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.
Now that spring is here, I bet you want to be outdoors more. I bet your dog does too. Perhaps now that the sun is shining and the weather is warmer, you and your dog can go somewhere for a nature hike, visit the lake for a picnic or a swim, or go to that dog park you really love but didn’t go before because it was too cold outside and all the way across town. But before you and your dog head out the door, let me make one very important reminder about dogs in cars. And also, let me introduce a new product that is perfect for pet travel in warm weather.
I want to introduce the new pet travel product first. I’m excited about it because I think it is a great pet product for when we travel long distances with the dogs. See, the a/c of my car doesn’t get to the back of the car where Maya and Pierson are as easily as it blasts us in the front. So if I want my dogs to stay cool, I have to wear a coat and have the a/c on full blast. The new product we found is a pet cooling mat and it allows my dogs to stay cooler without me freezing my you-know-what off.
The Slumber Pet cooling mat is very easy to use. Simply put it in the refrigerator to let it cool down. And then take it out for your dog to lie on. Your dog can lie on it directly, or you can put it in their pet bed. Your dog can lie on it inside the house, outside, or in the car for pet travel in warm weather. (If you use the pet cooling mat outside, use it in the shade so that the coolness lasts longer.)
This pet travel product brings me to the point about safety I wanted to make. This product does not mean that you are allowed to leave your dog alone in the car while you run inside to get groceries and such. Never ever ever leave your dog alone in the car. The pet cooling mat can stay cool for long periods, but not if it is exposed to extreme heat (such as the extreme heat that builds up in a car).
Even though the weather is not hot yet, it is warm enough to make the inside of your car hot, even if the windows are down. Don’t believe me? Go to the grocery store in the afternoon when the sun is out on a 60 degree day. I did that yesterday (without my dogs, of course) and by the time I got back to my car 30 minutes later, it was super-hot inside. If Maya or Pierson had been left in there, they might have had a heat stroke.
Heat is not the only danger of leaving your dog in the car. Someone could steal your dog. Trust me, this happens all the time. People take dogs from cars because they believe you are cruel for leaving them in there, because they want to use your dog as a bait dog, or for a multitude of other unsavory reasons.
Don’t leave your dog vulnerable to theft or to heat stroke. Always make sure someone can stay with your dog in the car, or just leave your dog at home. Plan trips to the park and such separately from your grocery trips and other errands. And don’t forget to bring plenty of water for your dog to drink!
My Maya loves the snow but she is super-excited that spring is here again. Spring means more trips to the dog park! Before we went for a visit yesterday, I considered some pet safety tips that I needed to keep in mind.
I considered bringing Maya some goodies for training, but decided against it. If it turned out to be too many dogs there, I didn’t want envious dogs jumping in me and trying to search my pockets. Nor did I want to start a fight, as some dogs may try to fight over food.
This same logic applies to toys. Some dogs are possessive of toys so it usually is not a good idea to bring toys for them to fight over. Even though Maya is not possessive, bringing toys might also mean her toys getting stolen.
Vaccinations Up to Date
A lot of dogs visit the park, so there is a greater chance of spreading sicknesses. Not only is Maya vaccinated against rabies, distemper, and the parvovirus, but she also has a vaccination for bordetella. Bordetella is not as dangerous as the other, but it is more common.
No Running with Sticks
Maya loves sticks and she always finds one. And I always get so worried. I’ve heard first hand of dogs running with a stick, the stick getting caught in the ground as they run, and the other end of the stick getting jammed into the back of the dog’s throat. Luckily, the dog I heard of this happening to was okay (after hundreds of dollars at the vet), but it could have been far worse. I know our dogs love sticks, but please be careful.
The only dog park in my area is unfenced. Luckily, Maya sticks around close so I don’t worry about her too much. But anything can happen. What if she sees a wild rabbit at the dog park? Will she run after it and out of my sight? Or will her training kick in? Maya is trained well when it comes to the recall, but she’s never been tested to this extent. If you’re not sure how your dog will do, find a fenced dog park. And always work on your dog’s recall. Coming when called should be something you always work on your dog with, even if it seems as though they’ve mastered it.
