Traveling with Fido – Pup-Proof Your Car

Traveling with Fido – Pup-Proof Your Car

It’s time for a ride in the C-A-R. Cue the excited barking and tail wagging. Whether you’re planning a cross-country road trip or just a quick spin around the block, we have some paw-some tips to turn your car into the ultimate canine-friendly cruiser!

Floor Mats

Face it. Our fur babies can be messy. Dogs can track mud, sand, and debris onto your car’s floor. Protect it with rubber floor mats that are waterproof and easy to clean. They cover your car’s carpet and shield it from dirt. You can get floor mats that are custom fit to your car, ones you can trim to fit, or universal mats. Avoid mats made with harsh chemicals such as lead, cadmium, latex, and PVC, as they will have unpleasant odors.

Seat Covers

As any dog owner knows, fur floats everywhere. It can easily get into crevices and stick to seats. Plus, if car rides stress your dog, he will shed even more. Seat covers will help keep your seats fur-free and mess-free. Cover the seats where your dog will be. Choose tightly knit fabrics that also will be scratch proof. Some covers are padded for shock absorption; some have nonslip designs with a rubber base. Still others have pockets for storage. Look for ones that are washable so you can periodically clean them.

Pro-Tip: A felt blanket is a simple alternative to a seat cover. It attracts fur and it’s easy to remove and wash. Just make sure to tuck it in the crevices of your seat.

Cargo Liners & Hammocks

If you put your back seats down for your dog, consider a cargo liner or hammock that extends from the back of the front seats. These are larger than traditional seat covers, and they give your dog a chance to spread out and lay comfortably. Look for one that is non-porous, water resistant, tear resistant, and easy to clean. Make sure it is comfortable for your fur baby.

Window Protection

Nose prints on windows are just a fact of life, right? They don’t have to be. Try a magnetic window shade, which also protects against UV rays. Alternatively, you can buy shatter resistant window film to add another layer of protection to your glass. In a pinch, clear plastic wrap works too.

Scratch Protection

Paint and surfaces can be easily scratched. You can help to prevent scratches with some paint protection film on doors and trunk sills where your dog usually enters your vehicle. If your dog will wear them, nail caps can work too.


While our dogs may want to ride in the front seat, it’s not a good idea. In the event of an accident, your front seat airbag could deploy. Safety is important, and you want to keep them from jumping into your lap when you’re driving. That’s where barriers come in. They keep your fur baby safely in the back. Barriers come in various materials, from breathable mesh to heavy duty fabric to plastic or metal.

Safety Belts

Just as we wear seat belts, it’s a good idea to secure your dog. Some safety belts hook right into your car seat belts. Others attached to your seats. Choose a harness that goes around your fur baby’s body. Never secure them by their collar as the leash can pull unnecessarily on their necks.


You can also travel with your fur baby in a crate or pet carrier. They come in a range of styles. Some are soft mesh and others are hard. Some come with wheels for easy transport. Make sure the crate is large enough so that your dog can stand, turn around, and lie down in it.

Tips for Traveling with Your Pet

Follow these additional tips for traveling with your pet.

  • Start with short trips to get your dog used to the car before driving long distances.
  • Feed your dog 3 hours before you leave.
  • If you need to feed your dog on the road, stop the car to do it.
  • Stop regularly along the way so dogs can stretch their legs and go to the bathroom.
  • Give your dog access to clean water. Riding in the car can be stressful for dogs and if they pant, they can lose water.
  • Don’t let your dog hang their head out the window.
  • Never leave your dog alone in the car. Hot cars are dangerous, but even in cool weather, a well-meaning passerby may try to release your dog.
  • Pack an emergency kit for messes. Include gloves and cleaning supplies. (A moistened rubber glove is great for picking up pet fur.)
  • Don’t forget your dog’s favorite treats.

Finally, protect your fur baby with pet insurance. You can easily add coverage from Pet’s Best to your California Casualty auto or home policy.  Find out more about what pet insurance can cover by talking with a California Casualty customer service representative today.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

Winter Auto Safety Recap

In many areas, the weather has been pretty good so far this year. But, this week started a flurry (pun intended) of winter weather, and I thought it would be a good time to recap some important safety tips for cold weather!

Winter Care Care Checklist – if you haven’t prepped your car for cold weather, you still have time!

What to do when your pipes freeze – It happens to the best of us (or, at least, it happened to me!). A quick guide to getting your pipes thawed without flooding your house.

Carbon monoxide safety – Firing up your heaters can lead to hidden dangers. Here are some tips for CO prevention.

Driving Safety in Snow and Ice – When the snow and ice come down, the roads get slippery. Here are some tips for making that commute safely.

Be Cautious for Deer on Roads

Along with hay rides, cooling temperatures, and brilliant foliage, Fall can bring some unexpected dangers to your commute. In late October and November, states across the nation see the fall mating season for white-tailed deer begin.

