The first episode of Maya and Pierson’s car travel video is finally done! My dogs Maya and Pierson ride in the car while wearing their pet car restraints and have interesting conversations. In this first funny video from Pet Auto Safety, Maya and Pierson talk about why they wear their dog seat belts. I tried to make it a bit humorous so that it isn’t the same old boring lecture. Watch it and tell me what you think.
So, how do you like it? If you enjoyed it, can you do me a favor and give it a thumbs up on YouTube?
Future videos will be less informative and more fun. Hopefully, the next video will not take 7 months to make. If you’d like to know what making this first video entailed, keep reading. It’s a bit dry, so feel free to skip this next part and leave a comment about the video at the end of the post. You can also leave a comment about the video on YouTube. Thanks everyone!
SEVEN MONTHS IN THE MAKING
I purchased a nice camcorder and video editing software at the end of March 2013. My camera is the JVC Evirio and the video editing software is the Movie Edit Pro 2013 from Magix. I started using the camcorder right away, but when I first downloaded the software I was greatly intimidated. How on earth would I figure this program out without someone to teach me? I don’t know about you, but reading the instruction manual did not appeal to me one little bit.
So I procrastinated on learning the video editing software. I wasn’t completely putting off this project, though. I started brainstorming video ideas, writing scripts, and trying to figure out how I was going to get a male Australian accent for Pierson.
Once I finally had these things ready, I started playing with the video editing software. I learned by playing with it, and only referred to the manual when there was something specific I really wanted to do but couldn’t figure out how. The first two videos I made with this software are of me drawing the dog Mos and of my dog Maya playing in a public pool.
The next snag in making the Pet Auto Safety video was how to mount the camera in the car. After trying various methods, I finally found a decent car camera mount. The video was now underway. Maya and Pierson wore their pet car restraints and cooperated very well as I drove around town with the video camera set to record. Now that I think I have a pretty good idea of what I’m doing, I believe Episode 2 will take a lot less time to make. Perhaps I can have it ready in January or February. I’d say sooner, except the holidays may hold me back.
Thanks for stopping by and checking out my video!
Dawn with Maya & Pierson
After months of planning (and with trying to figure out how to use video editing software) our first new funny dogs video is finally here. This video stars the cutest dogs EVER, Maya & Pierson. Join them on their adventures in the car as they talk about various things. Sometimes the topic is educational information about pet travel safety and sometimes it is just fun funny stuff. Here is a very short preview video showing you what you can expect.
Please share and give our funny dogs video a thumbs up on YouTube.
The first full length video of episode 1 will be coming very very soon, possibly this weekend.
Thanks and enjoy!
Dawn with Maya & Pierson
In a recent study conducted by a nonprofit organization called the Center for Pet Safety, the ClickIt Utility dog seatbelt was determined to be the safest. If other pet car harnesses fell short, what are some reasons you should still consider them?
THE NEED TO MOVE AROUND
The biggest reason to consider another brand over the ClickIt Utility harness is because some dogs will absolutely not tolerate the kind of restriction enforced by the ClickIt. The more a dog doesn’t like it, the more he might struggle. And the more he struggles, the more likely he is to hurt himself. He may also decide to chew through the car harness, making it completely useless.
The ClickIt Utility harness is the safest because of its ability to keep your dog very secure. So if your dog won’t sit still, you may have to compromise some (but not all) safety for comfort by using a dog seatbelt that gives your best friend the ability to move around.
Another reason to consider another brand is price. A lot of time and research went into designing the ClickIt Utility, so its price is high. And it is not just high to cover the costs of development, its price reflects its quality.
THERE ARE OTHER QUALITY BRANDS AVAILABLE
There are other quality pet car harnesses that can be considered. Unlike the Center for Pet Safety’s report in 2011, which tested only four brands, the study completed by them in 2013 tested several brands and the study DID NOT equate to 100% failure. A number of brands passed. Consider the Ruff Rider Roadie or the AllSafe brands as your next choice. These are also higher priced than many other brands, but again, this price is reflected in their quality. The Bergan is less expensive and is a good brand to consider for dogs under 75lbs. The Kurgo Tru-Fit or Go-Tech is a good brand to consider for dogs over 25 pounds and under 75 pounds.
