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Archive for January, 2011

January 30, 2011

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You want to keep your dog safe when they travel in the car, but you’re not sure which pet travel products are best.  There are several things to consider when looking for the right pet auto safety device for you and your dog, and we can help.  Review the list below along with a short description.  Feel free to review our blog further for more detailed information on the various pet travel products.

Dog’s Temperament: 
*Prefers Confinement – A pet travel crate is a good pet auto safety method, but a pet travel crate which is strapped in is even safer.
*Hates Confinement – You can use a dog seat belt which has a long tether or keep your dog in the back with a pet auto barrier.
*Likes to Look Out the Window – For small dogs, this may be difficult.  Your small dog can be strapped into a pet booster seat.  For bigger dogs, use a dog seat belt rather than a pet travel crate.
*Likes to Relax – For a dog who likes to relax, use a dog seat belt with a short tether which is safer than one with a long tether – or have them ride in a pet travel crate.  You can also consider a pet booster seat for a smaller dog.

Level of safety:  The safest pet auto safety methods are the dog seat belt or pet travel crates which are strapped in with a kennel restraint system.  Pet auto barriers are not as safe, although they do provide some level of protection in that they keep the dog from distracting the driver and they prevent the dog from getting thrown forward into the front in the event of a car accident.

What Kind of Vehicle and How Much Room:  Metal pet auto barriers are too big for a car.  However, there are canvas barriers and pet nets which are perfect for cars.  If you have a big dog, using a crate may not work, or if you have a big crate in the back of an SUV, you may have difficulty in strapping the crate in.  A dog seat belt will work in any vehicle with car seat belts.

Ease of Use:  Pet auto barriers may require installation.  A pet booster seat or pet travel crate may have some set up, but not as much as a pet auto barrier.  A dog seat belt has the lowest level of installation.  It may be difficult when you first put it on but once you get a hang of it, it is super easy.

Crate With Straps vs. Dog Seat Belt:  A study has not been done to see which method is safer.  However, a dog seat belt is safer than a crate which is not strapped in and a crate is safer than a dog seat belt which has a very long tether.  The shorter the tether on a dog seat belt, the safer it is for the dog.

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The pet net for cars is used to keep your dog in the back seat.  Keeping your dog in the back seat means that your dog won’t distract the driver and your dog will not fly forward in the front seats in the event of a car accident.  There are many pet net brands for cars, but two stand out as the best – The Pet Net Brand and Hatchbag Pet Net.  While both provide the same protection for your dog, both differ in size, price, and installation.

Size Comparison of The Pet Net Brand and Hatchbag Pet Net
The Pet Net Brand comes in two sizes – standard for cars and large for SUVs  The Hatchbag Pet Net for cars, however, has five different sizes and are more customized to fit your vehicle.  The Pet Net for cars will block above the seats almost to the ceiling and the center between seats.  It does not block the sides, very top, or very bottom.  If your dog doesn’t try to climb over, under, or on the sides, then this pet net will work perfectly.  However, if you have a more persistent dog, the Hatchbag Pet Net offers more coverage.  The gap on the top, bottom, and sides is much smaller – about an inch or two.

Price Comparison of The Pet Net Brand and Hatchbag Pet Net
The Pet Net for cars is currently priced at $29.99 for the standard and $39.99 for the large.  The Hatchbag Pet Net is currently priced at $74.99 for all five sizes.  Why the price difference?  That is something you would need to ask the manufacturers.  Both pet net brands are made of strong and durable material and are safe to use.  Other than sizing and installation differences, we see no differences in the quality.

Installation Comparison of The Pet Net Brand and Hatchbag Pet Net
The Pet Net for cars has a bungee attachment system which is super easy to use.  It also makes it easy to remove and place back in without any hassle.  The Hatchbag Pet Net for cars uses a dual lock fastener system.  This system uses barrel locks and non-permanent adhesive backing which you stick onto the interior molding of your car.  The adhesives are super strong and can only be removed with adhesive remover.  The adhesives and adhesive remover will not damage the interior of your car.  While the adhesives stay, the Hatchbag Pet Net barrel locks allow for easy placement and removal of the pet net.  Sounds complicated but it is easy to use than it is to describe.

