It’s been a month since our last participation in the Barks & Bytes blog hop so we have a lot to cover. I’ll try very hard to be brief. First off, if you haven’t done so already, say Happy Birthday to my Maya who turned 7 at the end of August!
IMPROVED PET DEK
In a review of the Pet Dek that I made back in July, I mentioned how one of the legs kept coming off but I fixed it with a washer. The manufacturer of the Pet Dek saw my post and wanted to let me know that this issue has been fixed and is no longer a concern. Honest reviews really pay off!
FREE SHIPPING ON FLAT SEAT
The Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat is a comparable product and for the month of September, we are offering free shipping.
On Wednesday, September 10th, we shared the photos of three adorable Frenchies: Arnold, Belle, and Wilbur. Their mom first purchased the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat from us. And when she found out we were also in Iowa, she explained how difficult it has been for her to find a dog car seat belt that would fit the odd shape of a Frenchie. And so I offered to visit her in person to try some on. The Kurgo Tru-Fit brand fit them nicely, but the Bergan dog seat belt fit even better. So Arnold, Belle, and Wilbur all have one and they wore them on their recent road trip.
If you haven’t heard of Flea from DogTreatWeb for Jones Natural Chews, then you’re really missing out. Her blog is funny and Flea is such a heartwarming person. We (Maya, Pierson, and I) have been lucky enough to have been able to meet her on two occasions. Once, during the holidays when we made our annual road trip from Kansas to Texas. And the second time just a couple of days ago as she traveled from Oklahoma to Illinois. It was a wonderful visit and Maya and Pierson were extremely spoiled with the Boo Bucket and other treats from Jones Natural Chews.
Remember earlier in the year where I mentioned one of our goals was to acquire the AllSafe dog car harness? Well, we finally got it! As of yesterday, the AllSafe pet seat belt is officially available on PetAutoSafety.com. For now, it has free shipping. This may change later so if you’ve been wanting one, now is the time to get one. Maya has hers already. Keep an eye out on this blog for our review.
The company that provides the AllSafe dog seat belt also has the VarioCage. If you haven’t heard of it before, it is the absolute best car cage on the market. We don’t have this one on our website yet, but it will be available before the end of the month.
LOST DOG COMMENTS
A special thanks to Barbara from K9sOverCoffee and Lindsay with ThatMutt for adding two more means to find a dog lost after a car accident. Post fliers, contact a radio station to see if they will mention the lost pet, and contact shelters and rescue groups every day to see if anyone has brought in the pet. I can’t believe I didn’t think of these. Thank you!!!
Thanks for stopping by, everyone and enjoy the rest of your week!
Having your dog wear a dog seat belt in the vehicle is a great way to keep them from distracting the driver. But you also want them to be safe, right? However, if your dog rides in the cargo area of your hatchback or SUV, you need to know that securing them to cargo rings may not be adequate.
The Center for Pet Safety, a nonprofit research facility for pet products, has recently reported that cargo connections may not have the necessary strength to hold your dog. This means the cargo ring can break if your dog is in a car accident, or even if your dog just pulls on it hard enough. Contact the vehicle manufacturer to find out what amount of force those cargo rings can withstand.
When we rented an SUV one year in order to make our annual trip from Kansas to Texas, we looked diligently for an SUV that had metal connections in the cargo area for Maya and Pierson. We did not find any. As a result, we found a way to connect their dog seat belt harnesses to the safety belt housing of the car located under the seat. However, the Center for Pet Safety advises against this as well.
If you need to have your dog ride in the cargo area, you may need to install a more secure connection in the cargo area. You can also opt to have your dog ride in a crate instead. Just be sure the crate can be secured in place.
We will soon have another option for dogs riding in cargo areas. By the end of September, you will see the VarioCage available on our PetAutoSafety.com retail site. The VarioCage is very expensive but it is also extremely durable. It has been extensively crash tested and even real-life situations have shown that the VarioCage remains intact.