ANY BRAND PROVIDES AT LEAST SOME SAFETY
Even the brands that failed the Center for Pet Safety’s test provide some safety. For one, your dog is less likely to be a distraction when he is secured in a dog seatbelt. Hopefully, you haven’t been in many car accidents. But how many times have you had to stop suddenly or swerve out of the way of danger? While substandard pet car harnesses may not do any good in a car accident, they may provide some stability in sudden stops and swerving.
Don’t let the media hype about the safety of pet car harnesses keep you from considering the safety of your best friend. Yes, many brands are inferior to the ClickIt Utility. But even the ClickIt has some shortcomings. And many brands still provide some measure of protection.
Pet Car Seat Covers to Protect Your Car from Your Dog
No, seat covers don’t protect your dog but they can help protect your car. Do you have a dog that drools? Do you want to take your dog for a swim at the lake but hate the idea of wet muddy paws all over your seat cushions? Is your dog a big shedder? Do not despair! Adorable paw print dog seat covers are here.
The Black, Gray, Brown, or Tan Dog Seat Covers Are Embroidered with Paw Prints
Paw print pet car seat covers come in more cool colors than ever – black, charcoal gray, brown, and tan. Bench or single seat covers are also available. (We don’t have the tan ones on our site yet, though.) The best part about these covers is that they have embroidered paw prints on them. The paw prints are stitched on, not ironed on or painted on. Stitched.
Soft & Machine Washable
The material on these covers is so soft. They are slightly padded to add to the comfort of the velvety material. They are machine washable, but you would need to lay flat to dry. I made the mistake of putting the brown paw print one Sephi and Maya had in the dryer. It didn’t ruin it for use, but the cover didn’t look as good anymore.
Fits Most Seats
These dog seat covers will fit the seats of most standard sized vehicles. For the bench seats, there are four corner straps and several clips that can be used to fit the cover to the car. For the bucket seats, there are two corner straps on the bottom and one strap to go around the head rest at the top. There are also a few clips to help with securing the cover in place.
Guardian Gear is the brand of these dog seat covers. And now Guardian Gear offers a lifetime guarantee on their seat covers! This means they are built to last. But if they break at any time during normal use, you can get a replacement at no charge.
My favorite color is the charcoal. It’s perfect for Maya and Pierson. You can’t see Pierson’s hair much on this color. You can still see Maya’s blond hair, but not as much as you would see it on the black or the brown! Which color is your favorite?
Many pet seat belts are now safety and crash tested. But even if you have one that isn’t, there are still several reasons why wearing a dog safety belt is better than wearing nothing at all.
Distraction – Some dogs, like my Maya, can be a major distraction in the car. If Maya wasn’t wearing her dog safety belt, she’d be jumping back and forth from the front to back seat, putting her nose in my face, and trying to put her head in my lap. Not all dogs are as crazy as my Maya. Some are even well-behaved in the car, like my Pierson. So here are some other reasons why pet seat belts are a good idea.
Keep on the Seat – If you have to make a sudden stop, your dog won’t get thrown onto the floor or into the dash. Getting thrown forward could mean a broken limb or injured nose. In some cases, it could even mean death. This is just for a sudden stop. What about a rear-end collision or a more severe car collision?
Keep Head Inside the Car – As much as our dog loves to put his head out the window, it isn’t safe. If you have to make a sudden stop, your dog could be choked. Or if you have to make a sharp turn, your dog could get thrown out of the car. Also, flying debris on the road can hit your dog in the eye or in the nose – very painful.
Keep Dog Inside the Car – If your dog sees something that he wants to chase or go after, he might jump out the window. Maybe he won’t do it if the car is not moving (maybe), but what about at a stop light? Remember the movie Marley and Me? It does happen! Also, what about when you pull up to the park? When you open the door, you don’t want your dog to rush out in excitement. If he is buckled up, you can switch from his car harness tether to his leash in moments. Your dog won’t have a chance to rush out and possibly get himself in danger by blindly running into the street or jumping on some unsuspecting passerby.
Car Accident – If your dog is wearing a dog safety belt, he won’t get ejected from the vehicle. Being ejected means he could be more seriously hurt or killed instantly. It also means that if he is able to run away from the scene of the accident, he will most likely try to do so. If your dog isn’t ejected, the terror caused by being in a car collision may make your dog want to escape. If he gets out of the car, he could run into the street and get hit by a car, he could cause another car accident, or he could run off, get lost, and lose out on some necessary medical treatment.
