Maya and Pierson are very special to me. They may not be children, but they are more than just my pets. I don’t just feed them, play with them, and take them to the vet annually or as needed. I also take on other responsible roles such as making sure they eat healthy food, get enough exercise, train them, brush their teeth, clip their toenails, brush out their coat, etc. And I have them wear a dog safety seat belt when they ride in the car.
Some people think this is over-the-top for “just a dog”. But if you’re reading this, then you know that your dog is an integral part of the family. If your four-legged family member doesn’t currently buckle up in the car or isn’t safely restrained in the vehicle in any way, here are some reasons to consider it:
Reduce Driver Distractions
When I brought Maya home for the first time, she didn’t have a dog seatbelt yet. So, on the ride home she kept trying to climb in my lap. It was a big distraction which caused me to run a red light. I got honked at but thankfully did not get into or cause a car accident. But it taught me to always be prepared. Perhaps your dog paces in the car or keeps trying to climb from the back to the front seat or tries to stick his face in your face while you’re driving.
Protect Your Pet
Perhaps your dog rides well in the car and doesn’t distract you in any way. My dog Pierson is like that. He just sits there quietly the whole ride. But what if I have to stop suddenly or swerve out of the way of another car or something in the road? Or worse, what if I get in a car accident? Car accidents or even simple emergency vehicle maneuvers can cause a dog to be ejected from the vehicle or cause serious injury to your dog if they hit the dash or the windshield. A dog isn’t going to understand why your car suddenly went crazy on the road. They are going to be terrified and may try to escape. What then? More often than not, the dog will run as fast as they can to get away from what caused their fear. They could run into traffic or run away and get lost.
I don’t know about you, but if I get in a car accident I prefer not to be struck by a 50+ pound flying projectile (i.e. my dog). I also do not want my dogs to stick their head out the window. Before I realized the danger of this, my dog Sephi did it all the time. But then my vet told me about one of his client’s dog that had to have his eye removed because of flying road debris. When your dog wears a dog safety seat belt, it is more difficult for them to put their head out the window. They can still get the nice breeze, but at least they can’t be hurt from things on the road and they can’t jump or get thrown out of the car.
It’s not yet a law in my state but New Jersey has a law stating that animals inside the vehicle must be restrained. I have no doubt that other states will soon follow. Even states that hesitate to make such a law will have or may already have laws that allow police officers to issue a ticket to anyone who is driving unsafely due to a distraction.
Maya and Pierson do not suffer in the least because they wear a dog seatbelt in the car. They might not be able to move around much or put their heads out the window but trust me when I say they still love to ride. With a little practice and perhaps a little time, your best friend can get used to his safety restraint and love the ride just as much as before.
This post is part of the Pet Blogger Awareness Day for pet travel safety.
Summer turning to fall is a great time for a picnic. So fill up the picnic basket and head out for some fun! We had a great picnic this past week. It was my husband and I, our two dogs Maya & Pierson, and four friends. Check out these fun photos.
Don’t forget, if you travel anywhere in the car with your dog, be sure they are secured in a dog car seat belt or other pet travel safety device.
For more fun pet photos, check out the great blogs on the Wordless Wednesday blog hop below.
We have to share some great links for pet travel safety. AAA and Kurgo did a great survey from pet owners who travel with their pets. One of these pet travel statistics indicate that 29% of these pet owners admitted to being distracted by their pet while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 20% of injury car accidents in 2009 were a result of distracted driving. And only 16% of the pet owners who travel with their dogs in the car use some form of pet travel safety product. For their very well-presented pet travel statistics report from AAA and Kurgo, visit Kurgo’s 2011 Survey Sheet. A portion of this sheet is shown above.
Another well-presented pet travel statistics report is from GoPetFriendly.com. Their survey reports that 60% of pet owners traveled with their pets in 2010. 22% of those traveled with their pets on a monthly basis in 2011. A portion of their report is show below. For the entire report, visit the GoPetFriendlyBlog.com.
