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Help! My Pet is Locked in the Car!

Author: MayaAndPierson
January 22, 2014
Unlocking the Car

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I would never take my dogs Maya and Pierson anyplace where I had to leave them alone in the car. But as scatter-brained as I can be, it is quite possible I might automatically lock my car with the dogs still inside. With that being said, here is an article written by Elizabeth on behalf of the car insurance company that I have personally been using for over 10 years:

It can be easy to sometimes lock your keys in the car.  Generally, this is more of an annoyance than anything else, but if your pet happens to be inside the car when you accidently lock yourself out, then there is a real problem on your hands.  Roadside assistance is a great way to deal with this issue, because you can use the unlock car service.  Having your pet locked in the car is a very stressful situation, so it’s good to have a plan that you can follow.  Make sure to specifically tell the roadside assistance representative that your pet is locked in the car.  If it is very hot outside, then you may need to take more drastic measures.

While waiting for roadside assistance, monitor your pet closely.  Call their name and check that they are reacting normally.  Also, try not to leave your car unattended if possible.  Once help arrives and your car is unlocked, confirm that your pet still appears to be healthy.  You could even consider bringing your pet to the vet, depending on what the weather was that day and how long your pet was in the car.  Offer your pet water as soon as possible, since they most likely have not had access to it for the duration of being locked in the car.  If it is cold outside, wrap your pet in a blanket and turn the car’s heat up.

Even if you never need to use your roadside assistance club, this program could give you peace of mind.  In addition to roadside assistance, you could also consider bringing a spare key with you.  You may not always remember the spare key, but it would be one more way to help keep your pet safe.

Author Bio: By Elizabeth on behalf of Allstate Motor Club. Visit www.allstatemotorclub.com to learn more about our motor club benefits.

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Follow Up Friday #25

Author: MayaAndPierson
January 17, 2014

Follow Up Friday Banner Logo

Wow, is this the third Friday of the new year already? Time goes by too quickly. Welcome to another edition of the Follow Up Friday blog hop hosted by Jodi with Heart Like a Dog. This is actually the second follow up of the year since we did the pet blogger challenge last week. Rather than cover two weeks of follow up, though, let’s just start with the fun pet blogger challenge.

PET BLOGGER CHALLENGE
Pamela with Something Wagging said, “OMD! You can write a blog post in an hour!Glogirly said something similar, “I’m also very impressed that you can write a blog post in an hour!”

Okay, let me clarify. Yes, it does only take me an hour to actually write a post. But when you add research time into it and the time it takes to not only take photos but to edit them as well, I actually spend a good two hours or more on some posts. Plus, if you add all the time I spend procrastinating…

Also, I want to thank everyone who complimented me and my blog on the pet blogger’s challenge. The feedback you’ve given encourages me to keep on posting. Thanks to the challenge, I’ve also found some new fun pet blogs to follow.  :)

A LOOK BACK AT 2013
Ann with Pawsitively Pets mentioned how nervous she is about trying new things outside of blogging, such as a radio show or her own video.

I get that way too. In fact, I bought my video camera and software in February 2013, but I didn’t actually get the video done until November. Part of it was because I was trying to learn the software, but part of it was also because I was nervous. I kept procrastinating because I was afraid my idea was stupid and no one would like it. But you know what? The video may not have lived up to my best expectations, but it didn’t come close to meeting my worst fears either. So just jump on in! I promise, it won’t be as bad as you think it will. And you might even realize you really enjoy it.

NEW FOR 2014
A couple of you suggested I could do a guest post about safety on your blog. I’d absolutely love to! Email me at naturebydawn at gmail dot com to give me an idea of what your readers would like and let’s work something out. Yay! :) Thank you for helping me and for spreading the word about safety in the car for our furry loved ones.

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY SAFETY MESSAGE
Aimee with Irresistible Pets said, “My Chihuahua Chuy always wants to sit in my lap and whines like crazy when we put him in his seat. I guess I should have started doing that when he was a puppy!”