Safety for our pets when we travel is very important and vehicle manufacturers are coming to realize this. More and more car commercials show a dog harnessed in the car. So if you have a vehicle with a cargo area and it doesn’t have cargo rings or just has plastic cargo rings, tell the manufacturer that you want this feature. You may not be able to get it this time around, but they will hear you and hopefully install better connections in future models.
We read a lot of articles about pet travel and have come across more than a few handfuls where a dog involved in a car accident runs away from the scene and is lost for days. We’ve also followed up with many of these articles and have learned the situations where the dog is found. Most of these reunions have elements in common that can help you if your dog escapes from a terrifying situation.
Return to the Scene
Believe it or not, in most cases where a dog runs away after being in a car accident, he is found within less than a mile of the scene. In some cases, he is actually found at or near the area where the wreck took place. If the accident is on a busy roadway, he is probably going to stay some distance back. Look in nearby areas with lots of foliage or other places to hide.
Trauma Makes Dogs Wary
A dog involved in a traumatic situation is very likely to be skittish with strangers, even normally friendly dogs. If you are helping to locate someone’s lost dog, make sure you have their number handy. If the dog moves away from you when you approach, stop approaching them and call for help.
Since traumatized dogs tend to be shy, putting live traps in areas where there have been sightings can help you catch him when you’re not around. A shy dog may also avoid broad daylight. He may hide during the day, and then seek food and water in darker hours. A live trap will help attract the dog and hopefully catch him when people aren’t able to be out searching.
Alert nearby neighbors, notify the local animal shelter and animal control, let the police know, and contact local rescue groups for help. Perhaps even call the local news stations. More than any of the others, individuals from dog rescue groups seem to be the people who most often answer the call to help. They can also be a great resource for getting live traps. Contacting local vet clinics is also a good idea for in case someone brings in a dog that needs medical attention.
Social Media Helps
There are a number of Facebook pages dedicated to finding lost pets. Sometimes pages are created by a family attempting to locate their own lost pet. The people who come together to help are amazing. They share posts, thereby spreading the word about a lost pet, they offer personal assistance with looking for the pet, or they may even have other ways to help. If your dog is missing, post it on CraigsList, Facebook, G+, Twitter, community classifieds, and anything else you can think of.
Protect Yourself from Scammers
Because you are posting the information about your dog publicly, there is a chance you will be contacted by scammers claiming to have found your dog but are wanting money before they return him. The most common scam is from people claiming they were traveling when they found your dog and they want money before they make the long drive back. Don’t fall for it. It is a good idea to withhold a very specific trait about your dog when posting public lost ads. Perhaps your dog has a scar somewhere or a specific mark that is not noticeable in photographs. If a person claiming to have your dog is unwilling to verify specific marks, then they probably don’t really have your dog. A person with the heart enough to pick up an abandoned dog is not likely to ask you for money or be difficult about getting the dog back to you. However, if you are convinced that such a person may, in fact, have your dog, insist on meeting them in person and in a public place before giving them money and see if the police will escort you.
Many of these tips can help in other situations, not just a car accident. If you have any additional tips that might help, please comment below.
(This is not an official study. It is merely an observation we’ve made based on online reports. There are probably a number of situations that were not reported and may not fit in these scenarios. If you’ve lost your pet, consider all options and don’t give up.)
I posted a little bit about my road trip with my dogs, Maya and Pierson, on my American Dog Blog, but I thought I would share a few more details here. Namely, what I did to prepare and how we made sure our travel was comfortable and safe.
TO TAKE THE DOGS OR NOT TO TAKE THE DOGS
A few months ago, I made arrangements to see an alternative medicine doctor for my fibromyalgia in Wichita, Kansas. It is a five-and-a-half hour drive so we opted to drive. As always, we had to take the dogs into consideration. Despite living in Iowa for only a short time, we have met people we could trust to care for our dogs if we left. However, my husband couldn’t go and as a female I didn’t want to travel alone. And so I opted to take both dogs with me.
