Welcome to the Barks and Bytes blog hop where anything goes. I could talk about anything, but you know where you are so you have a pretty good idea of what I’m going to talk about, right? Barks and Bytes is hosted by two of our favorite dog bloggers, 2 Brown Dawgs and Heart Like a Dog.
PREVIOUS BARKS AND BYTES
Hawk with BrownDog CBR said, “Hi Y’all! My Human is talking about getting me a longer strap for my car harness. I like the one that goes on the people seat belt ’cause it has some give. On trips I do sit, lay and like to turn around. I’m beyond eating through the restraint. However, I’ve become adept, with either type, unclickin’ the seat belt or strap from the seat! BOL!!! We get where we’re going and when my Human goes to take me out she discovers I’ve freed myself!“
Hawk, I have the perfect dog seat belt tether for you. It is the one from Bergan. It doesn’t click into the seat belt exactly, but it does connect to it. It would be highly unlikely that you’d be able to unclick out of it. I also indicated the Angel Guard in a reply. The Angel Guard is designed to keep young children from unbuckling themselves. But it can work for certain dog seat belts too. I would need to see your seat belt tether in order to make sure it will work, though.
Donna with Donna and the Dogs said, “I think it’s great that you share the pros and cons of each product you sell…it certainly makes for easier purchasing!”
Thanks, Donna! I’ve found that telling people everything up front keeps the number of returns down. All the articles out there talking about how the ClickIt Utility is the safest dog car harness out there make people think it is the best. It is a fantastic product, but they get returned a lot because people don’t realize how much some dogs really hate to wear them. Or they get returned because they are so darned difficult to adjust. Telling people these things up front allows them to make informed decisions.
Jodi with Heart Like a Dog said, “I see your point about Kurgo, but how does one find out what types of manufacturers a company has hired? For instance, I don’t want to support someone who is funding a sweat shop somewhere that only pays pennies per hour.”
This is an excellent point, Jodi. Keep in mind the quality of the product you are buying. A well-made product like Kurgo requires skilled labor. Unskilled labor is not going to be able to make quality items. Since skilled labor is harder to come by, a manufacturer needs to entice them with higher wages. Another point is that a company with a well-known brand is not going to risk tarnishing their good name by hiring a manufacturer who runs their company like a sweat shop.
GETTING OUT OF A DOG CAR HARNESS
Jodi also said, “Great advice Dawn, I was thinking along the same lines, you can’t just grab a harness and snap your dog into a car and have everything be perfect. Delilah wears a harness sometimes when we walk or train, SO I think she would be more comfortable in the car than Sampson would. Plus she typically just lies down on long car rides. I think it will take some time for Sampson to get used to it, but I don’t think it’s impossible.”
I really think that if Maya hadn’t been wearing a dog car harness since she was a pup, it would be nearly impossible to get her to wear one now. Even though she has been wearing one forever, she is still very unsettled when she wears one. When she was wearing her Kurgo Go-Tech, for example, I had to switch out their loop tether for the Bergan tether because she wouldn’t hold still and would get herself tangled. Thankfully, early and continuous training has made her not-quite-so-impossible.
Lindsay with That Mutt said, “Such helpful advice! The first thing most of us would think of would be to tighten the harness, but you’ve shown us why that’s probably not the best idea.”
A common complaint we get with dog car harnesses is that some dogs can get out of them. So they ask us, “Is there one that is escape proof?” And I say, “I wish!” If I were to claim one to be escape proof, there is most likely someone out there who has a Houdini-dog and will prove me wrong.
Ann with My Pawsitively Pets said, “I never would have thought about this issue with dog seat harnesses before… I’m sure it happens all the time though. I’ve seen plenty of dogs escape from their collar in the past.”
Happens all the time, I’m afraid. We want to keep our dogs safe, but sometimes they don’t make it easy for us.
CONTEST TO WIN A DOG SEAT BELT
There is just one more day to enter a contest to win a dog car harness from us. You can win any of the dog seat belt brands we sell, and we sell the best.
QUICK PET SAFETY TIP
If you have big dogs that like to ride in the car, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Backseat Bridge from Kurgo. What I love about it the most is that it gives my two big dogs more room in the back. My back seats are so narrow that Maya especially would be very uncomfortable trying to sit in her dog seat belt without sliding off. Plus, the Backseat Bridge has three safety features to consider: 1) It has a divider to separate the front from the back seat; 2) It covers the floor so that if your dog is not buckled up and you have to stop suddenly, your dog won’t get thrown onto the floor; and 3) If your dog is buckled up but has to use a longer tether because they like to move around a lot, the Backseat Bridge keeps them from getting launched off the seat. Being launched off the seat is what kept some dog car harnesses from getting the top safety rating. Incidentally, the Kurgo dog car hammock has these same features. It has an additional benefit, though, in that it also covers the seat like a seat cover.