We realize there is a lot of concern about the safety of pet seat belts. There are many manufacturers out there claiming to be the best. They even have safety test results and crash test videos to back it up. But as of yet, there are no established universal pet safety standards. Until then, be assured that most of the brands that have claimed testing have put their heart and souls into their products and truly believe in their safety. Also, consider that something has got to be better than nothing at all. You can also consider the alternative of having your dog ride in a pet travel carrier. Just make sure the crate is secured in the car, i.e. it can’t slide around.
My dog Pierson is great in the car. He sits so quietly in the back seat that I could almost forget he is there. If he were your dog, you might think, “Well, he doesn’t need a seat belt then.” But I think he still does. He may not be a distraction, but his safety is important to me. There is another reason to consider restraining your dog in the car. The following are three major points I’d like to make about pet safety belts:
REDUCES DRIVER DISTRACTION
Not all dogs behave in the car like my Pierson does. My Labrador Maya is crazy in the car. I do mean CRAZY! She loves it so much that she can hardly control herself. If she wasn’t wearing a dog seat belt, she’d be all over the place. Dogs like my Maya really can be a dangerous distraction and they really can cause car accidents. Don’t believe me? Here are some Real Life Examples.
Also, a study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham who studied drivers 70 and over found that those driving with their dogs were 50% more likely to get into a car accident. That article can be read on SpotNews in Alabama. I bet it is true for other age groups as well.
HELPS PROTECT YOUR DOG
If you consider a safety tested dog seat belt brand, your dog could be better off with their restraint than they would be without. Pet safety belts may prevent your dog from being thrown about the car, into other passengers, onto the floor, or through the windshield. A dog wearing a restraint won’t be able to run from the scene. And it will be easier for medical personnel to help a restrained pet.
New Jersey has made it the law that pets be restrained in the car. I was recently asked about this dog seat belt law in New Jersey. The question was whether a dog had to wear a seat belt or if a pet travel crate was okay for dogs riding in the car. Here is a quote directly from the New Jersey State Legislature regarding the law – “The driver of a passenger automobile shall secure or cause to be secured in an appropriately sized, properly adjusted, and fastened seat belt restraint system, any non-crated domestic dog or cat that is being transported in the vehicle.”
Trying to interpret laws can sometimes be difficult, but the wording ‘any non-crated domestic dog or cat’ tells me that if your pet is crated in the car, the law doesn’t apply. But if the pet is not crated, he must wear a dog seat belt.
It may not be law in your state yet, but you can be ticketed for unsafe driving in any state. So if your dog is acting crazy in the car or if your driving seems to be affected by the fact that you have a dog in your lap, you could be fined.
If your dog won’t wear a dog seat belt, then consider securing them in a pet travel crate. Or try some of our training tips to get your dog used to wearing the car restraint. Our training tips can be found on an article we wrote – Getting Your Dog Used to a Dog Car Harness.
I know our dogs love to stick their heads out the car window and they may even seem depressed when they suddenly find themselves confined in a dog seat belt. But it is important that we do what is best for them, and for ourselves. Protect your best friend, just as you do for yourself and your children.
Imagine your best little friend riding at your side without being a distraction. The window is down, the breeze is flowing in, and your dog’s nose is to the wind. If you have a pet 30 pounds or less, then he can greatly benefit from a pet carseat. Safety is an obvious benefit and there are two aspects of safety to consider. Plus, there are two other benefits of dog car seats.
The first safety aspect of a pet carseat is that your dog is tethered in and can’t distract the driver. The second aspect is that since your dog is tethered in, he won’t fly forward into the dash or onto the floor in a sudden stop.
Most dog car seats come with a tether. The tether is to be attached to your pet’s harness, not his collar. For ultimate safety, use a dog car harness in conjunction with the safety seat instead of a regular walking harness.
The Sleepypods do not have tethers but this is because your dog (or even your cat) is enclosed inside of it. This pet carseat is then secured in the vehicle with the safety belt of the vehicle. Sleepypods have also had crash testing.
