With your animal’s life at stake, you should not doubt that the animal transport company you hire will care for your animal properly and keep them safe for the duration of its trip. This can include proper restraint, meeting basic needs like food and water, and driving carefully to avoid discomfort and incidents. Not only are these desired for the safety, and comfort of your animal, but in some states, they are also required by law.
It is important for any animals being transported to be properly restrained, both for safety reasons and legal requirements. For the animals, being restrained can prevent potentially dangerous situations like falling out of the seat, leaning too far out of the window, distracting the driver, or getting into skirmishes with other animals. In the case of an accident, it is much safer to have animals properly restrained as it prevents them from becoming a deadly projectile, harming both themselves and others. If a 40-pound dog is in a car going 50 mph, and there is an accident, the dog becomes 2000 pounds of force. Even a 10-pound cat in a vehicle traveling 35 mph becomes 350 pounds of force in the case of an accident. Using a pet barrier or a pet seatbelt are two of the most common forms of restraint, but safety-certified, crash-tested crates are the safest option.
For livestock, it is important to load the trailer properly (heavest animals first), maintain good airflow, and keep the animal’s heads and legs in the trailer to avoid injury by flying objects. Some additional practices used when trailering horses include wearing a breakaway halter, being tied with a quick-release knot, and having a leadline that is long enough to allow head movement, but not long enough the horse can reach the ground.
Another major factor in your animal’s care and comfort during their trip is their access to basic necessities like food and water. The Animal Welfare Act contains detailed requirements on providing food and water during animal transport. All reputable animal transport companies should be familiar and compliant with these regulations, including providing proper documentation each time food or water is offered during the trip. To prevent spills and injuries, all food and water receptacles should be secured to the crates or trailers. For horses or other livestock, any hay nets or feeding buckets need to be attached at or above head level to avoid tangling around the animal’s legs.
Lastly, your animal transport company should prioritize safe, mindful driving while hauling animals. The driver should be familiar with the route they are taking, not distracted, and mindful of how their driving affects the animals they are hauling. Making sharp turns, abrupt stops, or other rough movements on the road can throw animals in a pet barrier or seatbelt off their feet, into the doors, floors, or front seats of the vehicle. Any crates that are not properly secured are also at risk of sliding around or even tipping onto their side. Animal transporters who are using a trailer for livestock will need to be especially careful when decelerating or breaking due to the weight of the trailer and animals on board. Additionally, trailers can be more dangerous simply due to their size and tendency to become off-balance and roll.