That’s all the barking and byting I have to do for now. Leave your barks and bytes below?
My name is Dawn Ross and I am the owner of Pet Auto Safety. I started this website in 2006 because I have dogs, I love my dogs, and I want to do what is best to keep them safe. One thing I really enjoy about all the pet travel safety products we sell is that I get to try them with my own dogs. Maya and Pierson are my guinea pigs, so to speak. Because of them, I learn more about the items we sell; the ins and outs and the pros and the cons. And over the years, I have found the ones I like the best.
KURGO BRAND PRODUCTS
Kurgo has a variety of car travel products designed just for dogs. One thing I absolutely love about Kurgo is their quality. All their merchandise is very well made and they have a lifetime warranty against defects. They also have a great repair and replacement policy. If your dog damages the Kurgo cargo cover, for example, or if it simply wears down from use, you can have it repaired or replaced by Kurgo for a nominal fee, plus shipping.
This is my absolute most favorite item from Kurgo. Maya and Pierson are big dogs. And even though they are wearing a dog safety belt, because the seat is so narrow they can still come off it if I have to stop suddenly. The Backseat Bridge keeps this from happening. The other benefit is Maya and Pierson have more room to stretch out for when we take those long road trips.
Tru-Fit and Go-Tech Canine Car Harnesses
Although the Tru-Fit brand did not perform as well in safety as a few other top brands, I still like this product very much. In fact, Maya was wearing the Go-Tech dog safety belt when we were in a minor car accident in July 2013. She was not injured at all. I love the color selections of the Kurgo dog car harnesses, I like how they fit, and I really appreciate how easy they are to put on.
One thing I do not like, however, is the looped tether all their harnesses come with. Maya likes to move around in the car and will get herself tangled in these loop tethers. Thankfully, Kurgo has a direct connect tether that can be purchased separately. One thing about the Go-Techs is that not everyone has found them to fit well. The neck size is not adjustable so it may be too big on some dogs.
Maya likes to go swimming at the dog park. The problem is, on the way back she attracts dirt, which turns into mud. Also, Maya and Pierson shed a lot. This stuff can get all over my car. In order to protect my car, I need to cover the places where my dogs ride. I have a seat cover already, but I want to protect the doors too. The Kurgo door guards are perfect for this. Maya can put her muddy paws on the door all she wants. And the door guards are so easy to put in, as well as to take out.
Other Kurgo products you can use to protect your vehicle interior include the Wander hammocks and the cargo cover. Kurgo also has a nice selection of car seat covers.
This is a list of my favorite Kurgo travel items. But I like a lot of other brands too. Come back tomorrow to see the rest of my list of favorite pet safety products.
Welcome to 2014! A new year means getting a fresh start. It means resolving to do what you’ve been putting off. You and your dog are going to get fit, you’re going to eat better, and you’re going to do more fun activities together. When making all these resolutions, don’t forget to include the safety of your best furry friend.
Use a Pet Travel Safety Device
You know, I can’t mention pet safety without mentioning dog seat belts or pet travel carriers. If your dog rides in the car, it is a good idea to make sure he rides safe. If he won’t wear a car harness or ride in a crate, at least consider covering the floor of the back seat or putting up a barrier to separate the front and the back of the vehicle. The Backseat Bridge is a great way to do both. By putting this in your car, you can help keep your dog from getting thrown onto the floor or into the front seat. The barrier might even keep him from trying to climb in the front.
Don’t Leave Your Pet in the Car
Resolve to never go anywhere with your dog where you have to leave him alone in the car. In spring and summer, you have to worry about the vehicle trapping heat. In the fall and winter, you have to worry about the car acting as a freezer. Plus, there is a danger of theft. And don’t even tell me about the sorts of people who hate animals and like to maliciously tease them.
Keep Head and Paws Inside the Vehicle
Also, make sure when your pet rides in the car that he doesn’t put his head or paws out the window. If you have to stop or swerve suddenly, your dog could choke or get thrown out of the vehicle. It’s happened, people. It really has. Flying road debris could also hurt your best friend’s eyes or nose. Not only are there small pebbles to worry about, but also trash that people toss out their windows.