Important note regarding pets riding in the front: Front passenger side airbags are not safe for dogs. Some airbags are designed to always deploy in the event of a front or rear end car accident while others will not deploy if there is not enough weight in the seat. So be sure to check your vehicle specifications regarding how the airbags work.
With all the turning and stopping you have to do, wouldn’t it be a more comfortable ride for your little dog if he didn’t have to continuously brace himself? Imagine making a quick stop, and instead of your pet sliding off onto the floor, he slides forward into the partition of his safety seat instead. The Snoozer and Lookouts have the most cushioning.
GIVE A BOOST
Some pet safety booster seats allow your furry friend to look out the car window. Sometimes, being able to see out the window can help with car sickness. Looking out the window is also a fun activity. Keep your pal entertained so that he doesn’t pester you.
Most dog car seats are for small dogs, 30 pounds and under. But there is at least one for larger dogs and that is the Full Bench Lookout Perch from Snoozer. Snoozer has a number of other different styles for smaller dogs, including the Lookout series and console seats. Sleepypods are for smaller dogs and even cats. There is also the Skybox and other booster seats from Kurgo. Check them all out and keep your best friend safe in the car.
We recently read a blog post on Fidose of Reality.com about the top ten pet safe vehicles, which they got from a 2009 report from Edmunds.com. Some of the pet safe features included climate control in the back area, side curtain airbags, anchor points so you can secure your pet or pet’s carrier, custom-installed crash-tested pet barriers, and so on. (Most of these features sound great but a few made little sense in regards to ‘pet safety’, such as extra storage compartments for your pet’s things and extra cargo space in the back for large dogs.) Check out these articles and read more details about the features of the top ten pet safe vehicles. Whether or not these really are the best are really dependent on your needs. If you are looking to buy a new (or used) vehicle, consider how important the following features are:
Custom-Installed Crash Tested Pet Barrier
This is, by far, my favorite feature. Most of the pet barriers we sell are strong and designed to stay in place, but they stay in place with pressure mounts while the pet barrier in the Volvo XC70 is bolted in. Plus it has been crash tested along with the vehicle itself!
Metal Anchor Points in the Cargo Area of an SUV
This one is very important to me since my dogs wear seat belts. After looking at a few SUVs I was really surprised that most did not have any anchor points or cargo rings. And most of those few that did were plastic, not metal. One salesman tried to tell me that the plastic cargo ring was really strong. Strong enough to hold a 70lb dog in a car accident? I think not. Without metal cargo rings, I have to find a way to connect my dogs’ seat belt tethers to the seat belt housing from the back cargo area.
Climate Control in the Back Area of the Car or SUV
This is another fantastic feature. I remember renting an SUV for a trip with our dogs once and the a/c froze us in the front while the dogs in the back were very warm. This is one reason our retail website will soon be selling pet cooling pads. It is a temporary solution until one can buy a vehicle that has decent climate control in the back area of the car or SUV.
Curtain Side Airbags
The front passenger side airbags are not safe for dogs, but curtain side airbags might be helpful in a car accident.
Plenty of Room for Large Dogs or Large Dog Crates
This feature is not as important if you have small dogs. But if you have big dogs like me, space is definitely important. And if I decide to have my dogs ride in a secured pet crate rather than wear seat belts, I will need even more room. Big dogs need bigger dog crates.
Rearview Camera so You Can Make Sure You Don’t Hit Your Dog When Backing Up
This is one of the features mentioned in the top 10. However, I just don’t see the importance for pet safety. I see the benefit. I don’t want to back up and hit an animal or a person. But I live in the suburbs so neither my dogs nor my neighbor’s dogs are out running around. Safety issue in general – yes; specifically as a pet safety issue – not really.
Privacy Glass to Help Limit Extreme Temperatures in the Vehicle
This can be helpful for long road trips, especially if your vehicle doesn’t have climate control in the back. But for everyday driving, it is probably not a big deal for pet safety. For one, I don’t want anyone to think that just because the windows are tinted that you can leave the dog unattended in the car. It will still get hot in your car in warm weather no matter how dark your windows are tinted. I, personally, see tinted windows more as a deterrent against thieves than as a pet safety benefit.
Disable Passenger Side Airbags
If you have a small dog that you want to ride in the front seat with you, you want to make sure the passenger side airbags are not going to go off in a car accident if your dog is sitting there. Front passenger side airbags are not safe for dogs. Find out if the vehicle you are going to purchase is designed so that the airbags only go off if there is a certain amount of weight in the seat, or if the airbags can be disabled.