With this comes significant danger to drivers. During this time, deer become very active and unpredictable, covering large areas in search of a mate. A result of this is that drivers will often see groups of deer crossing roads.

This generates tens of thousands of deer-vehicle crashes every year, resulting in millions of dollars in damage. To help prevent this happening to you, please review the tips below:

  • If you spot a deer, slow down and pay attention to possible sudden movement. If the deer doesn’t move, don’t go around it. Wait for the deer to pass and the road is clear.
  • Pay attention to “Deer Crossing” signs. They are there for a reason. Slow down when traveling through areas known to have a high concentration of deer so you will have ample time to stop if necessary.
  • If you are traveling after dark, use high beams when there is no oncoming traffic. High beams will be reflected by the eyes of deer on or near roads.
  • If you see one deer, be on guard: others may be in the area. Deer typically move in family groups at this time of year and cross roads single-file.
  • Don’t tailgate. Remember: the driver in front of you might have to stop suddenly to avoid hitting a deer.
  • Always wear a seatbelt, as required by law. Drive at a safe and sensible speed, taking into account weather, available lighting, traffic, curves and other road conditions.
  • If a collision appears inevitable, do not swerve to avoid impact. The deer may counter-maneuver suddenly. Brake firmly, but stay in your lane. Collisions are more likely to become fatal when a driver swerves to avoid a deer and instead collides with oncoming traffic or a fixed structure along the road.
  • Report any deer-vehicle collision to a local law enforcement agency immediately.
Teen Driving Safety

Teen Driving Safety

We are in the height of prom season, with high school graduations right around the corner. This means that the chances of teens being involved in serious auto accidents increases significantly.  Our friends at Impact Teen Drivers have been working tirelessly to raise awareness of the dangers that face teens who drive distracted or impaired, and to help shed light on some of these startling statistics, we want to share them here as well:

– Teen driver crashes are the leading cause of death for our nation’s youth
– The Fatality rate for drivers 16-19 is 4 times higher than the national average
– 48% of teens have reported talking on a cell phone while driving

It’s no secret that driving while talking on a cell phone or impaired by drugs or alcohol dramatically increases the risk of injury and death while driving. Please speak with your teens about the dangers involved – especially during this time of year, when the excitement of prom and graduations can lead to them making poor driving decisions.

Tornado Safety and Planning

As weather forecasters are predicting an active few weeks for tornado activity, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) encourages homeowners and renters  to take appropriate steps to be prepared, which includes a review of their insurance policies and discussion of coverage options with their insurance agent or company.

“With wind speeds that can reach nearly 300 miles per hour, tornadoes can be deadly and cause severe property damage,” said Donald Griffin, vice president personal lines for PCI. “Because tornadoes can occur rapidly and with little warning, advanced preparation is very important. We encourage consumers to know the warning signals used in their community and be prepared to take cover when alerted. Maintaining an emergency storm kit with a radio, flashlight, batteries and first-aid items is the first step in preparation. Other steps include conducting tornado drills with your family and ensuring that your property is adequately insured.”

The peak of tornado season in the U.S. varies by geographic region beginning in southern states during the months of March and April. Peak tornado season for the southern plains occurs during May and June and typically takes place during June and July in the Midwest and northern plains. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center there were over 1,400 tornadoes in 2010. The highest concentrations of tornado reports were clustered in the Front Range of the Rockies, the Southeast, the Central and Northern Plains, and the Great Lakes. The largest outbreak of tornadoes for 2010 occurred on June 17th, there were at least 74 confirmed tornadoes reported across the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains.

Most tornado, windstorm, hail and similar severe weather-related losses are covered by either homeowners or renters insurance policies. Tornado losses to a home are covered by the “windstorm” peril under the homeowners insurance policy. Renters insurance also provides coverage to policyholder possessions under this peril.  Protection from windstorm or hail damage for cars is covered under the “comprehensive” portion of the automobile insurance policy.

PCI pre-storm tips:
– Conduct a detailed inventory of your possessions including receipts, descriptions and photos of your home’s contents.
– Keep your insurance policy and CalCas Claims information along with other important information with you or in a secure place.
– Keep a cell phone charged and with you for emergencies.
– If you have one, keep a laptop computer close by. Most insurance companies allow claims reports to be submitted via the Internet.

If you experienced a loss from the storms:
– Immediately contact your insurance agent or company representative
– Inspect property and cars for damage
– Inventory losses and photograph damage, and save related receipts to assist with claims handling
– Secure property from further damage or theft
– Check the background and legitimacy of repair contractors. Ask your insurance company for assistance in locating a reputable contractor.

As always, we hope you never have to call to report a tornado related claim, but it pays to be prepared!

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