Good news, Aimee. It’s not too late to modify his behavior. In fact, I wrote an article about this very topic on another blog. Go check it out on Pets Page – Tips to Keep Your Little Dog Off Your Lap.

Roxy in a Pet Car Seat

Roxy the Dachshund loves to ride in the Skybox pet car booster seat from Kurgo.

That’s a wrap! Thank you everyone for stopping by. And thank you again for the compliments and comments left on last week’s pet blogger challenge. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and that 2014 continues to get better and better for you. Be sure to check out the other great pet bloggers in the blog hop below.

Dawn with Maya and Pierson

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Pet Auto Safety.com – New for 2014

Author: MayaAndPierson
January 14, 2014
Maya Happy New Year

Hello 2014!

2013 was a great year, but we want 2014 to be better. Here is what you can expect from Pet Auto Safety.com this year:

* We want to make more funny dog videos of Maya and Pierson in the car. We also want to do some informative videos showing how certain pet travel products work. Many of those videos will also include pros and cons of the products.

* We want to write more informative articles about pet travel, and not just for our blog and not just about products. We are considering guest posts on other blogs, but mostly we want to focus on putting articles up onto websites that are designed specifically for sharing articles and information. Currently, we post articles on Squidoo, Hubs, and Ezine, but we want to branch out to websites that are specific to dogs.

* I’ve joined a group called Women in the Pet Industry Network. I’m hoping this will be a great way to meet and learn from other dog people. I know some of our readers of this blog are members of this group. What do you think of it?

* We’ve changed our business entity from Nature by Dawn, Inc. to Nature by Dawn, LLC. The expenses of running a corporation make sense for a large company but are too burdensome for a small one.

* We are considering whether to open up a new website for outdoor dog gear. After all, many of you traveling with your dogs are going somewhere fun like hiking or swimming. We already have life jackets and back packs on our pet auto safety site. It is just a matter of getting a wider selection and building a new site (not quite as simple as I just made it sound).

Kurgo Wander Back Pack for Dogs

Maya sometimes wears her Kurgo Wander back pack for dogs when she goes hiking.

* We’re considering whether we should add the AllSafe dog seat belt to our site. It rated very well with the independent crash test study. However, after contacting the manufacturer in Germany, it doesn’t look like it is going to happen.

* I’d like to make a pet car safety infographic, but need some creative ideas.

We have more plans for 2014, but much of it is technical and boring. What do you think so far? Which of these things would interest you the most? Do you know of any pet travel products that you think would make a great addition to our Pet Auto Safety site?

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you all have a pawtastic year! :)

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November 17, 2013

Funny Dogs Car Talk Adventures

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

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November 14, 2013

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

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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.

Dog Standing in Pet Car Harness

Maya can also stand when she wears her pet car harness. Generally, I keep her tether shorter than this. I also have the floor covered with the Kurgo Backseat Bridge.

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.

PRICE

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.

Pierson Blue Go-Tech Dog Car Harness

At about 50lbs, Pierson is in good hands with the Kurgo Go-Tech dog car harness.

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.

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September 11, 2013

Paw Print Dog Seat Covers

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.

Lifetime Guarantee!
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?

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Pierson Blue Go-Tech Dog Car Harness

Our Pet Auto Safety pup Pierson demonstrates the Kurgo Go-Tech car harness.

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?

Dog Head Out Window Danger

I don’t think the car is moving in this photo. But see that gap under the dog’s neck where the window curves down? If this car was moving and had to stop suddenly, the dog could get his neck caught in that crack and do some serious damage to his throat. It could even kill him, depending on how fast the car was going.

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.

Straps for Pet Carriers

This pet travel carrier is secured in the car with kennel straps.

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May 25, 2013
Dogs Pet Safety Belts

My dogs Maya and Pierson in the back seat of my car wearing their pet safety belts for both my safety and theirs.

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.

THE LAW
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.

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May 11, 2013

Emma in the Snoozer Lookout Pet Carseat

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.

SAFETY
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.

COMFORT
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.

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