying small dogs.

2. Use a seatbelt: Do not confuse A seatbelt with THE seatbelt. We are not talking here about the seat belt you already have in the car, but a specific model for the pet. It costs less than the transportation box and is like a leash, but specifically made for this purpose, so it will not choke the dog when you brake. This is because it secures the animal by the chest to the seat belt or the Isofix system of the vehicle, so that it is contained to one side of the rear seat. You will need to adjust the distance so that your pet is neither too loose nor too tight. It's ideal for those grown up animals that don't fit very well in the box or seat of which we are going to talk about now.

3. Use a special seat: It's kind of like a "baby car seat", just for pets. In fact, it is a kind of basket that, because it’s not closed like the box; you also need to have the animal buckled up. These seats are usually quite comfortable and work for smaller dogs, especially those who feel too confined in a transport box.

A transport box

4. Use a safety grid railing: If your dog is one of those big ones (or the desperate kind), none of the above solutions will suit your pet, so you will need to accommodate it in the trunk. Important note: it's not allowed (nor would it be nice of you) to carry animals in closed trunks, such as sedans. In any other, you can install a safety net, to prevent the smart guy from joining you and cause you to get a fine/accident. In addition to the crate, you may want to put a safety mat too, which protects the vehicle and gives the animal more grip. Or, invest in a "dog bag", which is like a tent that comfortably accommodates your dog in the trunk, and also prevents it from accessing the cabin of the vehicle.

5. Use a cage: If your pet is a bird, a reptile, a small mammal (such as a hamster) or other such animal, take it in a cage, so that it stays steady and secure (you can use the seatbelt in the back seat or the vehicle floor behind one of the front seats). Also make sure that the contents of the cage won't hurt the pet with the movement of the vehicle, of course. And cover the cage with a cloth, or it will be a rather stressful ride, especially for the birds...

6. Use a plastic bag with water: but, please, only if the animal is a fish and the trip is not very long, OK? As with the cage, try to accommodate the bag so as to not injure the animal.

These tips solve the problem of infractions. But more than that, they solve the problem of traffic safety, which is the main issue. This, in addition will prevent your pet from getting injured or irritated during the transportation. Remember that your pet will have a hard time hanging on in a moving vehicle, so drive more gently when it’s with you. If you are traveling then you have to take extra care so your friend does not get nauseous, dehydrated or sick. And one last tip: leave the windows closed, but open them enough so air can circulate in the cabin. Those creatures love that!

Words: Daniel Schneider

Pictures: Marketing

This content is part of the participation of our FCA Latam Stories’ website for the Yellow May Awareness month of 2019. The Yellow May Awareness month is a global movement among governments, business entities and the civil society, to draw attention to the importance of traffic safety. Check out the other contents here and here.

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