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Traveling in a pet crate or dog seat belt would be safer for your best friend. But some dogs just don’t like riding in them. We advise training them to get used to it, but we understand that is not always so easy. And sometimes you just need a short term solution until you can get them used to it. That’s where a dog car gate can come in handy.
The best safety feature of pet car barriers is that they can help keep your dog from being a distraction to the driver. Your dog can no longer stand on the center console. And a dog car gate will deter your dog from trying to climb over and into your lap.
Pet car barriers may provide some protection in a car accident. With a dog car gate in place, your dog won’t fly to the front seat and hit you or crash into the windshield.
We have three different kinds of pet car barriers. There is a metal dog car gate. This tends to have the most coverage, but they are installed with pressure mounts which may leave indentations on the ceiling and floor. Small dogs may be able to get through the bar gates. And the wire mesh gate is not a universal fit so there may still be some gaps for your dog to go through on the sides.
The next type of divider we have is called The Pet Net Brand. It is durable yet flexible, which means if your dog flies forward into it, the pet net will absorb some of the impact. But this divider does not go all the way to the top or the sides. So a determined dog might be able to climb over it or find a way over on the sides.
The third type of divider is the cloth dividers. This is the simplest, and oftentimes the least expensive, of the pet car barriers to install. They only cover the center console area, though. So a determined dog can climb over it, just like with the pet nets.
If your dog doesn’t like riding in the pet crate or hates wearing a dog seat belt, consider one of the three different kinds of pet car barriers. A metal dog car gate generally works best in SUVs while the pet net and cloth dividers will work in both cars and SUVs. The metal ones generally work best for larger dogs while the net and cloth ones are better at keeping smaller dogs in the back seat. Take the size and the temperament of your best friend into account. Think about which product would work best for your vehicle. And, as always, have happy and safe travels.
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My dog Pierson is great in the car. He sits so quietly in the back seat that I could almost forget he is there. If he were your dog, you might think, “Well, he doesn’t need a seat belt then.” But I think he still does. He may not be a distraction, but his safety is important to me. There is another reason to consider restraining your dog in the car. The following are three major points I’d like to make about pet safety belts:
REDUCES DRIVER DISTRACTION
Not all dogs behave in the car like my Pierson does. My Labrador Maya is crazy in the car. I do mean CRAZY! She loves it so much that she can hardly control herself. If she wasn’t wearing a dog seat belt, she’d be all over the place. Dogs like my Maya really can be a dangerous distraction and they really can cause car accidents. Don’t believe me? Here are some Real Life Examples.
Also, a study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham who studied drivers 70 and over found that those driving with their dogs were 50% more likely to get into a car accident. That article can be read on SpotNews in Alabama. I bet it is true for other age groups as well.
HELPS PROTECT YOUR DOG
If you consider a safety tested dog seat belt brand, your dog could be better off with their restraint than they would be without. Pet safety belts may prevent your dog from being thrown about the car, into other passengers, onto the floor, or through the windshield. A dog wearing a restraint won’t be able to run from the scene. And it will be easier for medical personnel to help a restrained pet.
New Jersey has made it the law that pets be restrained in the car. I was recently asked about this dog seat belt law in New Jersey. The question was whether a dog had to wear a seat belt or if a pet travel crate was okay for dogs riding in the car. Here is a quote directly from the New Jersey State Legislature regarding the law – “The driver of a passenger automobile shall secure or cause to be secured in an appropriately sized, properly adjusted, and fastened seat belt restraint system, any non-crated domestic dog or cat that is being transported in the vehicle.”
Trying to interpret laws can sometimes be difficult, but the wording ‘any non-crated domestic dog or cat’ tells me that if your pet is crated in the car, the law doesn’t apply. But if the pet is not crated, he must wear a dog seat belt.
It may not be law in your state yet, but you can be ticketed for unsafe driving in any state. So if your dog is acting crazy in the car or if your driving seems to be affected by the fact that you have a dog in your lap, you could be fined.
If your dog won’t wear a dog seat belt, then consider securing them in a pet travel crate. Or try some of our training tips to get your dog used to wearing the car restraint. Our training tips can be found on an article we wrote – Getting Your Dog Used to a Dog Car Harness.
