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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Is it safe for your dog to travel in a plastic pet carrier? There is no formal testing. But think about this, if you are in a car accident would you rather your dog get tossed around the entire car and possibly escape the wreck and get lost or hit? Or would you rather he get tossed around in a smaller enclosure, such as his pet crate?
If the pet carrier is strapped in, there is likely to be less tossing about. And he is prevented from flying forward and injuring the people passengers or from flying through the windshield. Kennel restraints made from the same webbing as the seat belts of cars is a very good way to secure your dog’s carrier in the car. Riding in a dog crate secured with kennel restraints also helps to prevent your dog from being a distraction to the driver.
For the longest time, we only had wire pet cages available. But now we’ve finally found a supplier for plastic pet carriers. Keeping your dog in a plastic pet crate while he is traveling in the car is safer than using no car restraint at all. Plus it has the added benefit of providing your dog with a comfortable place to rest.
Many dogs like the secure feeling of a ‘den’. If your dog is already crate trained but doesn’t like the car, he may have less anxiety if he rides in his crate while in the car. Plus you can put his dog bed in the carrier along with his favorite toys.
If your dog is in a plastic pet crate, he won’t get tossed around as much in the car as he would if he were not in a carrier. For additional safety, plastic pet carriers can be strapped in with the kennel restraints from Pet Buckle.
We currently have two plastic carrier styles – the Sportsman’s Choice which is brown over hunter green and the Protective portable dog kennel which is khaki over maroon for the smaller sizes and solid khaki for the larger sizes. We will also be getting in Precision brand pet crates sometime over the next week or two, and possibly another more colorful brand.
Check out our pet carriers page by clicking HERE or the image above.
Are you traveling by car with your pet this holiday? It’s cold out there so be sure to bring winter essentials along with other everyday pet travel supplies and emergency supplies. Use our checklist to make sure you have all your winter pet travel supplies:
___ pet crate
___ pet car harness or kennel straps for pet crate
___ pet food
___ drinking water
___ food bowl
___ water bowl
___ pet bed
___ your pet is wearing his tags which are up to date and readable
___ veterinary information
___ pet’s medication
___ pet first aid kit
___ pet toys
___ pet waste disposal bags
Pet travel in winter can be more difficult in colder weather. Road conditions can be more dangerous so it is more important than ever that your pet not be a distraction in the car. Keep your pet in a pet crate or have them wear a pet car harness. If a pet crate or pet car harness just won’t work for your pet, you can get a pet car barrier to keep them in the back seat.If you are in a car accident or get stuck in the snow, call for help and cuddle up with your pet under a blanket for warmth. If you are stuck in a high traffic area and expect help soon, keep your car on and your heater going. If you are stuck in an isolated area, run your car and heater sparingly as needed. Unless you know for sure that help is nearby, you should stay in your car.
Don’t let your small dog have free reign in your car. There are lots of pet travel supplies designed to keep your small dogs comfortable and safe. Probably pet travel supplies for small dogs include a pet car seat and/or a dog safety harness. Pet car seat designs include the kind that hangs from the headrest of the car seat or the kind that sits on the seat and is strapped in with the car seat belt. To keep your small dog in the car seat, most pet car seat designs have a strap which can be attached to the dog’s harness. Other pet travel supplies for small pets include a pet crate.
It can be difficult to get a scared dog used to riding in the car. One of the best things you can do for your scared pet is to let them use their favorite blanket or bed while they are in the car. If possible, have someone sit in the back seat with the dog to provide added comfort. The perfect pet travel supplies for your scared dog includes a pet crate or dog car seat (for smaller dogs). A dog car seat can be used as a bed in the home and it generally has a safety strap which can be attached to your dog’s harness for safety. For a crate-trained dog, a pet crate is great. Just use your dog’s crate in the car. You can secure the pet crate with a bungee strap.