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).
* 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!
Welcome to 2014! A new year means getting a fresh start. It means resolving to do what you’ve been putting off. You and your dog are going to get fit, you’re going to eat better, and you’re going to do more fun activities together. When making all these resolutions, don’t forget to include the safety of your best furry friend.
Use a Pet Travel Safety Device
You know, I can’t mention pet safety without mentioning dog seat belts or pet travel carriers. If your dog rides in the car, it is a good idea to make sure he rides safe. If he won’t wear a car harness or ride in a crate, at least consider covering the floor of the back seat or putting up a barrier to separate the front and the back of the vehicle. The Backseat Bridge is a great way to do both. By putting this in your car, you can help keep your dog from getting thrown onto the floor or into the front seat. The barrier might even keep him from trying to climb in the front.
Don’t Leave Your Pet in the Car
Resolve to never go anywhere with your dog where you have to leave him alone in the car. In spring and summer, you have to worry about the vehicle trapping heat. In the fall and winter, you have to worry about the car acting as a freezer. Plus, there is a danger of theft. And don’t even tell me about the sorts of people who hate animals and like to maliciously tease them.
Keep Head and Paws Inside the Vehicle
Also, make sure when your pet rides in the car that he doesn’t put his head or paws out the window. If you have to stop or swerve suddenly, your dog could choke or get thrown out of the vehicle. It’s happened, people. It really has. Flying road debris could also hurt your best friend’s eyes or nose. Not only are there small pebbles to worry about, but also trash that people toss out their windows.
Don’t Ride in the Back of a Pickup
And for goodness sake, don’t let your dog ride in the back of a pickup. This is becoming illegal in more and more places. And for a very good reason.
Wear a Dog Life Jacket
Besides protection in cars, there are other safety things to consider for your pet. If your dog likes to swim or ride in a boat, make sure he wears a safety vest. Even though my Maya can swim, I generally have her wear a life jacket when she swims in a lake. This is because she loves swimming so much that I worry about her swimming too far after a stick or a ball. I worry about her getting too tired in the water.
Protect From Weather
Keep your dog safe then they are outdoors in adverse weather. Adverse weather includes rain, sleet, snow, and even the sun. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, make sure he has shelter. Shelter can help protect him against all sorts of weather. Always make sure he has fresh water. This is vital, but even more so in the heat. Protect paws from hot pavements and icy sidewalks, have short-coated dogs wear coats or sunscreen, and if hiking in nature watch out for wild animals and insects.
Wear a Lighted Collar
If you walk your dog at night, be sure your dog wears a lighted collar or reflective safety vest. If not your dog, at least yourself. Well, don’t wear a collar but at least carry some sort of light with you. You may see a car coming because of their headlights, but they can’t always see you.
Get Safe Chew Toys
If your dog is a chewer, resolve to find more dog toys that are indestructible. Resolve to supervise your dog whenever he plays with certain toys. Keep things that are unsafe to chew or eat out of his reach.
There are a lot of other pet safety things to consider, but I can hardly think of them all. Besides, pet car safety is my specialty.
What do you do to protect your best friend’s safety?
Welcome to Follow Up Friday where we recap the week… in this case, the past two weeks. I did not participate last week because I was still stuffed from Thursday’s meal.
This week’s follow up is hosted by Jodi with Heart Like a Dog. Be sure to check out her blog to see what Sampson and Delilah have been up to.
You may have already heard about the contest in November for the cute dog figurines. Winners have been announced… Kate V, Jodi E, Lindsay, Jenn B, and Theresa S. Congratulations all! If you haven’t already received your prize, you should be receiving it within a day or two.
Now for the December contest giveaway! On December 2nd, I started a contest for a paw print seat cover. If you haven’t already, go check it out and enter the rafflecopter. There are multiple ways to enter, and I’m sure most of you already meet the criteria by liking my Facebook page and following me on Twitter. You can also add additional entries by tweeting daily. There have only been 38 entries so far, so your chances are good. This contest ends on December 15th. I want to make sure the winner can get their cover in time for Christmas.
Speaking of the paw print pet car covers, Flea with Dog Treat Web for Jones Natural Chews did a great review for me. I heard she got a new Prius and thought she might like one. Check out the review from Flea.
THE RIGHT PET TRAVEL PRODUCT FOR YOU
Posted on the same day as the seat cover contest was an article about selecting the best way for your dog to travel; not based on what everyone else says is the best, but what works for you, your situation, and your dog. The best dog seat belt on the market may not work for your best friend. Some dogs might prefer riding in a crate. But then again, if you have a big dog you might not be able to fit his large pet crate in your small car. There are a ton of different situations and other options besides harnesses and crates. Be sure to go check out this article.