How to Handle Dog Fights
This is a tough one. Our instinct is to step in and break it up. But there are ways to break it up without endangering yourself. Here is a great article at ModernDogMagaine.com.
Watch Your Dog
Watching your dog’s behavior is your responsibility. If your dog looks uncomfortable or showing signs of getting agitated, it is your responsibility to remove your dog from the situation before it gets out of hand. It’s nice meeting other dog people, but don’t let your conversations distract you.
Keep Away from the Gate
If you’re at a fenced dog park, try to stay away from the entrances. There are two reasons for this. One, your dog will be less likely to get out and escape when other people go in and out. Two, consider the state of mind of the other dogs coming in. They are excited and tensions are high. When a dog in that state comes in and is immediately confronted by another dog, it might aggravate the situation. Keep your distance. Let other dogs come in and settle down.
Aggressive Dogs Should Stay Home
You might be wondering why I didn’t mention Pierson going to the dog park. Pierson does not do well around other dogs, so I am not taking any chances. The last thing I want is for some small dog to get hurt or some person to get bitten. You might think that bringing such a dog and keeping him on the leash will help, but it doesn’t. In fact, keeping him on a leash might make him feel even more insecure and make him more aggressive.
Pick up Poop
Dog poop is gross so pick it up. It is not just a common courtesy; it is a safety issue because poop carries bacteria and other germs.
Consider Your Small Children
If you have a small child, be aware of their safety too. Be on the lookout for big or rowdy dogs that might accidentally knock your child down. And be careful of your child being around dogs that are playing. Your child could be accidentally bitten or scratched.
Wear Outdoor Clothes
This isn’t so much as a safety issue as it is a reminder. A dog might jump on you. A dog might accidentally run into you and knock you over. A dog with muddy feet might step on your shoes. A big dog might come along and slobber all over your pants leg as he walks by. Know and expect this, and dress accordingly.
Maya had a great time at the dog park. Being a Lab, the first thing she did was find a body of water (which also happened to be a mud puddle). So we even walked a distance to the river so she could go swimming. At the area of the water, I also had to be careful of garbage. While swimming, Maya found a plastic bottle full of liquid. Unfortunately, trash is common at almost every park. So if you see it, perhaps for pet safety and for the consideration of others you can pick it up like Maya did and throw it away.
What else can you think of for dog park safety? Enjoy the spring weather and be safe!
Sorry everyone for not doing a full post yesterday for Pet Travel Destination Tuesday. We have been redesigning our retail website, www.PetAutoSafety.com. Most of the major redesigning is done now, so take a look and tell us what you think. Does it look better? Is it easier to navigate? Are there things you don’t like? Are there things you would change or improve? Any feedback with constructive criticism would be most welcome!
The second thing I wanted to ramble about was the comments on the March contest giveaway posted on March 8th. One of the ways to enter the contest is to leave a comment under the post and click the Rafflecopter entry saying that you left a comment. Because spammers left over 500 comments the other day (yes over 500!!!), we accidentally deleted all comments made on that day. This means that legitimate comments were accidentally deleted along with the spam comments. However, if you indicated in the Rafflecopter that you left a comment, your entry was still saved in the Rafflecopter and it still counts! So please, if you don’t see your comment know that your contest entry is still there. If you left a comment asking a question, I’m so sorry that we didn’t see it. You can leave a comment again or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We sincerely apologize for this and thank you so much for stopping by!
One more thing to share… We had some great weather last week. It got into the 70s and even the 80s on March 14th and 15th so I took Maya to the dog park. She had a lot of fun!
Funny after this really nice weather, it got cold again. It even snowed yesterday. The weather is as crazy as my Maya!
Well, that’s all I have for now. See you later in the week for Pet Safety Saturday.
