If your car is covered in dog hair and your windows display your dogs’ nose art, you might be a person who frequently travels with your pet. We see vehicles like that every day at All About Dogs as customers drop off and pick up their dogs, but it was a cringing moment one Sunday when one of our customers was turning into the driveway and was struck by another vehicle. Their car was a total loss. Thankfully no one was injured, not even Casper, the family dog, because he was buckled in just like his humans.
Jerry & I wanted to thank you again for taking care of Casper yesterday while we were trying to take care of our accident. We are all thankful we are okay & thank God we had Casper on his seat belt harness. Please spread the word that all dogs in a car should have a seat belt harness if they don’t have a cage for them.” – Amy, Jerry, and Casper
How your dog travels in the car with you is an important factor to consider in the event of a crash.
Various studies have shown that the most unsafe option is a dog that rides in your lap or in the front seat due to the airbags and the risk of going through the windshield. A survey by AAA also noted that an unrestrained 10-pound dog riding in a car traveling 30mph will exert, roughly, 300 pounds of pressure in a crash, and an 80 pound unrestrained dog will exert approximately 2,400 pounds of pressure in a crash. The results of the devastation would be unimaginable, not just to your dog but to passengers and anyone else in their path.
Several options exist to aid in keeping your dog safe while traveling in the car. They are not all created equal so do your research –
A crate: By having your dog ride in a crate it greatly minimizes the chance of them being forcefully thrown around in the car in the event of a crash. It also gives them the freedom to rest comfortably and not get tangled in a restraint. If a crash should happen a crate also lessens the risk of your pet escaping in fear of what’s happening.
A dog seat belt: If you have a small car that can’t accommodate a crate or have a dog that doesn’t like crates, you might want to opt for a dog seat belt. Crash tests have shown that harness style restraints are safer than those that clip to your dogs collar due to the amount of force during a crash.
Barriers: A barrier that blocks your dogs access to the front of the vehicle is a minimal safety measure, but one none the less. By having a barrier it keeps your dog from being thrown too far forward during a crash. Window barriers also help reduce the risk of them falling out or escaping an open window while you’re driving. I once witnessed a man driving in a parking lot with a Pug resting his front feet on the car door and his head out the open passenger window. The dog was loving the wind in its face, until the man made a turn and the Pug tumbled out the open window. Don’t think it can’t happen.
Another thing to consider with travel safety is if your car breaks down during the warm months. A crate, a seat belt, or a window barrier will allow you to keep the windows open in your car in the event that you can’t leave the air conditioning running. Just something to remember.