Buckle up pets during holiday travel

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 Mike Cole, 14, of Jenkintown, Pa., performs a kick-flip over a trash can in JFK Plaza, or 'Love Park' as it's known to skateboarders, while tourists pose for a photograph in Philadelphia.  (Douglas Bovitt/AP Photo, file)

Mike Cole, 14, of Jenkintown, Pa., performs a kick-flip over a trash can in JFK Plaza, or 'Love Park' as it's known to skateboarders, while tourists pose for a photograph in Philadelphia. (Douglas Bovitt/AP Photo, file)

Thousands from the region will be hitting the road for the weekend leading up to July 4th, and many will be taking a pet along for the ride.

Securing pets in the car is crucial to a safe holiday trip without any hassles, said Ken Grant of AAA Mid-Atlantic.

For instance, letting your dog stick its head out the window could be deadly, he said.

“You have road debris that can easily fly up and hit the dog in the face causing injury,” Grant said. “Secondly, if the driver needs to slam on the brakes suddenly, that dog is in severe danger of having its neck snapped or suffering other major injuries — possibly being thrown from the vehicle.”

Safety also matters once you’ve arrived and park the car.

“Never, ever, ever leave a pet or a child in a car unattended. We are trying to avoid very avoidable tragedies,” Grant said. “Even on a relatively cool day, 75 or 80 degrees, the inside of a car can heat up well past 100 degrees in a few minutes.”

Keeping pets harnessed or in a car carrier also helps keep them from moving around, potentially distracting the driver.

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