I would have two doctor visits on two consecutive days, so we needed a place to stay. The medical office gave me a list of nearby hotels. However, they either didn’t allow pets at all, only allowed pets under 20lbs, or charged over $100+ per night. And so I chose the trusty Motel 6. I knew they were both inexpensive and pet friendly. And after our recent pleasant experience at a Motel 6 in Oklahoma, I hoped the one in Wichita would be the same. I was not disappointed. Check out my reviews of this Motel 6 on my American Dog Blog from both the link above and from the August 29, 2014 post.
> Don’t Leave Dogs Alone in Hotel Room
One thing I did not take into consideration during my stay at Motel 6 is that you are not supposed to leave your pets unattended in the room. I should have made doggie day care arrangements for Maya and Pierson, but didn’t think about it.
Most hotels have this rule about leaving pets and I understand why. When some dogs are left alone, they bark or will do damage to the room. Also, there could be problems when the cleaning staff tries to enter the room. Thankfully, Maya and Pierson are familiar with traveling and do well when left alone in a strange place. Pierson had his no-bark collar on. I also put a do not disturb sign on my door so the cleaning staff would not enter.
I won’t tell you everything I packed for myself, but I will tell you I made sure I had plenty of food and drink for the road trip so that I wouldn’t have to run into a convenience store and leave my dogs alone in the car. For Maya and Pierson, I packed enough dog food for two nights, water, their food and water dishes, leashes, dog car harnesses, vet records, pet first aid kit, Petz on Board sign with emergency contact info, dog beds, poo bags, treats, and the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat.
I opted to take my husband’s car instead of mine. My car is a 1998 model and has been salvaged twice so I don’t want to drive it that far if I don’t have to. I covered the entire back seat of my husband’s car with a sheet and set up the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat. I also connected the tethers of their dog car harnesses to the seat belt housings. Maya wore the Kurgo Go-Tech and Pierson wore the Ruff Rider Roadie. (Maya usually wears the ClickIt Utility dog seat belt, but it is so restrictive I didn’t want to use this one for such a long journey.)
> Calming and Preventing Car Sickness
About 20 minutes before the trip, I applied Travel Calm from Earth Heart to both Maya and Pierson. Maya needs it because she is so excited in the car and drives me nuts with her happy whining. Pierson sometimes gets car sick and Travel Calm also helps with this.
Both dogs did very well on the drive to Wichita, but Maya was a pesty-poo on the way back home. I’m not sure if she was uncomfortable or what, but the Travel Calm did not work this time. She whined so much that I made several stops thinking perhaps she had to go to the bathroom. She didn’t. In any case, it took much longer for us to get home.
> Don’t Leave Dogs Alone in the Car
I didn’t have to stop for a restroom on the drive to our destination, but I had to stop for myself on the drive back. I hated to leave my dogs in the car, but I had no choice. Pets are not allowed in public restrooms, period. Luckily, I pulled up next to some nice ladies and asked if they could keep a short eye out for my pups. They were happy to oblige. I wouldn’t always trust this tactic, but you gotta do what you gotta do and I like to think that most people are relatively trustworthy.
Have you taken any recent road trips with your dogs? Please leave a comment below. If you’d like to do a guest post on your pet travels, email me.
When the ClickIt Utility came out in the fall of 2013, it was rated as the safest dog car harness by the non-profit organization, The Center for Pet Safety (CPS). It is a fantastic seat belt that helps keep your dog very secure in the car. But since it is a brand new design, it has a few drawbacks. One, it is difficult to size and adjust. Two, it is a little bulky for smaller dogs. The company that designed the ClickIt Utility has listened to our feedback and designed the new ClickIt Sport.
The ClickIt Utility dog car harness is heavier and bulkier, which makes it less than ideal for some dogs. The ClickIt Sport promises to be lighter in weight but still have the same safety durability.