Don’t Ride in the Back of a Pickup
And for goodness sake, don’t let your dog ride in the back of a pickup. This is becoming illegal in more and more places. And for a very good reason.
Wear a Dog Life Jacket
Besides protection in cars, there are other safety things to consider for your pet. If your dog likes to swim or ride in a boat, make sure he wears a safety vest. Even though my Maya can swim, I generally have her wear a life jacket when she swims in a lake. This is because she loves swimming so much that I worry about her swimming too far after a stick or a ball. I worry about her getting too tired in the water.
Protect From Weather
Keep your dog safe then they are outdoors in adverse weather. Adverse weather includes rain, sleet, snow, and even the sun. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, make sure he has shelter. Shelter can help protect him against all sorts of weather. Always make sure he has fresh water. This is vital, but even more so in the heat. Protect paws from hot pavements and icy sidewalks, have short-coated dogs wear coats or sunscreen, and if hiking in nature watch out for wild animals and insects.
Wear a Lighted Collar
If you walk your dog at night, be sure your dog wears a lighted collar or reflective safety vest. If not your dog, at least yourself. Well, don’t wear a collar but at least carry some sort of light with you. You may see a car coming because of their headlights, but they can’t always see you.
Get Safe Chew Toys
If your dog is a chewer, resolve to find more dog toys that are indestructible. Resolve to supervise your dog whenever he plays with certain toys. Keep things that are unsafe to chew or eat out of his reach.
There are a lot of other pet safety things to consider, but I can hardly think of them all. Besides, pet car safety is my specialty.
What do you do to protect your best friend’s safety?
It’s almost time for our annual road trip from Kansas to Texas to visit family. The drive takes about eleven hours. Taking such a long trip with two big dogs requires careful preparation and planning.
Why Do We Drive?
An eleven hour trip sounds intimidating. But when you have two big dogs, visiting family for the holidays doesn’t leave many options. Boarding kennels and pet sitters tend to be booked up this time of year. Flying can be expensive, not to mention a very stressful situation for pets that need to ride in the cargo area of the plane. Winter weather can also prevent your dog from being able to fly.
While driving requires several hours of our vacation to be spent on the road, for us it is the best option. I’m not sad and worried about Maya and Pierson because they’re with me. And the gas expense is less than one flight ticket.
PREPARING FOR THE TRIP
Now that we know we are going to drive, we just need to work out the logistics. Is our vehicle in good shape, including the tires? Is a car enough, or should we rent an SUV? Last year we rented an SUV because our friends went with us and four adults and two big dogs just wouldn’t fit in our sedan.
This year it is just my husband and I and the two dogs so we can take our car. We’re not taking mine this year, though. We are taking my husband’s. My car is already fitted with all the dog gear, but it is an older model vehicle and I don’t want to risk it breaking down on the way. So before our trip, I need to outfit my husband’s Camry for Maya and Pierson. The first thing it needs is a seat cover. I will also install the Backseat Bridge because it covers the floor and gives my big pups more room to stretch out for the long trip.
Will we do the entire drive all in one day, or will we stay overnight at a hotel? Most times, we drive straight through. But this year, we are visiting friends in Tulsa and so will stay in a hotel. To prepare, we need to find a pet friendly hotel in Tulsa and make reservations.
Health & Temperament
Maya and Pierson are in good health and so will be fine on this trip. But depending on your pet, you may want to consider his health before going on your road trip. In addition, think about how much or how little your dog likes to ride in the car. If he doesn’t like to ride, you may need to start getting him used to it now by taking short road trips to somewhere fun. You can also ask your vet about possible pet anxiety treatments you can give him.
A week before the trip, I compile a packing list. I add to it as things come to mind so that by the day of the trip, I know everything I need to take. For the dogs, I need their food, treats, food and water bowls, water, toys, blankets, beds, leashes, veterinary records, poop bags, their dog seat belts, first aid kit, and I need to make sure their id tags are secure on their collars. Since we are staying in a hotel, I should think about bringing their pet crates too.
Right Before We Leave
Besides checking off the packing list and making sure our vehicle has gas, I also like to administer Travel Calm to both Maya and Pierson. Maya gets excited in the vehicle and the all natural Travel Calm really helped keep her relaxed and quiet on our trip last year. Pierson sometimes gets car sick and Travel Calm helps with that too.
