Dogs love to ride in cars! My dogs are practically doing backflips when it’s time for a car ride so I try to bring them along as often as I can.
Accidents can happen at anytime, but with a little forethought and preparation you can increase car safety for you and your dog. Read on to find out how!
As a responsible doggy mom, I realize that car safety for both me and my furry passengers, as well as other drivers on the rode, is paramount. I can’t be distracted while driving by silliness from my dogs. As a result, I have come to depend on certain items to help to increase the safety of our rides.
Doggy Seat Belts
I love my car harness. Not only does it keep my dog safer as well as my passengers, it also keeps them from distracting me while I drive. So do dog seat belt harnesses really keep dogs safer during a crash? That depends on which one you buy. The Center For Pet Safety performed a study to determine the effectiveness of car harnesses for dogs. The full CPS summary report is available for you to find out which ones performed well and which did not. The report is from 2013, but some information is better than none, right? The pet harnesses which performed the best were the Sleepypod Clickit Sport, and Sleepypod Clickit Utility. (Prices vary according to size.)
Vehicle Barrier – So before writing this post I thought that confining my large dogs to the cargo area of my SUV with a barrier was enough to keep them safe, but now I have learned that there isn’t any information available as to how they perform during a crash. Barriers do prevent my dogs from distracting me while driving and prevent them from being thrown through a windshield in the event of a crash, but I now realized I could be doing more.
CRATES & CARRIERS
After some research the solution I came to was to use a crate or carrier along with the pet barrier. In the event that the dog was able to escape from the carrier while driving, he/she would still be confined and unable to cause a distraction.
Pet carriers (for small dogs) which earned the Center For Pet Safety crash-test certification were the PetEgo Jet Set Forma Frame Carrier with an Isofix-Latch Connection and the Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed with PPRS Handilock. For pet crates (medium to large dogs), Gunner Kennels G1 Intermediate with 8’ Tie-Down Straps.
OK, so these things are not cheap so I won’t be running out to buy one today, but I will use a harness restraint in the meantime!
But, wait, what about rear crumple zones in SUV’s?
Rear Crumple Zones
Something to keep in mind when putting your dog in the cargo area of an SUV is the rear crumple zone. A safety feature to absorb the energy of a rear end crash, it can mean disaster for a dog located within it. I had never given a thought to rear crumple zones and my dog. After researching this subject further, the only conclusion I can come to is that the rear cargo area of SUV’s is not a safe place for dogs even in crash-test approved crates or carriers. There simply isn’t any information.
The verdict? For me, I will no longer put my dogs in the cargo area of my SUV. Instead, I will continue to use my car safety harness which thankfully passed the crash testing.
Some additional things I keep in my vehicle at all times are:
- First Aid Kit
- Extra Leashes
- Extra Collars/harnesses with ID tags attached
- Flashlight & Reflective vest for my dog
- collapsible water bowl & bottled water
Towels, baby wipes, extra poop bags, and a few toys are great to have in the car as well if there’s room. Everything stays neat and organized packed in a plastic container with a tight fitting lid. If you have a car, storing the container in the trunk is best. In a SUV, however, you must secure the container so that in the event of a crash it does not become a projectile injuring passengers. This was also something I did not do prior to writing this post, so now my container is secured with an elastic cord.
If you have more than one vehicle it makes life a lot easier to have a pack stored in each of them so you never leave home without it.
Well what I thought would be an easy post turned out to be a real eye-opener for me! I learned so much about car safety through the writing of this post! I hope you found it useful as well!
Let me know how you keep your dogs safe in the car! Leave a comment.
Thanks for visiting!