EASIER TO USE
The ClickIt Sport still has three points of contact and so will still be very restrictive. However, it is easier to connect these three points on the ClickIt Sport than it is on the ClickIt Utility. It no longer requires the latchbar connections so it can be used in older cars.
The sizing is more adjustable, allowing it to fit a larger range of dog shapes and sizes.
Not only did Sleepypod, the company that designed the ClickIt Sport, crash test this pet travel product themselves, they also had it tested by an independent nonprofit organization called The Center for Pet Safety (CPS). If you recall, CPS did an extensive crash test study on 11 dog seat belts in 2013. They have since streamlined their studies and offer a CPS certification to any company who wants their dog seat belts tested. This is a voluntary service and the tests are rigorous. As of the date of this post, the ClickIt Sport is the only dog car harness to have received the CPS Certification.
A new infinity loop design (patent pending) reduces the pressure on a dog in a car accident and eliminates the need for metal hardware. It is now easier to attach a leash to the ClickIt Sport for walking. And the harness now has added reflector strips.
COMING THIS FALL
We don’t yet know when in fall the ClickIt Sport will be available, but we are staying on top of it and hope to have them in no more than a week after Sleepypod releases them. So stay tuned!
Maya just turned 7! Except for the rain, she’s pretty happy about it. Seven years and still a puppy.
She’s been promoting safety for dogs in the car with dog travel gear since 2007. Her birthday wish is that all doggies travel safely. And she wants you to use discount code, dogbirthday, on PetAutoSafety.com.
(Please note, the discount code does not apply to some products. It does apply to all seat belts and most travel carriers.)
Since I have big dogs, traveling in the car can be a little uncomfortable for them. Maya likes to stand up when she rides in the car. So even with her dog car harness on, she had a difficult time keeping her front paws on the edge of the seat. If I stopped too fast, she’d slip and her front paws would end up on the floor. If I ever had to make an emergency stop, she could have been hurt. So how did I solve this problem while at the same time giving my big dogs more room to stretch on out long road trips? I’ve done it with seat extenders like the Backseat Bridge, Pet Dek, or Portable Pet Flat Seat.
The Backseat Bridge from Kurgo has been around for a while. I’ve always loved it, and still do. Then the Pet Dek came along and I fell in love all over again. It solved some of the issues with the Bridge. But now there is the Portable Pet Flat Seat. How is one to decide which one is best for them and their dog? Here are some comparisons:
The Portable Pet Flat Seat was so easy to install, I didn’t even have to read the instructions! While the Pet Dek was easy too, I did have a problem with one of the legs that kept coming off. I was able to fix it, but if I hadn’t been handy I might have requested the product be replaced. I probably just had bad luck. If this one had not had this trouble, the Pet Dek would have been very simple to put in the car. The Backseat Bridge has four wrap-around straps, making it just a tad bit more work to set up in the car. Rating installation, I’d say the Pet Dek is #1 for the easiest. The Flat Seat is #2. And the Bridge is #3.
Both the Flat Seat and the Pet Dek can be a little heavy as compared to the Bridge. I’m not sure of the exact weight but if you are a small petite person, the Flat Seat and Pet Dek can be slightly cumbersome. Also, the Bridge folds up nice and small while the Pet Dek only folds in half and the Flat Seat doesn’t fold at all. So for bulkiness, the Bridge is less bulky and I rate it as #1. The Pet Dek is #2. And the Flat Seat is #3.