The next thing we do before we go is let the dogs go potty. And the final thing is to make sure our house is secure. If we didn’t already have someone watching our house, we’d be talking to our neighbors to ask them to keep an eye out. We’d also reduce the thermostat and make sure we didn’t leave any unnecessary appliances turned on.
THE ROAD TRIP
When traveling such a long distance, it is a good idea for us and the dogs to make plenty of pit stops. We stop at rest areas or gas stations to stretch our legs or use the restroom. For the dogs, I make sure their leashes are secure before letting them out of the car. It helps that they are already secured in their dog seat belts. All I have to do is attach their leash, then release the buckle that keeps them secured.
When I take them to go potty, I make sure they only go in designated pet areas. And I always pick up after them. If we’re in a public area, I am careful about not imposing my dogs on other people. I keep control of them as much as possible for both their safety and for the sake of others.
While it would probably be much more convenient if we could travel without having to worry about the dogs, I really enjoy taking them. For me, the holidays just wouldn’t be the same without my Maya and Pierson. If you’re traveling by car this holiday and taking your best friend with you, consider our preparation plans and apply them for your situation. And send us pictures!
Dawn with Maya & Pierson
Friday is here again. Let’s do the happy dance! What’s the happy dance? It’s the same dance your dog does when it is time for dinner. This week’s Follow Up Friday is hosted by Jodi with Heart Like a Dog and Linda with 2 Brown Dawgs. After you see what we have been up to this week, visit their blogs and other dog blogs from the follow up blog hop below.
Last Week’s Follow Up
We Live in a Flat says they can’t use the new ClickIt Utility because they have an older car without the latchbars. Guess what? My car, the one that was recently rear-ended, is an older car too. It has no latchbars either. So if Maya rides in my car, I can only secure her through the back of the ClickIt harness. I can’t use the two side tethers to secure her. Despite that, Maya is still very secure, as secure as she was in the other dog car harness brands. However, her security is not as good as it would be if she was using all three connections. But it is still secure and I am a firm believer that something is better than nothing, especially when using nothing means Maya will be all over the car and distracting me when I drive.
Canine epilepsy was from a post back in May, but the comment is from this past week. Dawn Frost with MR2BC Travel Logs asks, “By the way, what do you do to keep Pierson safe in your vehicle in case he seizes. We have a backseat hammock for Morgan. The hammock keeps him from getting caught in cracks and crevices.”
The hammock is an excellent idea to keep Morgan from getting caught on something and from falling onto the floor. Pierson wears a dog car harness to keep him from falling onto the floor if he seizes. The Kurgo Backseat Bridge also helps keep him from falling onto the floor. And I suppose the pet car seat cover keeps him from getting caught on anything. Who would have thought that pet travel safety products can also help protect a dog with canine epilepsy?
Comparing Pet Seat Belts
Mollie’s Dog Treats says, “I’ve got to get Mollie a new seat belt, the one she has is fraying as we use it for walking too and has been washed so many times where she goes in the mud LOL. XXOOXX“
Yes, you definitely should get a new safety harness if the other one is fraying. You don’t want it to break.
Roxy the Traveling Dog says, “Torrey is in the back seat and lays down, sits up, changes positions. I can’t see her loving a harness at all.”
So very true for many dogs. Pet seat belts will take away their freedom and could make them uncomfortable. I could say, too bad. If we make our children wear seat belts even though they are more comfortable without them, then we should make our dogs too. But it is not just about comfort. A dog that does not like to be restrained will likely try to get out of the harness. Sorry folks, but there is no such thing as an escape-proof seat belt. A determined dog can get out of them. And the harder they try to get out, the more likely they are to hurt themselves and defeat the purpose of the safety device.
Training might help. Maya had to be trained to get used to hers. I have to work with her again with the very restrictive ClickIt Utility. She had more freedom with the other brands, but this one is something she is not used to at all and I don’t want her to fight it and get out of it. There are also other pet travel safety products such as a secured pet travel carrier or a car seat for dogs (which Roxy is considering).
We had a number of friends tell us their dogs already wear pet seat belts. Let’s put our paws together for Snoopy with Snoopy’s Dog Blog, Shiner with Pawsitively Pets, and Dexter with Fidose of Reality! A lot of people loved Clover’s photo from Wordless Wednesday so here are a couple others of her:
ClickIt Utility Giveaway
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway posted on October 5th to win the new ClickIt Utility. If you’ve already entered, don’t forget you can submit more entries on the rafflecopter by tweeting daily.