Protect your dog with a pet net for cars.  Whether you choose The Pet Net Brand or Hatchbag Pet Net, you can be assured that your dog is safe.  If you get into a car accident, your dog will not fly forward and hit the front passengers, or fly forward and out the front windshield.  The pet net for cars is not the ultimate safety method but it is a good alternative for dogs who won’t wear their dog seat belt or won’t tolerate being confined in a pet travel crate.

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January 24, 2011

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Do you love the outdoors?  Are you considering traveling to Austin, Texas?  The Austin area is a great place for people who love the outdoors to visit.  In the city itself is Zilker Park and the Barton Creek Greenbelt.  North of Austin is Georgetown Lake.  (My dog, Smokey, and I went on a 3-day hike around the lake once.  It was awesome!)  East of Austin is Bastrop Lake.  (This place is great for taking the dogs swimming, hiking, or boating.)  These are just the places I am most familiar with.  There are many more outdoor places in the Austin area for you and your dog to visit.

Back when I used to live near Austin, Texas, I had Becky Ann, Achilles, and Smokey (pictured above left).  As you can imagine, traveling anywhere with all three of them in the car was a challenge.  That is when I first considered dog car seat belts.  I got one for each of them.  It took a little time, but Smokey, Becky Ann, and Achilles came to love their dog car seat belts and this meant that they got to travel to more places more often.

Our favorite place to go was Zilker Park.  It was nearby, it’s woodsy so there were lots of interesting smells for them to check out, it’s a beautiful place for anyone who loves the outdoors to visit, and it’s a great place for all of us to get exercise.  Zilker Park holds a lot of outdoor and dog-friendly attractions like the Zilker Botanical Gardens, the Zilker Park Boat Rentals, and my favorite, an entrance to the Barton Creek Greenbelt.

Dogs on a leash are allowed in the 31 acre Zilker Botanical Gardens.  Be sure to pick up after your dog, though!  We don’t want doggy smells overwhelming the beautiful smells of the garden.  The Zilker Botanical Gardens features several themed gardens such as the Fragrance Garden, Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, Prehistoric Garden, and more.  These gardens also feature tranquil streams, picturesque waterfalls, and exotic ponds filled with Koi fish.  If you have a chance to visit, make it around March when the annual Zilker Garden Festival takes place.

Zilker Park Boat Rentals allows well-mannered dogs on the boat rentals.  If your dog doesn’t mind riding in a boat, this is a great way to see the beautiful scenery which Austin, Texas has to offer.  I am all about safety so my dogs wore dog life jackets when we went on the boat – especially Becky Ann who was the only dog that I ever owned who didn’t know how to swim..

As mentioned before, the Barton Creek Greenbelt was my favorite place in Austin, Texas to visit.  The Barton Creek Greenbelt features a 7-mile-long trail perfect for walking, hiking, or biking.  Dogs are required to be on a leash.  This is especially important so that your dog doesn’t get in the way of the people biking along the trail.  The main trail follows Barton Creek.  There are a lot of great swimming holes along the way.  If you are a rock climber, there are some great cliffs to climb.  You may also see waterfalls, wildlife, and caves.  Once in a while, you will see a house on the other side of the creek, but most of the Barton Creek Greenbelt is all natural landscape.

If you ever get a chance to visit Austin, Texas, bring your dog.  There are plenty of dog-friendly hotels.  Even the airport is dog-friendly.  If you drive, be sure your dog wears a dog car seat belt.  If you fly, be sure it is when the weather is at its mildest because bigger dogs are not allowed to fly when the weather is too hot.  This is because bigger dogs have to travel in the cargo area of the plane which is only moderately temperature controlled.