Flatness & Gaps
Unless the back seat is completely flat, the bridge leaves a bit of a lip that my dogs Maya and Pierson didn’t care for. Although they had more room to stretch out, this lip could be a challenge. Neither the Pet Dek nor the Flat Seat has a lip. They are completely flat. Regarding gaps, however, the Bridge had minimal gaps. But because the Pet Dek is one size only, there tended to be a gap between it and both the front and back seats. I solved this problem by putting stuff between the gaps. You may be able to see it in the photo. Because the Flat Seat is so thin, the gaps are extremely minimal. Rating flatness, I put the Portable Pet Flat Seat at #1, the Pet Dek at #2, and the Bridge at #3. Rating gaps, I put the Flat Seat at #1, the Bridge at #2, and the Pet Dek at #3. By the way, with the Bridge and Flat Seat the front seats have to be even. You can’t have one seat further back than the other. This is not the case with the Pet Dek.
The Backseat Bridge is the least expensive. That is because it is manufactured by a large company (Kurgo) that makes a number of pet products. This allows them to be very cost effective. They even provide a lifetime guarantee and have a great repair and replacement policy to cover normal wear and tear or any other damage your dog might do. Both the Pet Dek and the Portable Pet Flat Seat don’t have these features. They are designed by individual entrepreneurs who only have this one product and are considered small family run businesses. Another thing that makes them more expensive is they are made here in the USA. So in rating costs, the Bridge is #1, the Pet Dek is #2, and the Flat Seat is #3. If you’re all about supporting small US businesses, then the Pet Dek and Flat seat are both #1.
Using Dog Seat Belts
There is no rating on which of these three pet travel products are best when it comes to being able to use your dog seat belt. All three allow for the use of seat belts. However, I will say that as a company both the Bridge and the Flat Seat actively promote buckling up your dog.
No single one of these pet travel seat extenders rated #1 in everything. So consider which features are most important to you. While I love all three of these products, I’ve decided that I like the Portable Pet Flat Seat the most. I think my dogs Maya and Pierson do too.
Thank you for stopping by again everyone! As you’ve noticed, I don’t do Barks & Bytes every week. That is because I don’t want to inunduate you all with advertising! I have two dog blogs and this one is mostly promotional. What can I say? I’ve got two pampered pups to support! (If you’re interested in my non-promotional dog blog about Maya and Pierson, check out my personal blog, http://americandogblog.wordpress.com/)
PORTABLE PET TRAVEL FLAT SEAT
I’ve probably posted about this new pet travel product a dozen times on my social media sites already but that is because I really love it. I’ve always loved its comparable product, the Backseat Bridge, but the Portable Pet Flat Seat is a hundred times better! True it is more expensive too, but you get what you pay for. And I really got my money’s worth. Next week I’ll compare the flat seat with the other two seat extenders I have.
Despite the fact that I’m always on the lookout for new pet travel products, I did not actually find this product. The woman who designed the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat (Deb) found me. She is a dog lover who noticed that her big dog sometimes comes off the seat even though he is wearing his dog car harness, and so designed this product to give him more room to spread out and be comfortable. The black dog in the photo, by the way, is her dog Howie.
Anyway, Deb called me one day while I was walking Pierson and asked if I would advertise her product on my site. Just advertise, I asked? What if I try to sell it too? She had never heard of dropshipping and so I explained it to her. And a relationship was born. In exchange for some graphic designs (because I am an artist too) I received a Portable Pet Flat Seat of my very own. Here is a video of me installing it for the first time.
As you can see, the installation took me less than 10 minutes. It might have taken me less time if I had read the instructions first!
Maya is featured in the video. And just so my dog Pierson wouldn’t be left out, I took some photos of him on the pet travel flat seat as well.
What do you think? Isn’t he handsome? Silly question, right? Of course he’s handsome!
PET TRAVELER’S COMMENTS
Thank you Jodi, Linda, and Lindsay (with That Mutt) for being regular commentors on my pet travel blog. I really appreciate your feedback. And I want to also apologize to Jodi for the fact that her comments do not always get posted right away. For whatever reason, Jodi, your comments are going to my spam folder! I have no idea why. It shouldn’t be doing that for people I have approved comments for in the past. And so it took me three days to notice you left a comment and for me to approve it. Since I don’t have Captcha, I get over 100 comments in my spam folder a day. If I don’t check my spam comments every day, they can build up fast. Luckily, Jodi, I found both your comments on the Barks & Bytes #8 post through the 500 or so spam comments that had built up. I’m sorry it took me so many days to find. And I’m sorry comments have to go through moderation. But I’d rather search through 100 or more comments a day than utilize Captcha.