Thanks for joining us for this Follow Up Friday. Thank you Jodi and Linda for hosting the blog hop. Enjoy your weekend and see you all next week!
Friday is here again! It’s time to recap the past week’s events. And let me tell you, it has been an eventful week. Before I get to that, though, let me thank Jodi with Heart Like a Dog and Lynda from Two Ears and a Tail for hosting the Follow Up Friday blog hop. Thanks!
There were a lot of great comments from last week’s Follow Up Friday. One that needs special mention is the one from Flea with DogTreatWeb for Jones Natural Chews. She knows we go from Kansas to Texas and back every year and that we drive through Oklahoma on the way. So she invited us to stop by on the way back! I’m so excited!!! I can’t wait to meet Flash, Patches, Jimmy, and all the lovely hens. And Flea would love to meet Pierson. So be sure to subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss the post about our trip at the end of December.
The New ClickIt Utility Dog Safety Belt is Here!
I knew the ClickIt Utility was going to be nice but I didn’t really expect it to work well enough to keep my Maya in her seat. She is a crazy dog and likes to stand up and move around. This is the first pet car harness that keeps her in her seat. I really truly love it!
Ms. Phoebe the cat had a good question about the ClickIt Utility. She asked if her 70lb doggie sister would be able to lie down in the harness. The answer is yes. My Labrador Maya wanted to move around so badly, but the only thing she could do to move was to lie down. Having the Kurgo Backseat Bridge in place might help my big girl be able to lie down in the forward facing position without hanging off the seat. (The photo of Maya above does not show the Kurgo Backseat Bridge because I took the photo in my husband’s car. My car is a 1998 and does not have the latch system.)
Snoopy with Snoopy’s dog blog asked if the dog safety belt harness could also be used as a walking harness. Yes, Snoopy, it can. It has a ring on the back to allow for this. It does not, however, have a ring in the front like the Kurgo harness does.
Roxi asked if her 75lb German Shepherd and 30lb mixed breed could both ride in the back seat while wearing this pet car harness. Yes, Roxi, both can ride in the back seat. All vehicles 2001 model and later have the latchbar system in place for baby car seats. This latchbar system consists of these metal anchors located between the seat cushions. For both the left and right side of the seat (but not the middle) there are two anchors.
There are no anchors in the front seat so your dog will not be able to wear the ClickIt in the front. Other brands, however, may work in the front seat. We usually do not recommend dogs in the front seat, though, because front passenger side airbags are not safe for dogs.
The Center for Pet Safety Report is Out
Remember the 2001 report where four harnesses failed, thereby mislabeling all pet seat belts as a failure? Well the October 2013 report showed that not all brands were failures. The ClickIt Utility dog safety belt got the highest marks. It outperformed all other brands. Other brands did okay and still others completely failed. If you haven’t read my post regarding this, please go check it out now. It was published October 3rd, 2013.
Callie, Shadow, and Ducky’s mom from SamsNorthernGirl blog mentioned a couple of dogs probably would not be comfortable wearing the ClickIt Utility dog safety belt because it is too restrictive. Both Callie and Shadow have mild hip dysplasia that could be aggravated by being forced to stay in one place. The restriction of this particular brand is definitely something people want to consider. While it is good to be as restricted in the car as much as possible in most cases, I can see how something like hip problems could be an exception.
Thankfully, other brands did not fail the test. A brand like the Ruff Rider Roadie harness may not have done as well as the ClickIt, but it did not fail the testing done by the Center for Pet Safety. There are other methods of keeping your dog safe in the car as well. A secured pet travel crate might be just as good as a harness. The Center for Pet Safety has not yet conducted studies on this but will. We will keep you posted.
Thank you all for stopping by and for your comments. The more we engage in conversations about the safety of our pets, the better things will get.
Today I am joining Jodi with HeartLikeADog for the Follow Up Friday blog hop. Thank you so much Jodi for inviting me!
Comments from Recent Follow Up Friday #9
Flea with DogTreatWeb for Jones Natural Chews says her dog Patches loves to put his head out the window, probably for the extra bug bonus!
Hawk with BrownDogCBR.Blogspot.com says he doesn’t get to put his head out the window. I also noticed on his September 2nd post that Hawk rides in a crate in the cargo area. He’s the perfect dog to show that not all dogs have to wear a dog seat belt in order to ride safe. Give me a high five paw!