I know our dogs love to stick their heads out the car window and they may even seem depressed when they suddenly find themselves confined in a dog seat belt. But it is important that we do what is best for them, and for ourselves. Protect your best friend, just as you do for yourself and your children.
Imagine your best little friend riding at your side without being a distraction. The window is down, the breeze is flowing in, and your dog’s nose is to the wind. If you have a pet 30 pounds or less, then he can greatly benefit from a pet carseat. Safety is an obvious benefit and there are two aspects of safety to consider. Plus, there are two other benefits of dog car seats.
The first safety aspect of a pet carseat is that your dog is tethered in and can’t distract the driver. The second aspect is that since your dog is tethered in, he won’t fly forward into the dash or onto the floor in a sudden stop.
Most dog car seats come with a tether. The tether is to be attached to your pet’s harness, not his collar. For ultimate safety, use a dog car harness in conjunction with the safety seat instead of a regular walking harness.
The Sleepypods do not have tethers but this is because your dog (or even your cat) is enclosed inside of it. This pet carseat is then secured in the vehicle with the safety belt of the vehicle. Sleepypods have also had crash testing.
Important note regarding pets riding in the front: Front passenger side airbags are not safe for dogs. Some airbags are designed to always deploy in the event of a front or rear end car accident while others will not deploy if there is not enough weight in the seat. So be sure to check your vehicle specifications regarding how the airbags work.
With all the turning and stopping you have to do, wouldn’t it be a more comfortable ride for your little dog if he didn’t have to continuously brace himself? Imagine making a quick stop, and instead of your pet sliding off onto the floor, he slides forward into the partition of his safety seat instead. The Snoozer and Lookouts have the most cushioning.
GIVE A BOOST
Some pet safety booster seats allow your furry friend to look out the car window. Sometimes, being able to see out the window can help with car sickness. Looking out the window is also a fun activity. Keep your pal entertained so that he doesn’t pester you.
Most dog car seats are for small dogs, 30 pounds and under. But there is at least one for larger dogs and that is the Full Bench Lookout Perch from Snoozer. Snoozer has a number of other different styles for smaller dogs, including the Lookout series and console seats. Sleepypods are for smaller dogs and even cats. There is also the Skybox and other booster seats from Kurgo. Check them all out and keep your best friend safe in the car.
I want to share a short tale about a cute GoldenDoodle named Spud. Spud’s mom had purchased a dog car harness from another company and had a scary experience with it. The tether broke when she stopped suddenly. Poor Spud could have been hurt. Obviously, Spud needed a better pet seat belt so we sent Spud’s mom the safety tested Bergan brand. Here is the photo she took of Spud wearing it. Isn’t he adorable!
Here is Spud running around with a ball. I just love how cute his ears are when they’re airborne like that.
Not all dog car harness brands are created equally. A few have not even had testing. For tested brands, consider the Bergan brand like the one Spud is wearing. Also consider PetBuckle, Kurgo Tru-Fit with enhanced strength, and the Roadie Ruff Rider. We have these available on the Dog Seat Belts page of our retail site. Spud’s new Bergan harness and tether has been safety tested to withstand 2,500 pounds of force.
For more Wordless Wednesday pet photos, check out the blog hop below:
Now that spring is here, I bet you want to be outdoors more. I bet your dog does too. Perhaps now that the sun is shining and the weather is warmer, you and your dog can go somewhere for a nature hike, visit the lake for a picnic or a swim, or go to that dog park you really love but didn’t go before because it was too cold outside and all the way across town. But before you and your dog head out the door, let me make one very important reminder about dogs in cars. And also, let me introduce a new product that is perfect for pet travel in warm weather.
I want to introduce the new pet travel product first. I’m excited about it because I think it is a great pet product for when we travel long distances with the dogs. See, the a/c of my car doesn’t get to the back of the car where Maya and Pierson are as easily as it blasts us in the front. So if I want my dogs to stay cool, I have to wear a coat and have the a/c on full blast. The new product we found is a pet cooling mat and it allows my dogs to stay cooler without me freezing my you-know-what off.
The Slumber Pet cooling mat is very easy to use. Simply put it in the refrigerator to let it cool down. And then take it out for your dog to lie on. Your dog can lie on it directly, or you can put it in their pet bed. Your dog can lie on it inside the house, outside, or in the car for pet travel in warm weather. (If you use the pet cooling mat outside, use it in the shade so that the coolness lasts longer.)