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January 21, 2011

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A pet travel hammock is a good way to keep your dog in the back seat.  A dog confined to the back seat is less of a distraction for the driver.  Since the pet travel hammock covers the floor are of the back seat, your dog won’t get thrown onto the floor should you stop your car suddenly.  Some pet injuries occurring in cars are from sudden stops, not necessarily due to car accidents.  A pet travel hammock also keeps the seat cushions of your car free from dog hair and muddy paws.

These are just a few benefits of a pet travel hammock.  A Kurgo brand pet travel hammock, called the Wander Hammock, has other benefits as well.  The Kurgo Wander Hammock is made from high quality and durable material.  It is waterproof, stain resistant, and machine washable.  The Kurgo Wander Hammock comes in black or khaki.  For ultimate safety, this pet travel hammock has seat belt slots so that your dog can also wear a dog car harness.

Please note that in order to use the Kurgo brand pet travel hammock, your car must have both front seat and rear seat headrests.  This is how the Wander Hammock is installed in your car.

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January 18, 2011

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If you are traveling with your dog during the cold weather season, here are a few good pet travel tips:

*Make sure your dog is completely dry after grooming before taking them out in the cold.
*Consider a dog sweater and booties for small dogs or dogs which are sensitive to the cold.  A dog sweater may good even if your cold-sensitive dog is riding in the car with the heater on.  The heater may not be felt as well in the back where you dog is sitting.
*After walks or outdoor play, check your dog’s feet for ice.  Ice balls can form, especially if your dog has long hair around their feet.  Trimming the long hair may help.  Remove ice with a warm washcloth.  Also check their feet for cuts and frostbite.
*Walking dogs on sidewalks melted with salt is okay but make sure you rinse their feet off with warm water afterwards.
*When going for walks, keep your dog on a leash at all times.  Dogs can get lost in the snow because all the scent markers have been covered.  Keeping them on a leash will also keep them from running over ice and falling through into a body of water.  If your dog falls in the water, call for help.  Do not go after him yourself.
*If you travel with your dog, don’t leave him alone in the car.  In summer months where your car becomes an oven, the opposite occurs in winter where your car becomes a refrigerator.  Keep a blanket in your car for in case your car breaks down or you get stuck in snow.

*Check out our more extensive list of cold weather tips for dogs at our American Dog Blog.

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January 15, 2011

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Sandy from Colorado wrote to us about her dog’s experience with the Lookout Perch pet car seat:

“My dog loves the lookout perch car seat!  Bessie is too big for most car seats but since she has short legs I really wanted to find something for her.  I am so glad I found your website!  The lookout perch is perfect for her.  And I feel better knowing she is secure in the car.  I will send you a picture of Bessie in her seat soon.  For now, here is one of her at home.”

Our reply:

“Thank you Sandy and Bessie.  We are really glad you both like the Lookout Perch pet car seat!  Don’t forget that if you have passenger-side air bags to turn them off if Bessie is sitting in the front.  Happy New Year!”

The Lookout Perch pet car seat is strapped in and secured with the seat belt of the car.  There is an attaching strap which can clip onto the back of the dog’s harness.  Don’t clip it to the dog’s collar.  Purchase one of our dog car harnesses or get a regular walking harness from the pet store.

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January 12, 2011

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Put the dog car harness on the dog and drive to St. Louis, Missouri for a great vacation.  There is so much for you and your dog to do that you will all be dog-tired afterwards.  Visit museums, parks, wineries, pet stores, and hike on the 225 mile-long Katy Trail.

Stay at a number of pet-friendly hotels in St. Louis including Sheraton, Residence Inn, Hampton Inn, Red Roof Inn, La Quinta, Holiday Inn, just to name a few.  (Call first to make sure.  Some hotels have restrictions on the size of your dog.)  Eat on the outdoor patio of a number of restaurants including Chipotle, Atlas Restaurant, Duff’s Restaurant, and Coffee Cartel.  Shop at a number of pet stores including Petco, PetSmart, Cat’s Meow, Inc., Four Muddy Paws, Three Dog Bakery, Wolfgang’s Pet Shop, Pets in the City, and more!