Donna’s mom with WeLiveInAFlat says they had something hit their windshield once when they were driving and it left a dent. She imagined how terrible it would have been if it had hit a dog in the face. Ouch!
Jodi with HeartLikeADog wanted to know if we will let you all know about any new safety test result reports from the Center for Pet Safety. Absolutely! If there are brands they recommend that we don’t currently have, we make sure to get them on our site too. One particular brand that I am super excited about is the new ClickIt from Sleepypod. They are coming later this month. I have already spoken to the people at Sleepypod and they said much of their design is based on information they’ve received from the Center for Pet Safety.
Jodi says she sometimes uses a bar barrier in her vehicle to keep her dogs from getting in the front. She says she is bad about using them, though, and I completely understand. The metal barriers can be a hassle to put up and take down. The Pet Net Brand pet car nets are easier.
Jodi says Sampson likes to ride shotgun and will try to sneak up front when the car is stopped. I admit there were a couple of times when Sephi rode in the car and I didn’t put her seat belt on her. She would do the same thing.
Carol with FidoseOfReality thanked us for posting about alternatives to dog seat belts. Thank you, Carol for stopping by. And thank you for all the valuable information you have shared on your blog about ACL injuries. I’ve never heard of it before your Dexter. I hear Sherman from MyBrownNewfies has the same injury. It must be more common than I thought.
Donna with DonnaAndTheDogs likes the idea of the Breeze Guard car window screens. And Snoopy with Snoopy with SnoopysDogBlog asks about the Backseat Bridge. He asks if it basically extends the depth of the back seat. Yep, that is exactly what it does. There is more room for a big dog like you to stretch out. Although, if I remember correctly, you feel more comfortable on the floor.
Maya’s Pooch Plunge
After spending a marvelous weekend visiting my mom in Missouri (see my other blog, AmericanDogBlog.wordpress.com), Maya went on her first car ride since our car accident in July. I’m glad the event didn’t scare her from car rides as she was as excited as ever. Where did we go? I took her to the Pooch Plunge here in Lawrence, Kansas.
Every year at the end of summer, the public pools are drained. And the day or so before they are drained our Parks & Rec opens the pool to the dogs. It was just $5 and it was a blast! Here is one photo from the event. For more photos, and hopefully a video too, check out my other blog on Saturday.
Recent News Events Involving Dogs in Car Accidents
Three recent news stories brought tears to my eyes. All are about dogs being involved in car accidents. The first one is about a dog named Ily (pronounced Ely). She, her owner, and another dog were involved in a very serious car accident. The other dog was killed. The owner was seriously injured. And Ily ran off in fear. Ily was missing for over two months in the Arizona desert. She lost 25 pounds during the ordeal and was so lucky to have been found.
The other story is about a dog named Jet. Jet also went missing after a car accident in Pequannock Township, NJ on August 23rd. Jet was found yesterday and is in good spirits. There is an awesome reunion video on a Facebook page for Jet. I’ve also posted it on our PetAutoTravelSafety Facebook page. Be sure you have a tissue handy before you watch it. Also, a Rottweiler named Isa that went through the windshield in a car accident in Howard City, MI has been found safe. The story is covered by Fox17.
Still missing is a Tibetan Terrier named Monk in Milladore, WI. His story is on the Marshfield News Harold.
That’s all I have for this week. I hope I didn’t forget anything or anyone. Thank you everyone for stopping by. And thank you Jodi for giving me the opportunity to co-hose the blog hop! Dawn with Maya & Pierson.
Last Saturday, I talked about the reasons why a dog should be restrained in the car. The post mostly focused on the benefits of a pet car harness. But let’s face it, not every dog will wear one. Plus, there are a few legitimate concerns about dog seat belts. So here are some other pet travel products to consider:
Have your pet ride in a pet carrier. Make sure the carrier is secured in the vehicle so that if the car goes out of control, the dog crate stays in place. You don’t want it and your dog to be thrown about. Whether a secured travel crate is as safe as a pet car harness is not known. Not much testing has been done on pet travel carriers. However, I imagine that a secured crate is probably just as safe (strictly an opinion). Traveling in this way covers all the reasons discussed last week about why it is better to have your dog secured in the car.
Dog Car Barrier
A dog car barrier can help keep your dog in the back seat and from being a distraction. Depending on the barrier, it may keep your dog from being ejected out the front windshield. However, it can’t keep your dog on the seat and it can’t keep him inside the vehicle if someone opens the door, a window breaks and he jumps out, or he hangs his head out the window and jumps or is thrown out.