This pet travel product brings me to the point about safety I wanted to make. This product does not mean that you are allowed to leave your dog alone in the car while you run inside to get groceries and such. Never ever ever leave your dog alone in the car. The pet cooling mat can stay cool for long periods, but not if it is exposed to extreme heat (such as the extreme heat that builds up in a car).
Even though the weather is not hot yet, it is warm enough to make the inside of your car hot, even if the windows are down. Don’t believe me? Go to the grocery store in the afternoon when the sun is out on a 60 degree day. I did that yesterday (without my dogs, of course) and by the time I got back to my car 30 minutes later, it was super-hot inside. If Maya or Pierson had been left in there, they might have had a heat stroke.
Heat is not the only danger of leaving your dog in the car. Someone could steal your dog. Trust me, this happens all the time. People take dogs from cars because they believe you are cruel for leaving them in there, because they want to use your dog as a bait dog, or for a multitude of other unsavory reasons.
Don’t leave your dog vulnerable to theft or to heat stroke. Always make sure someone can stay with your dog in the car, or just leave your dog at home. Plan trips to the park and such separately from your grocery trips and other errands. And don’t forget to bring plenty of water for your dog to drink!
Dawn with the Notes from Dawn blog has done a review for the Bergan dog seat belt. The Bergan harness was tried on Bobo, a dog in training for Canine Angels. Canine Angels is a great nonprofit organization that rescues dogs from shelters, then trains them to be service dogs for disabled veterans. You must go check out their site and donate! But first, check out these great photos of the handsome Bobo wearing his Bergan dog seat belt:
Bobo is going to make a great service dog.
Read the full review at the Notes from Dawn blog. My name is Dawn too, so don’t be confused. This Dawn is a different person and she lives in South Carolina.
Find out more about the great work that Canine Angels does and give them a little donation too.
For more Wordless Wednesday pet photos, check out the blog hop below:
Do you all remember the video of my crazy Labrador Maya in the car? If you missed it, check it out HERE. Basically, my Maya LOVES to ride in the car. She is so excited about it that she whines and cries for the first 15 to 20 minute of every car ride. At first, it is cute. But, as you can imagine, it doesn’t take long to grate on the nerves. I wasn’t sure what to do about it until I came across this pet travel product from Earth Heart called Travel Calm.
Travel Calm is an herbal mist spray that you put on your dog’s outer ears or on their belly. You can also spray it on the fabric of your vehicle or on your dog seat cover or pet car seat. The natural herbal scents are supposed to help soothe your dog and calm him. It can work for excited dogs like my Maya and for nervous dogs.
With an upcoming road trip from Kansas to Texas with my dogs over the Thanksgiving weekend, I thought I would give this mist spray a try. I am super excited to say that the pet Travel Calm worked great! Maya may have whined once for one second, but that was it! You can see my review posted on December 1st, 2012. I was so happy with this product that our company purchased a bunch more for resale.
Pet Travel Calm is now available on PetAutoSafety.com. Plus we are giving away a free bottle at the end of March! Check out the Rafflecopter below and enter to win your free bottle of this great pet travel product. This contest giveaway is available to those with a shipping address in the continental US only. You do not have to enter in every category on the Rafflecopter but each category you enter gives you another chance to win. The contest ends at 11:59pm CST on March 31t, 2013. A winner will be chosen on or around April 1st… Maybe we will do it on April 2nd so that you don’t think our email saying you’re a winner is an April Fools’ joke!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Because dogs can be different sizes even amongst the same dog breed, knowing your dog’s breed may not be enough information to determine which size of dog seat belt to get. Also, each dog can be narrower or thicker in the body so knowing your dog’s weight might not be enough information to determine size either. Take the Whippet dog breed (much smaller version of a Greyhound), for example. His weight may make one think of getting a small size. But the Whippet has a very deep chest. He may need a medium. The only way to know which size is best is to measure your dog. Here’s how:
1. Get a measuring tape.
2. Wrap the measuring tape around the widest part of your dog’s chest just behind his front legs. Put two fingers under the measuring tape to make sure the measured size isn’t too tight.