I love my Maya, but she sure can be a handful. ❤
My, oh my, oh Maya. I love Maya’s zest for life. And it really shows when she rides in the car. It can be very distracting so I make sure she wears a dog seatbelt. If your dog is crazy, or even nervous, in the car, visit our post from March 8th so you can enter to win a bottle of Travel Calm… and see a video of my crazy Labrador in the car. Also, be sure to check out the Wordless Wednesday blog hop below.
Do you all remember the video of my crazy Labrador Maya in the car? If you missed it, check it out HERE. Basically, my Maya LOVES to ride in the car. She is so excited about it that she whines and cries for the first 15 to 20 minute of every car ride. At first, it is cute. But, as you can imagine, it doesn’t take long to grate on the nerves. I wasn’t sure what to do about it until I came across this pet travel product from Earth Heart called Travel Calm.
Travel Calm is an herbal mist spray that you put on your dog’s outer ears or on their belly. You can also spray it on the fabric of your vehicle or on your dog seat cover or pet car seat. The natural herbal scents are supposed to help soothe your dog and calm him. It can work for excited dogs like my Maya and for nervous dogs.
With an upcoming road trip from Kansas to Texas with my dogs over the Thanksgiving weekend, I thought I would give this mist spray a try. I am super excited to say that the pet Travel Calm worked great! Maya may have whined once for one second, but that was it! You can see my review posted on December 1st, 2012. I was so happy with this product that our company purchased a bunch more for resale.
Pet Travel Calm is now available on PetAutoSafety.com. Plus we are giving away a free bottle at the end of March! Check out the Rafflecopter below and enter to win your free bottle of this great pet travel product. This contest giveaway is available to those with a shipping address in the continental US only. You do not have to enter in every category on the Rafflecopter but each category you enter gives you another chance to win. The contest ends at 11:59pm CST on March 31t, 2013. A winner will be chosen on or around April 1st… Maybe we will do it on April 2nd so that you don’t think our email saying you’re a winner is an April Fools’ joke!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
As an appreciation for our running of the Super Dog Sunday to benefit the Petfinder Foundation, Maya was given a Kumfy Koatz to try and review. Kumfy Koatz is a dog harness that has an ice or heat pack insert so that you dog can maintain optimum body temperatures in extreme weather. What does this mean? It means your dog can play in the snow longer when the insert is heated or your dog can play in the summer sun longer when the insert is frozen.
We found this product especially interesting for pet car travel. We never recommend you leave your dog in the car so we thought the product would be better for a road trip. For example, let’s say the a/c in your car doesn’t get to the back cargo area as well as it gets to those passengers riding in the front. If your road trip is in summer, perhaps the Kumfy Koatz can help keep your pet cool without the other passengers being blasted with ice cold air. The same logic can be applied to winter travel. Please note, however, that the heating or cooling will only be effective for about an hour.
But using the Kumfy Koatz for car travel is not the only use. My dog Maya got to try hers outside in the snow. Some of these photos are from the snow we had a week or two ago where we only had one inch. And some of these photos are from our huge snow storm yesterday. We got nearly a foot of fluffy white snow!
Maya is a Labrador and Labradors tend to have thick skin which helps keep them warm in cool weather so Maya seldom ever gets cold, especially since she is mostly an indoor dog in winter. For Maya, this product would be more beneficial to use in hot weather. While she is still mostly an indoor dog, she loves to play outdoors and will play and play no matter how hot or tired she gets. With the Kumfy Koatz dog harness, Maya will be able to hang out at the dog park for a much longer period.
Every dog is different. Just because Maya would use this product better in the summer doesn’t mean this product wouldn’t be great for another dog in winter. My sister has a medium-sized dog with really short hair and thin skin who would really love to wear the Kumfy Koatz in winter.
Overall, we really liked this product. It is well made and the large size fit Maya perfectly. The insert is a non-toxic gel-pack that can be put in the microwave or the freezer. And it is reusable. The gel-pack is easy to remove and to insert into harness. It was probably the easiest harness to put on and adjust… easier than putting on Maya’s dog car harness.