Go sight-seeing at the Laumeier Sculpture Park, the Museum of Transportation, the Boathouse in Forest Park, the Ulysses S. Grant National Historical Site, and the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog.  With the exception of the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog, dogs are not be allowed the buildings.  But there are lots of outdoor sites to see.  The Laumeier Sculpture Park has a lot of outdoor sculptures.  You can see all types of trains, automobiles, and planes outside the Museum of Transportation.  Dogs are allowed to ride the boats at the Boathouse in Forest Park.  There is even a pet-friendly restaurant at the Boathouse.  Dogs are not allowed in the buildings at the Ulysses S. Grant National Historical Site, but they are allowed to walk the almost 10 acres of land and see the historical buildings from the outside.

St. Louis also hosts a number of off-leash dog parks including the Frenchtown Dog Park, Shaw Neighborhood Dog Park, Taylor Dog Park, Lister Dog Park, and Water Tower Dog Park.  Dogs will also have a good time walking the Katy Trail.  It is 225 miles long but you don’t have to walk it all.  There are a number of entrance points and several points of interest along the way.  More than half of the Katy Trail follows Lewis and Clark’s path along the Missouri River.

Relax after a long day at several of the dog-friendly wineries in the St. Louis metro area.  There is the Lau-Nae Winery in Red Bud, Peaceful Bend Vineyard in Steelville, and Schorr Lake Vineyards in Waterloo.

For more information on these great dog-friendly places in St. Louis, Missouri visit dogfriendly.com.  Don’t forget to travel to St. Louis in safety.  Your dog should wear a dog car harness or be secure in another pet auto safety device.  Be safe and have fun!

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Will the Dog Seat Cover Slip?

Author: MayaAndPierson
January 9, 2011

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The Guardian Gear or Cruising Companion brand dog seat cover has good attachment methods at top and bottom.  The corners of the dog seat cover have stretchy straps which stretch over the corners of the top back cushion and the bottom front cushion.  If you have headrests or can pull your seats forward, and if you can pull up the bottom cushions, there are additional straps will make the dog seat cover more secure and have less slipping.  I have two big dogs in my back seat with the blue plaid dog seat cover and have never had the dog seat cover slip off.

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(Black quilt dog seat cover with corner straps and other connecting straps)

Our only issue with the dog seat cover is that it does not have straps for the middle where the two seat cushions meet.  As a result, the dog seat cover does not rest as nicely flat in the middle as the photo shows.

Our Guardian Gear and Cruising Companion dog seat cover brands which have the corner straps and additional straps include the quilted back seat cover, houndstooth dog seat cover, brown paw print back seat cover, heated dog seat cover, and the blue and pink plaid dog seat cover.

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Visit Kansas City on your next pet travel destination.  Kansas City is located practically right in the middle of the United States.  It has several intersecting interstates so it can be an easy highway drive from almost anywhere in the US.  This is one of the many factors which can make Kansas City your next travel destination.  But don’t leave your dog at home.  There is lots to see and lots to do, and many of the places will let you bring your dog.

Since I am a very short drive from Kansas City, I have been to many of these places with Sephi and Maya.  No wonder they love it when I get out their dog seatbelts.  But if you are not from this area, you and your dog are going to need to stay in a hotel.  There are several hotels in the Kansas City metro area which allow dogs including Knights Inn, La Quinta, Days Inn, Red Roof Inn, Holiday Inn, Best Western, Ramada, and Sheraton Suites.

The Kansas City metro area encompasses parts of both states, Kansas and Missouri.  On the Kansas side, you can visit Overland Park, Olathe, Merriam, Lenexa, and Shawnee.  Take your dog to the movies at The Boulevard Drive-In in Kansas City, Kansas.  Or check out the Leglar Barn Museum in Lenexa.  You can’t take your dog inside the buildings, but a well-mannered dog is welcome to visit its park and other areas of the 53 acre site.  You can’t take your dog in the buildings of the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm either, but they are allowed on the grounds.  You can also take dogs to the Legends at Village West shopping center.  Dogs are allowed outdoors and a few stores will even allow you to bring your dog inside.

