To a lot of us, our pets are family. I've written about my dog, Sydney before, and I definitely consider her to be a member of my family. That being said, the responsibilities of keeping our family safe should extend to our pets as well.

As I was driving to work this morning, about to get off the Parkway onto Double Trouble Road, I passed a car with an older couple in it. A man was driving and a woman was in the passenger seat, and then there was the dog on the driver's lap with it's face pressed up against the driver's side window. I can't say I was shocked per se because, sadly, this wasn't even the first time I've seen someone driving with a dog on their lap. I guess it just blows my mind that someone could think that this is a good idea. Would you drive with one of your kids on your lap? What if you have to slam on your brakes? That isn't a pet anymore, it's a projectile. Even in the best case scenario where we're just talking about a sudden brake-check, that pup is going to get a nice smushing between your body and the steering wheel...not even to mention what could happen in an actual collision with, God forbid, possibly an airbag deployment.

It also tweaks my knobs when I see dogs locked in cars in parking lots. Again, would you leave your kid locked in the car while you go into the mall? I understand that there are some instances where it can't be avoided and I've done it too. But it's usually something like I'm traveling to family with my dog and had to run into the bank, gas station, etc and she'll be in the car for all of 5 minutes. Even then I hate to do it. If I come out of the mall half an hour later and the dog is still in the car I passed on the way in, it really riles me up. All I can think is, "really? Was it that important for the dog to come with you? He or she would probably be a lot happier relaxing at home right now".

So please, be safe when it comes to traveling with your pet. There are plenty of devices to keep your dog safely strapped in while you're traveling. When it comes to going shopping I'd simply ask this, does your dog really need to come to the mall just to sit in the car the whole time?

What are your thoughts on traveling with pets? Have you ever seen someone driving with a dog on their lap? Feel free to leave a comment below.