Do you take your dog for rides in the car? Tell us about your vacation with your pet and how you practice pet travel safety.
This article is a shorter version of the article we wrote on another blog (for the full story, visit the American Dog Blog). But we have added a bit about pet travel safety. Some of the things you can do with your dog this spring can be done at your own home in your own backyard, while others you would need to take your dog in the car. If you go do a dog park or visit some pet-friendly attractions, make sure your dog is wearing a dog car harness or using another pet travel safety product.
Fun Things to Do with Your Dog at Home
- Play fetch with a ball or frisbee
- Play Soccer
- Practice agility
- Play hide-and-seek
- Play in the sprinkler
- Refresh on training such as heel or other fun stuff
- Train to jump through a hoola-hoop or go up or over a bar
- Fun Things to Do with Your Dog Away from Home
- Go to the Dog park
- Go to a lake for swimming
- Hike on some nature trails
- Have lunch at a restaurant with an outdoor patio (ask if pets permitted first)
- Visit pet-friendly attractions such as a botanical garden
- Visit the pet store or any other pet-friendly businesses
There is so much to do when the weather is nice so get out there and have fun!
We recently discovered a new informational website which promotes pet travel safety. Perhaps you have seen them, dogs hanging out the window of a car, sitting on the driver’s lap, or riding in the back of a pickup? The dogs get our attention because they are cute, right? But the situation they are in is not safe.
Paws to Click.com is working to change our perception on pet travel by helping us to recognize unsafe situations. By putting your pet in a pet travel safety restraint, you are helping to protect your pet in the event of a car accident, just like wearing a seat belt helps to protect us. But restraining your pet in the car not only protects your pet, it protects you and the passengers as well.
According to their website, unrestrained pets cause 30,000 car accidents each year. How? By being a distraction to the driver. Certainly someone driving a car can’t help but to be distracted by the poodle in their lap. And some dogs, like my Labrador, are hyper in the car and can be a distraction when they stand on the center console and pant in the driver’s ear.
Another way that a pet travel safety restraint protects the driver and passengers is by preventing your pets from being a deadly projectile. In the event of a car accident, even a small dog can cause serious injury or even death to the person he is thrown into.
If you protect your pet in the car with a pet travel safety restraint such as a dog car harness or secured pet travel crate, join the Paws to Click movement today by joining their website and signing their pledge today. Learn about their V9DT durability standard for pet travel safety. It costs you nothing but can save the thing you hold most dear – your family.
AAA has done a pet travel safety survey in conjunction with Kurgo pet products. Since we sell Kurgo’s products, we decided to share the interesting pet travel safety information with you. This survey was done by interviewing 1,000 dog owners who travel with their pets.
But first, let’s share some scientific study information regarding unrestrained pets in the car. A dog weighing 10 pounds will exert about 500 pounds of force in a 50 mph car accident. Likewise, an 80 pound dog will exert about 2,400 pounds of force in a 30 mph car accident. Knowing this information, why do only 160 people out of the 1,000 asked use some form of pet restraint for their dogs in the car?
According to the pet travel safety survey conducted by AAA, about 42% of the 840 people who do not use a pet restraint said they didn’t think their dog needed a pet restraint since they were calm in the car. 39% said that they never considered a pet restraint for their dog. 29% of the people said they didn’t think their dog would need it since they only go on short trips. And the remaining people said they wanted to let their dog put their head out the window, a restraint is too much trouble, they want their dog to have fun in the car, or they want to be able to hold their dog.
About 560 of these same 1,000 people said they travel with their dog at least once per month. And approximately 290 of them admitted that their pets were sometimes a distraction in the car. With a pet restraint, your dog is less likely to be a distraction and he will be less likely to become a dangerous projectile. The various pet restraint types to consider are dog car harnesses, secured pet travel crate, car seat for dogs, and pet barriers.
This is just a small sample of the information gathered in the pet travel safety survey conducted by AAA. For more information, visit the AAA Newsroom.
Are we there yet?