PET TRAVEL SAFETY ARTICLES
My new writer, Patrice, has written another great pet travel article for me. Check out Plan a Great Pet Friendly Trip.
Thanks for stopping by for the Barks & Bytes blog hop! Have a great rest of the week and a great tail-waggin’ weekend!
Pierson has actually been using the Ruff Rider Roadie for some time. He actually has several dog car harness brands to choose from, but I’ve been using the Roadie almost exclusively since that report from the Center for Pet Safety came out in October 2013. Besides safety, there are a lot of other reasons why I love this brand. So let me share them with you, along with some opposing features.
The Center for Pet Safety did an independent crash test study of various dog seat belt brands in October 2013, and I’m happy to say that the Roadie did very well. They determined the ClickIt Utility to be the safest and the Roadie and the AllSafe followed 2nd. This information makes me feel better about my boy Pierson’s safety.
One thing about the safest ClickIt Utility brand is that it is also the most restrictive. You dog can’t stand up in it and will have a difficult time moving from the sitting to the laying down position. This restriction is a good thing in safety, but let’s face it, many dogs do not like to be that restricted. One great thing about the Ruff Rider Roadie is that it can allow your dog a little more freedom to move. Its tether has two setting, one that makes the tether very short and one that makes it a little longer. With the longer option, your dog can sit, stand, and lay down with ease. Pierson is good about staying in one place in the car, so I generally use the shorter tether option.
MADE IN USA
Nope, the ClickIt Utility is not made in the USA. Neither is the AllSafe. But the Ruff Rider Roadie dog seat belt is made right here in the United States. And it has been around and continuously improving for 15 years.
FITS ALL SIZES
Pierson is a medium sized dog, so he doesn’t have a problem in sizing. But you should know the ClickIt and the AllSafe are not made to fit very small dogs. The Roadie, on the other hand, does fit little pets.
The Roadie pet car harness is very well made. The material is a very strong webbing, yet not bulky. The size adjusting buckle is plastic, but this buckle is not part of what keeps the harness on your dog. If it breaks, your dog will still be in his harness.
The Roadie does not have a padded chest piece like the ClickIt or AllSafe. But the cross piece is designed to lie low on your dog’s chest so that it doesn’t choke him. Pierson likes it because it’s comfortable without being bulky.
Because the Ruff Rider Roadie pet seat belt isn’t put on with clasps, it can be a bit difficult to put on. Luckily, my Pierson is very cooperative. He’s been wearing dog car harnesses since the day I got him, so he allows me to slip the Roadie on and put each of his legs in the leg holes. If you have a dog that doesn’t hold still well or is likely to resist, then you may have a challenge in putting this one on.
Because the Roadie doesn’t have clasps and because it has to be adjusted loose enough to put on your dog, it fits a little loose. This is actually a good thing. You don’t want a harness that is too tight. If you have a dog that keeps trying to get out of his dog seat belt, a tighter fit is not going to stop him from trying. The tighter it is, the more likely he is to hurt himself when he tries to get out of it. With training, a dog is more likely to get used to a loosely comfortable harness than a tight fitting one.
The Ruff Rider Roadie has seven different sizes. This makes it a bit difficult in determining which size to get your dog. At the same time, because it has so many different sizes, it is likely to fit many more dog breeds than other brands.
When shopping for the right pet car harness for you and your dog, look at safety, but also be aware of the possible cons. The Ruff Rider Roadie is almost perfect because it has such a high safety rating yet only a few cons. It is also very competitively priced. I love the Roadie. And although Pierson is not thrilled with the process of me putting it on him, he is very comfortable in it once it is on.