3. Notate the number of inches. Maya, our 70 pound Labrador, measured 31 inches around.
4. Compare the number of inches to the girth sizes indicated on the product descriptions.
The website may indicate either chest size or girth. These both mean the same thing. If you have any trouble determining which size of dog seat belt to get your dog, please feel free to contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (785) 393-2044.
Thanks! And ride safe!!!
We made a friend in Poland and helped him get connected with the Bergan dog car harness. Now dogs in Poland can wear this great product and ride safer in the car! Our friend Adam founded the website is www.BioSante.pl for BioSante Veterinary Solutions in New Tomyśl, Poland. He also has a facebook page – HERE.
Adam’s site promotes pet safety. He wants to make it safer for pets to travel in Poland and really liked the Bergan and Kurgo products. Bergan products are currently available on his site, and hopefully Kurgo ones will be coming soon. Here are some photos of some of his dog customers in Poland wearing the Bergan dog car harness:
For more great photos from the Wordless Wednesday blog hop, check out the link below:
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Since we have now added the Ruff Rider Roadie and are phasing out the Guardian Gear / Cruising Companion brand dog seat belts, we are doing a new comparison. We now have four quality brands of dog car harnesses to choose from: Bergan, Kurgo Tru-Fit, Pet Buckle, and Roadie. Which one is best? They are all great, but each has a different style and feature. Compare them below:
Quality is hard to quantify. All of these four brands are well-made with strong materials. While some or all parts may have been constructed outside the United States, each of the companies that make these brands has strict quality control measures in place to ensure that each and every dog seat belt meets the same high standards.
Since each of these brands has been tested by a different strength and crash test specialist, it is difficult to determine which dog seat belt brand is the safest. We are confident in the safety and crash testing of each of these brands.
* Bergan was tested using the V9DT Pet Safety Durability standard.
* Kurgo Tru-Fit enhanced version was tested by the New Hampshire Materials Laboratory, Inc.
* Pet Buckle was tested by the Center for Advanced Product Evaluation (CAPE).
* Roadie Ruff Rider was tested by both the Commercial Test Labs and the Allianz Insurance Crash Research Center.
Can dogs get out of them? Yes to all. A determined dog can get out of any pet travel harness. Keeping the seat belt harness too tight will not prevent this and will likely only make a dog more determined to get out of it. So when we look at how it fits, we are looking for any loose spots or any place that doesn’t adjust well.
* Bergan – Fits well and adjustable at both the neck and sides, although the chest piece may be a little long for some dogs.
* Kurgo Tru-Fit – Fits well and is adjustable at both the neck and sides.
* Pet Buckle – Fits well on small dogs or large dogs. It does not fit medium-sized dogs.
* Ruff Rider Roadie – Fits well, and all except the smaller sizes are adjustable at both the neck and sides.
How it Works
* Bergan – Uses an adjustable length tether with a carabiner clip to attach directly to the seat belt webbing of the car.
* Kurgo Tru-Fit – Uses a loop that the seat belt of the car goes through.
* Pet Buckle – Uses a loop tether for the seat belt of the car to go through. An adjustable length Kwik Connect tether may be included. This tether clips directly onto the latchbar between the seat cushions of vehicles 2001 and later.
* Ruff Rider Roadie – Uses a loop tether for the seat belt of the car to go through.
Ease of Use
In trying out each of these brands, we have not found one that is particularly easier to put on than the others. All take a little thought when putting them on for the first time, but once you get a hang of it all of them are easy.
* Bergan – Padded chest piece; since no loop tether, tangling is less likely.
* Kurgo Tru-Fit – Slightly padded; enhanced version has steel buckles; allows for harness to also be used as a walking harness.
* Pet Buckle – Metal buckles; if the Kwik-Connect tether is used, tangling is less likely.
* Ruff Rider Roadie – No plastic parts; tested to ensure there is no pressure on dog’s throat; pleated design on straps under dog’s legs to prevent irritation; tether and harness is one piece and tether can be used as a short walking leash.
Listed from least expensive to most expensive:
* Kurgo Tru-Fit
* Pet Buckle
* Roadie Ruff Rider
If you have any questions regarding any other differences in these pet travel harness brands, please email us at email@example.com. We have had the opportunity to use these on our own dogs, including my own: Sephi wore the Kurgo, Maya wears the Kurgo with a Bergan tether (to prevent tangling), and Pierson wears the Bergan.