I can’t tell you how much I really love the Kurgo Backseat Bridge. I have two big dogs and there is no way Maya can stay comfortably on the back seat, even with her pet car harness on. The seat is too narrow and Maya is too big. And she is too energetic to sit still. So covering the floor of the car helps keep her from being thrown onto the floor. If you’ve read some of the news about how dogs should stay on the seat when wearing their dog seat belts, you can see how difficult it would be to restrain a dog to such an extent that he wouldn’t get thrown forward or onto the floor. The Backseat Bridge can help because it covers the floor. The Backseat Bridge also has a barrier that covers the center console area. If your dog is not buckled in, at least the bridge can keep him from getting thrown onto the floor and possibly keep him in the back seat so that he is not a distraction. A dog car hammock has the same benefits as the Kurgo Backseat Bridge.
This is a brand new product. There hasn’t been much testing on it yet. But it sure looks promising. The K9 CarFence keeps your dog from being a distraction and it helps to keep him in his seat.
Breeze Guard Car Window Screens
This is another product I really love. I used to let my dogs put their heads out the window. After all, they really love it. But one time, Sephi yelped. I think she got hit in the face with something, probably a small pebble. Thankfully, it didn’t hit her in the eye or nose. She wasn’t injured. But it made me think that perhaps letting her have her head out the window wasn’t such a good idea. Also, a friend of mine on Facebook told me about how a friend of hers had her dog thrown out the car window. He was hanging out having a good time when they suddenly had to swerve their car. Their poor dog flew out and ended up getting run over by the rear tire. And, one final story, I had a dog years ago that actually jumped out the car window. Luckily, we were driving slowly down an old dirt road when Huckleberry saw some cows and jumped out to get at them. He was okay. It shocked us both. But all these incidents will never happen again because of my Breeze Guard car window screens. BTW, despite having screens on my windows to allow the breeze in, I never ever leave my dogs unattended in the car.
If you’re concerned about the safety of your pet but aren’t sure about the safety of pet travel products, there are a lot of alternatives to consider. A pet car harness and pet carrier have a lot more safety benefits, but every dog and every situation is different. Consider your various options and feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.
Time for another Follow Up Friday hosted by HeartLikeADog and Flea with DogTreatWeb! We had a lot of great comments this week.
Jodi with HeartLikeADog pointed me in the direction of a review of a dog seat belt approved for pet car safety in Germany. The seat belt brand is AllSafe. A friend of mine in the UK actually pointed it out to me a couple months ago. I like the v-neck design and they appear to be very comfortable. The website claims to have tested them and they even show a crash test video.
The video and their testing claims looks a lot like the videos and testing claims as our US brands, so I have put aside any final decisions until the Center for Pet Safety releases an updated report on their testing of various dog seat belt brands.
CENTER FOR PET SAFETY
The Center for Pet Safety is a nonprofit organization, so I will be more inclined to trust their test results rather than I will the test results claimed by individual manufacturers. The report is supposed to be released this fall. Hopefully, this time they will be able to disclose the brands (they did not disclose the four brands tested in the 2011 report).
I will keep you posted. I am confident of the brands we have. But if a brand I sell does not do as well as others, I still contend that something is better than nothing. However, we will notate the results on our retail website and phase in the best brands possible.
Donna with DonnaAndTheDogs commented on the hiking with your dog post last Saturday. She agreed that knowing your dog was important, especially concerning their recall. She also reminded me of safety protection against two-legged predators. Good point! I forget about the unsavory folk because I’ve always had big dogs and they always seem to be a good deterrent. However, I have to remember that Maya loves everybody. She’d probably greet Jason and Freddie like a BFF.
OTHER PET CAR SAFETY METHODS
Kimberly with KeepTheTailWagging.com mentioned she is getting something to keep her dogs in the back seat, to keep them off the floor, and to keep them from putting their heads out the window. This is great! A dog seat belt is not for every dog. And if you have a large dog or more than one dog, putting them in a pet travel crate in a small car is not always feasible. So whatever you can do to help your best friend is simply pawsome! I think this Saturday’s theme for Pet Safety Saturday will be about alternatives to dog car harnesses.
BREEZE GUARD WINDOW SCREENS
I replied to Kimberly’s comment about how the products she mentioned resembles the Backseat Bridge and the Breeze Guard window screens that we have. Jodi with HeartLikeADog remembered my recent post about the Backseat Bridge but wanted to know more about the Breeze Guard window screens. The Breeze Guard window screens are a great product made right here in the USA by an entrepreneur like me. Well, not quite like me. I sell what others have made while Sue actually invented and patented her window screens! Click the image below of Maya looking out of her Breeze Guard window screens and find out more information.