But I do have one criticism about the product – The weight of the insert made the harness sag at the bottom underneath Maya’s chest. Even when I fit the harness perfectly, it still sagged a little. And the more Maya moved, the more it sagged and had to be readjusted. Perhaps if the insert is frozen for warm weather use, the gel-pack insert will be stiffer and will somewhat prevent this problem. We won’t really know until we get to try it out next season.
We were given a free product to review but we are not being paid for this review. Our review is 100% our own opinion. The only thing we are required to put in this review as an exchange for the free product is the following paragraph:
“The outside layer of fabric on the Kumfy Koatz warming and cooling harnesses has recently been changed to a mesh fabric, available in numerous colors. Other than the fabric change, the product remains the same. The Kumfy Pax pouch slides easily into its pocket in the chest of the harness to help your dog’s inner core organs warm or cool as needed. Your dog can now spend more time outdoors in Winter cold or Summer heat. To learn more, follow the Kumfy Tailz Facebook page, follow on Twitter, or visit their website to see the new fabrics. Our giveaway will offer a neoprene version of the Kumfy Koatz to one lucky winner. If you prefer a sure thing to an entry, simply visit the website to select and order your preference of color in the mesh fabric.”
Colors available are red, black, and blue but color choices of the winner are limited.
To win the Kumfy Koatz for your dog, enter the Rafflecopter below. The contest starts today and ends Sunday, March 3rd 11:59PM EST.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
What is Kumfy Koatz? Here is a picture of Maya wearing one. She can spend more time playing in the cold snow with this on. Find out more on Friday when we give a full review… and a giveaway!
In the meantime, check out these other great dog blogs on the Wordless Wednesday blog hop:
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If Maya & Pierson could drive, where would they go? To the food store, of course! Now that Maya has a driver’s licence, I’m going to have to take away her credit card. I might also have to make sure she doesn’t hang around with the wrong crowd at the dog park. Oh, goodness! There is so much to worry about when the kids grow up and go out on their own. At least I know Maya wears her seat belt when she is in the car.
Who’s idea was it to make it legal for dogs to drive anyway? Apparently, Subaru has!!! Yep, Maya’s driver’s license is with Subaru.
How can you get a driver’s license for your dog? By visiting Subaru’s Facebook app – http://subar.us/USzh6V. This app is super easy to use. I simply typed in Maya’s name and information, then downloaded a photo of her. Please note that Subaru posts these driver’s licenses on their FB page so use a fake address. How do you like our fake address? Get it? Here’s one for Pierson too. Notice his address.
By the way, Subaru has a number of other fun apps on their FB page. You can also put your dog in a Subaru, ask a dog expert about a Subaru, and map your dog walk.
If you haven’t seen any of the funny Subaru dog commercials, check this one out – http://bit.ly/WW7C2Y. Like all the funny Subaru dog commercials, it is super-hilarious!
By the way, Subaru is doing a contest for two Visa gift cards! The first place winner gets a $350 Visa gift card and the second place winner gets a $150 Visa gift card. This contest is open from today through 11:59 pm ET on Sunday, February 24th. There are a ton of ways to enter. Just do the tasks listed in the Rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer – We are being compensated by Subaru for this post. Please note, however, that we would not have agreed to post at all if we did not agree with the content. We love the funny Subaru dog commercials and have posted them before, unpaid. The other content we have been asked to post, like the Puppy Bowl promotion, has been a lot of fun and the Subaru Facebook app is cute.
For our participation in the Super Dog Sunday event, we were entered into a prize drawing. We didn’t even know our participation meant a possible prize so when Maya & Pierson won, it was a super surprise! For in case you weren’t aware, the Super Dog Sunday helped to benefit the Petfinder Foundation. While the twitter party is over, Super Dog Sunday continues with more possible prizes. Keep an eye out on this blog or our American Dog Blog for a giveaway of a Kumfy Koats. In the meantime, check out the pictures of Maya & Pierson with their prizes:
This is what they won – two dog books, two toys, a paw-wipe towel, Toby & Max jewelry, a lickety stik dog treat, and a natural remedy for dog aggression (I can’t wait to try it on Pierson when he goes out and sees other dogs).