These are the major features I saw in the top ten list of pet safe vehicles. Aesthetic things you might also want to consider are the interior and whether there is enough storage space for your dog’s things. Are there any other features you can think of for pet safe vehicles?
(Above images courtesy of VolvoCars.com)
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How to Get Your Dog to go into the Car Willingly
Cesar makes it look so easy. Doesn’t he always? But how did he do it, really? Many would like to think that he just has a magical touch. But I promise that this probably took a lot longer than his video conveyed. Listed below are our steps on how to get your dog to go into the car.
Before I list those steps, however, let me just point out that these steps are not meant to all be done in a single day. They can be, depending on your dog. Each step can take as long as a few minutes, to a few minutes every day for a week or more. So if your dog has no problem with step 1, you can move on to step 2 right away. But if he hesitates at that step, you may have to spend more time on it. Keep training sessions short and positive, but do it daily as needed until getting your dog to go into the car is easy.
Step 1 – Walk with your dog around the car. Get as close to the car as you can without making your dog uncomfortable. As soon as the dog reacts negatively to the car, back off. Encourage him with soft words, use kissy noises, and feel free to bribe with treats.
Step 2 – When your dog has no trouble going all the way up to the car, allow him to sniff it on his own. Let him investigate.
Step 3 – Open the car door and have your dog approach you while you are standing by the open door. If your dog is intimidated by the open door, squat down and coax him to you. I noticed that when I am down on my dog Pierson’s level, he is more likely to approach me. Use treats to bribe.
Step 4 – After your dog passes step 3 comfortably, sit in the car and coax your dog to you. Over a period of time as your dog gets used to approaching you while you are in the car, move further back inside the car so that your dog has to stretch or step in to reach you. You may use the leash to give a quick and slight tug, but do not pull on the leash.
Step 5 – The very first time your dog gets into the car, celebrate with lots of treats, love, and a happy voice. Repeat the same excitement every time your dog gets in on his own until he is comfortable doing it without coaxing.
Step 6 – By the time your dog is comfortable getting in the car with you, try to coax him inside without you actually being in the car too.
As stated above, some dogs will move through these steps quicker than others. But if you need to take your dog somewhere in the car and he is not through all these steps yet, gently pick him up and put him inside. Give lots of praise. Try to make the car ride as pleasant as possible. Here is a great article we wrote back in August 2010 about how to help your dog learn to enjoy riding in the car – http://www.petautosafetyblog.com/?p=542.
I saw this great chart on Facebook and had to share it. I think it came from a similar chart found on PetSavers in New Jersey. Based on our experience with getting into our cars on a relatively warm day, we know it is much hotter inside than outside. And this chart shows us how much hotter it gets and in such a short time. Knowing this, do you really want to leave your dog alone in the car for even five minutes?
Besides the facts in the chart above, a study by Stanford University shows that even on a day that is only 72 degrees, the inside of a car get as hot as 116 degrees in an hour. Check out their article HERE. (Their numbers in their article is written in Celsius so you will have to convert them to Fahrenheit.)
Another great site for information is called My Dog is Cool. Check it out HERE. This website is dedicated to educating the public about the danger of leaving dogs in cars.
What to do about it
First of all, don’t ever leave your dog alone in the car. Even on cool days, it can get hot in your car. And don’t forget about people being able to steal your dog. Plus, it can also be considered animal cruelty. If you see someone else who has left their dog in the car call the police or animal control. If you don’t have their number on hand, don’t hesitate to call 911. You can also get some really cool fliers that you can put in people’s car. The My Dog is Cool has a great flier that can be easily downloaded. It says, “A hot oven or a hot car, it’s the same thing.” One woman went so far as to break a car window to get the dog out. Her story can be read HERE. This is illegal and thankfully the other party did not press charges.
Another thing you can do is go inside the store where you believe the owner went into and ask the manager to make an announcement over the intercom. Some store managers won’t but it might be worth a try. And it might be worth mentioning that it is against the law to leave an animal alone in the car.
I know you love your dog. But love him by leaving him at home if you plan on going somewhere he can’t go. Please don’t leave him in the car.