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Pet Travel Safety

Dec 20, 2015

4 dogs in a car

With the holidays around the corner, there is a lot of travel going on.  Kids are coming home from college. Family is coming from out of state. Everyone is going somewhere to spend time with relatives for the upcoming holidays.  If you are anything like me, you never leave home without the dog, unless of course they’re vacationing at their favorite “un-kennel”, Top Dog Country Club!

How far do you have to drive?  Is your dog safe in the car with you?  I know that some of you like to keep your little ones right on your lap when you drive, or let him wander around the car as he wishes.  But have you ever really considered the what-ifs?  What if your dog is lying nicely in the backseat, and then sees a stranger outside of the car and decides to rush to the window to bark at them?  What if he has a potty accident?  What if he throws up on your lap?!  What if you hit a patch of black ice and your car lands upside-down in the ditch?  What if a deer runs out in front of your car and you need to slam on the breaks?  While you are seat-belted in, what is keeping your pup from propelling forward, possibly right through the windshield? 

We recently had a client tell us a story about a relative that had been in a car accident with their dog in the car.  After all was said and done, officials said that if their dog had not been in a crate in the back of the car, he definitely would have been thrown out the window and likely killed.  That crate saved his life!  Jean’s Tahoe is lined with dog beds and blankets, and was headed to the vet with three of her dogs shortly after hearing the story.  Instead of letting her dogs lay comfortably on the beds as they always did, she made the decision to put them in crates.

In addition to free roam and crates, we also see quite a few dogs come through with seat belt harnesses.  The harness is fitted to the dog, and then the harness attaches to the seat belt.  The dog can sit or lay down, but stays in the same spot on the seat.  Of all the harnesses tested in a recent study, only one was approved.

The Center for Pet Safety recently did a crash test study to determine general crash performance of common containers and restraints, including seatbelt harnesses, crates, carriers and booster seats. 

You can learn more information about the products that were tested, see the products that are recommended and watch the videos from those tests.  They did not use real dogs for testing, but made sure to use different sized fake dogs in a small, medium and large weight scale.  The videos are scary to watch, especially knowing that many people use the same products that did not meet safety standards. Next time you and your pups get in the car . . . make certain you do what you can to keep them safe.