OzTheTerrier, Flea with DogTreatWeb, and Snoopy all liked the Wordless Wednesday post about Maya’s birthday. Oz loved the video of Maya playing. Snoopy clearly agrees with Maya’s philosophy about work. And Flea’s comment made me smile:
“Maya is just ADORABLE. Well. Since it’s Maya’s birthday, we won’t talk about Pierson. ;)”
As you may know, Flea has two adorable Aussie mixes, Flash and Patches. She has an extra fondness for the breed which makes Pierson her favorite (shhh, don’t tell Maya).
SAFEST PLACE IN THE CAR?
Snoopy also asked a good question:
“What do you think is safer, being in the trunk or where I currently sit? Which is on the floor behind the driver seat (I didn’t like it on the seat), I’m strapped in with my harness and attached to the seatbelt. I used to sit in the trunk but Dad thought it isn’t safe if someone rear ends us.”
By trunk, do you mean the area in the back of a hatchback or SUV? I don’t think there have been any studies about whether the floor of the car or the cargo area can be a safe place to ride. It probably depends on the kind of car accident you are in. You’re right about the cargo area possibly not being safe in a rear end collision. But what if you’re on the floor and in a front impact collision? Will the front passenger seats get pushed back and squish you? There are so many factors that I honestly can’t tell you which place is the safest. But I do believe that the fact you are wearing a dog seat belt improves your safety no matter where you ride.
Snoopy says he always wears a dog seat belt and he is never allowed to put his head out the window. Yay, Snoopy! Your Monday Mischief posts always make me laugh so I can only imagine what kind of mischief you’d be getting into if you weren’t using a safety restraint in the car. Good job!
Thank you, everyone, for all your great comments. And thank you for stopping by! As always, please feel free to comment and ask questions.
We’ve had a couple of wonderful questions about dog seat belts and the Backseat Bridge this week! Donna with WeLiveInAFlat had an incident where they had to slam on the brakes, causing the dog to get thrown onto the floor. The question was whether there was a difference between a regular harness and a pet car harness.
We were happy to hear that the dog was okay. Scary!!! And all just because of a quick stop! Yes, there is a difference between a harness and a pet car harness. There is a difference in safety. A regular harness might be okay for a sudden stop like the one described. But a dog car harness is designed to fit better and to be stronger in more serious incidents.
We directed them to our site where there was information on safety as well as some videos. One of the videos found was from Kurgo.
Notice the dog still flies off the seat. WeLiveInAFlat had some concerns about this. We agree that a dog would still fly off the seat. Keeping the tether short could help. The Center for Pet Safety is continuing to do more studies on the safety of dog seat belts. The tests are ongoing so there haven’t been any new publications. But I do know that most of the positive testing results they have had were on harnesses with short tethers.
Hawk with BrownDogCBR asks: “A bridge is a good idea. What happens when one front seat passenger has the seat forward and the other has it back and somewhat reclined?”
Our reply: “Very good question, Hawk! It will still work, but there will be gaps and this could be an issue. The Backseat Bridge has a flap that goes up along the back of the front seats in order to try to cover that gap. However, if you are loose in the back seat and step in that area just right, you could get your foot caught. I would try to lessen those gaps or cover them as much as possible. The bridge fits most average sized vehicles, but if your car is wider than most, you could also have those gaps on the sides.”
I would also like to add that the Backseat Bridge could help in the situation observed by WeLiveInAFlat by keeping dogs from getting thrown onto the floor.
Lindsay and her dog Ace with ThatMutt held a calendar contest this past month. I entered a great photo of Pierson playing in the snow, then I begged for Like votes on Facebook. The contest ended yesterday and I am happy to say that Pierson is a tentative winner! Why tentative? He received enough likes, but Lindsay needs to make sure the photo entry meets all the guidelines. The winners will be officially announced on Monday. In the meantime, go visit her Facebook contest page and go check out the ThatMutt blog.
Thanks again for all the wonderful questions. You all bring out some great points and possible drawbacks of some of the products. Keep them coming. They help people make educated decisions and I’d rather people know what to expect in advance than to find out later. These discussions also help stimulate the manufacturers into continuing to make improvements.
Thanks again and have a wonderful weekend!
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