Pet Car Safety

How often does your pet ride in the car? Even if your pet only rides in the car once in a while car safety is very important.

We’ve all seen dogs sitting on their owners lap while they drive or roaming freely with their head out the window. Would you ever let a child ride in a car like that? What can pet owners do to make sure their pets are secure in the car?

According to the ASPCA dogs should never be seated in the front. Ideally dogs should be in a crate large enough to keep them comfortable that is also secured to the vehicle. If you don’t want to crate or can’t they suggest that dogs be secured in the back seat in a harness that attaches to the seat belt.

The ASPCA also warns that dogs should not be allowed to keep their head out the window during a drive. To poke their head out the window dogs often have to stand on their hind legs leaving them more vulnerable to injury if the car stops suddenly. Dogs are also at risk of falling out of the vehicle if the window is too low and are right in the path of debris that may fly by the car.

There are many products on the market that say they can keep your pet safe and secure in the car but many can be dangerous in an accident or a simple hard stop. These kind of pet safety products are not regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission so safety is not necessarily guaranteed.

If you are looking to purchase a car seat or harness consult the independent Center For Pet Safety, an organization that monitors and tests pet safety products. The Center For Pet Safety focuses on pet travel products to help consumers make informed choices as well as file complaints if their pet is injured from a defective product.

When you are driving and your pet is completely unrestrained they are very sensitive to injury if the vehicle makes any sudden or severe movements. Since dogs don’t have hands and lack awareness of what is happening on the road they can’t brace or anticipate an impact like a human can. An unrestrained pet can also be a hazard to you when they are thrown like a projectile, causing or worsening crashes.

Before you head out on that road trip or simple drive to the vet make sure your pet is safe and comfortable in the car so you both can enjoy the ride!

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