Every Thanksgiving I pile my dog Max into my Toyota Land Cruiser and head south to visit my family. The truth is I would never go without him—he’s my child, of course—and since my parents are crazy pet people too, they welcome both of us with open arms.

Having traveled so much with Max over the years, I’ve learned that there are some very important ‘rules of the road’ that everyone should be aware of when traveling with your dog. While taking your furry friend along for the ride can be tons of fun, it can also present some real dangers—to both of you.

First things first – Buckle up!

We’re all used to buckling ourselves in when we get in the car, but a lot of people don’t realize it’s equally as important to provide some sort of restraint for your dog. According to Bark-Buckle UP, a pet safety advocacy group, if a car is traveling at 30mph and has an accident, a 60-pound dog will crash into the windshield, front seat or another passenger with the impact of 2,700 pounds. Obviously, the faster you’re going, the greater the impact.

There are some great restraints for dogs of all sizes ranging from harnesses and car seats to safety belts and carriers. (You can check some of these out here.) In addition to injuring one or both of you if you do have an accident, there are other potential dangers if your dog isn’t properly restrained in the car including:

If you’re planning on traveling with your dog this holiday season—or any time, for that matter—you should consider a few other safety tips that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends:

The Travel Industry Association reports that 67% of all pets who travel with their owners do so by car or truck. With this many pets on the road, it’s really important that we take whatever precautions necessary to make sure they have a comfortable, safe and fun trip!

Happy holidays and safe travels!

Guest blogger Hope Schultz is a co-founder and president of WebVet.