We will be traveling long distances this holiday season. If you plan on traveling with your dog for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas, be sure to get a pet travel safety device. Sephi and Maya wear a dog car harness but there are also pet auto barriers and pet car seats.
Maya in the photo above is wearing her dog car harness but her tether has been lengthened somewhat so that she can move around a bit more on the long road trips. For short everyday trips I keep the tether short and she is not able to put her head on the center console.
I also have the Extend-a-Seat in the back seat so that the floor is covered, which again allows Sephi and Maya a bit more maneuverability on long trips. Maya would not be able to rest her head on the console if the floor was not covered.
These are just a few of the pet travel safety devices available. Consider one for your pet this holiday season and have a happy holiday!
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Visit lots of other great dog blogs on the Saturday Blog Hop!
Remember the Animaniacs? I loved them! This was the best and most hilarious cartoon ever, in my opinion. I loved their small segments of Pinky and the Brain, Slappy Squirrel, Chicken Boo, and Good Idea Bad Idea, just to name a few.
So in remembrance of my favorite cartoon, I have put together a list of good ideas and bad ideas for pet travel safety, then also shared an Animaniacs video.
Keeping the car windows rolled up or putting BreezeGuard Window Screens on the car windows before rolling them down.
Letting your dog hang his head out the window. He can be hit with flying debris such as roadside trash, rocks, or someone flicking their cigarette butt out the window. Also, if you have to swerve your car suddenly, your dog could fly out and be injured.
Having your dog ride in the back seat.
Having your dog ride in the front seat. Airbags are not safe for dogs and most cars nowadays have passenger side airbags.
Having your dog be safely restrained in the car.
Letting your dog roam around in the car or sit in your lap. A dog who is free to do as he chooses in the car can be a very dangerous distraction. Although there is no law that says your dog has to be restrained in the car, you can get a ticket for reckless driving. Or a worst case scenario, your dog could be seriously injured or killed in a car accident.
I know, it is not as funny as the Animaniacs version. But it is still good advice so protect your pet and practice pet travel safety!
Pet travel safety devices are not just for protecting your dog, they can also protect you. In this article, “How Dog Seat Belts or Pet Car Seats Provide Pet Travel Safety“, it explains that a dog who is not secured in the car can cause a distraction to the driver of the car. An unrestrained dog can also cause harm to the driver or passengers in the event of a car accident by becoming a dangerous projectile.
This article about pet travel safety also gives information on the types of products besides dog car harnesses that can be used to provide pet travel safety for you and your pet.
For more extensive information on pet travel safety devises, check out “How Dog Seat Belts or Pet Car Seats Provide Pet Travel Safety“.
The Hyper Dog
The hyper dog generally loves to ride in the car. He wants to be everywhere at once. This is how my dog Maya is in the car. For her, I have her wear a dog seatbelt. Her dog seatbelt has the strap extended so that she has some mobility. The strap isn’t long enough to allow her to get in the front seat, but it is long enough for her to reach one of the windows. I also have the Extend-A-Seat to cover the floor so that she has more room to move around and there is no danger of her getting thrown onto the floor in a sudden stop.
For the hyper dog you can also try a pet car barrier. As stressed in the previous post, be careful because a determined dog may be able to circumvent a pet car barrier.
You may also be able to help a hyper dog by not just taking him to fun places like the dog park, but also taking him to boring places like the bank drive through. Or just drive around the block and come back home. Perhaps if your dog isn’t always going somewhere fun when he is in the car, he may become desensitized by car rides. A good example of how desensitization works would be if you got out your dog’s leash often throughout the day but didn’t take him for a walk. He would eventually realize that the leash does not mean getting to go for a walk.
Pet travel safety is important. But so is your dog’s comfort. Working with your dog by helping him be desensitized to car rides or helping him not be so anxious in the car can provide him with both comfort and safety. Pet travel safety is provided by your dog not being a distraction to the driver. A dog seatbelt, a car seat for dogs, or a pet car barrier can also help with both comfort and safety.