After a day of touring and your dog is still not tired, you can take him to the off-leash park at Shawnee Mission Park.  This is Maya’s favorite dog park because it has a lake waterfront.  The off-leash area is huge so even dogs who don’t like water have lots to do.  But if your dog is a water-lover like Maya, the waterfront area for dogs is mostly paved so that your dog doesn’t get muddy.  Maya has designated the Shawnee Mission Park in Shawnee, Kansas as the best off-leash dog park in the metro area.  But there are lots of other parks to visit too – including many with off-leash areas and some with extensive hiking areas.

On the Missouri side, you can visit Independence, Lees Summit, and Parkville.  Visit the Harry S. Truman Farm Home in Independence, Missouri.  Dogs are not allowed inside, but there are areas outside they can visit.  Another fun place to visit is Westport.  Westport is located in Kansas City, Missouri.  There is lots to do and lots to see in Westport.  Take the Westport Tour to see historical sites such as cemeteries and Civil War sites.  You can also shop with your dog in Westport.  There is the Westport Plaza Farmers Market, the Doggie Style Bowtique, and the Three Dog Bakery.  Other doggie stores, not in Westport, include Barkville Pet Boutique in Parkville and Bass Pro Shops in Independence.

The Kansas City metro area in Missouri also has a number of wineries.  Some of these wineries allow well-mannered dogs.  There is the Stonehaus Farm Winery in Lees Summit, the Bynum Winery in Lone Jack, and the New Oak Vineyards in Wellington.

If you are really hungry after all this sightseeing, eat at Chipotle.  They have an outdoor patio which allows dogs and their food is both healthy and delicious.  To end your day, get desert at Sheridan’s Frozen Custard.  When you order your treat, ask for a free doggy cone.

Before you make a hotel reservation or bring your dog to any of the places mentioned above, call first to verify that it is still okay.  Some places may have changed their policies.

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How Does the Dog Car Harness Work?

Author: MayaAndPierson
January 3, 2011

Ok, so you put the dog car harness on your dog.  Now what?  How does the dog wearing the dog car harness stay secure in the car?  Well, it depends on the brand and style.  We here at Pet Auto Safety.com have several dog car harness brands and styles, but they can be grouped into three categories based on how your dog is secured in the car.

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Directly Buckles into Car
The Guardian Gear, Cruising Companion, and Ride Right brand dog car harness have a connecting strap which buckles directly into the seat belt receptacle of most vehicles.  The benefit of a single connecting strap means that your dog is less likely to get tangled in their dog car harness.  It also makes it easier for your dog to move around in the car while wearing the dog car harness.

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Uses Car Seat Belt
The Tru-Fit Smart Dog Car Harness has a connecting strap as well.  However, the connecting strap is simply a loop system.  Your dog is secured in the Tru-Fit Smart Dog Car Harness by putting the seat belt of your car through the loop.  This loop-system of the Tru-Fit Smart Dog Car Harness makes it a little more difficult for your dog to move around, but less maneuverability means your dog is more secure.

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Latches into Car
The Pet Buckle brand dog car harness generally uses the loop system (similar to the Tru-Fit Smart Dog Car Harness).  However, if you get the one which comes with the Kwik-Connect Tether you have yet another method to secure your dog in their dog car harness.  The Kwik-Connect Tether clips onto a metal ring.  Cars 2001 and later have a metal ring between the seat cushions called a Latch Bar.  This metal ring was designed for baby car seats, but it can be used for the Kwik-Connect Tether too.  A metal ring may also be located in the back of SUVs so that your dog can wear their dog car harness while riding in the cargo area.

So which of these dog car harness brands are the best?  Pet Buckle is the most versatile, but it is limited to 2001 and later car models.  The dog car harness brands which buckle directly into the car (Guardian Gear, Cruising Companion, Ride Right) are great for busy dogs who don’t like to be restricted.  And the Tru-Fit Smart Dog Car Harness is a great security for dogs who don’t mind being restricted in the car.

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