I haven’t posted about this yet, so I thought I would share it here today. We didn’t travel this holiday. Since my dad and stepmom are 11 hours away, my mom and stepdad are 5 hours away, my husband’s parents are in another country, and since my husband couldn’t get Friday off, we stayed home. Neither of us have any family nearby, but we have some good friends. We had a nice afternoon meal, ate some traditional and also nontraditional food, then took a nap. All-in-all, a wonderful day to be thankful for.
I didn’t post about Black Friday on this blog, but I did a little bit on my other blog. On Black Friday, I went to Petco and bought Pierson a bark control collar. I also got him a free pair of reindeer antlers with the purchase. I thought it was a fun trip, but Pierson was not at all pleased:
If you want to know more about how the bark control collar worked for Pierson, be sure to visit my American Dog Blog. The short version of this story is it has been peaceful this week.
Thanks for stopping by. And thank you, Jodi for hosting the blog hop! Happy Holidays everyone.
Dawn with Maya & Pierson
There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding what to get for your dog when you want to protect him in the car. It’s not just a matter of selecting the safest product. What might be the best for one person and their pet may not be what is best for you and yours. Here are some things to consider.
SAFETY vs COMFORT
You want your best friend to be both safe and comfortable. However, the safest travel gear is not always the most comfortable. For example, the ClickIt Utility has been deemed as the safest canine car harness in 2013 by the Center for Pet Safety. But it is also the most restrictive, making it uncomfortable for dogs who insist on trying to move around in the car. If your dog is like this, you may want to consider a less restrictive brand. The Ruff Rider Roadie is just one notch under the ClickIt in safety so it still offers protection, and it’s not as restrictive.
Chew or Escape Proof?
Keep in mind, too, that if your dog is uncomfortable he may try to wiggle or chew out of a car restraint. Car harnesses are not chew proof. And none are entirely escape proof either. Some might be more difficult to wiggle out of than others, but if a dog is determined enough he will break out, or hurt himself trying.
Harness vs Crate
Another safety versus comfort concern is regarding a car restraint versus a crate. Is a safety harness safer than a crate? This has not been officially determined, but it would stand to reason that a secured pet travel crate can keep your dog from being a distraction and from getting thrown from the vehicle, just like a durable seat belt can.
So when debating whether to get a harness or crate, consider your dog’s comfort. Some dogs won’t like being restrained in a harness while others would hate riding in a travel carrier. And some dogs won’t like either, which means using a car barrier or other pet travel safety product might be ideal for you. These other kinds or products won’t provide as much safety, but at the very least may help to keep your furry best friend in the back seat.
Thankfully, the chances of you being involved in a collision are small. And if you do get in an accident, be thankful that most accidents are minor. Census.gov reports for 2009 that 0.6% of all car accidents in the US were fatal while 27.6% had nonfatal injuries, and 71.9% had property damage only. Where we may not be badly injured in a fender bender, an unrestrained dog can be. He can break his leg when he gets tossed between the seats, get severe damage to his nose if he hits the dash, get bodily injured when he gets thrown at the windshield, get squished because he is on your lap between you and the steering wheel, or get choked because his head is out the car window. All these possible injuries could be minimized or even eliminated with even the most basic restraint, crash tested or not.
TYPE OF VEHICLE
If you have a small car and a big dog, having him ride in a crate may not be feasible. Or if you have an SUV and you want your pet to ride in the cargo area, keep in mind that not all canine car harness brands can be used in the cargo area.
In general, the safest products are also the most expensive. Manufacturers making safety gear have invested heavily in quality materials and testing, thereby making merchandise that might be out of one’s price range. But paying less does not always mean making a compromise on your best friend’s welfare. Bergan has a relatively inexpensive harness which passed crash testing at the small and medium sizes (25lbs and 45lbs). Pet carriers also tend to be more expensive than harnesses, especially larger crates.
Do you want to keep your dog safe, or do you just want to keep him from trying to climb in the front seat or climb onto your lap? Perhaps you only plan on taking short trips around town and not on the highway. Maybe your dog doesn’t get to go for a ride very often. Safety is important, but your intended use is also an important factor to consider. You may not want to spend a lot of money on the safest seat belt for dogs if you don’t plan on using it that often.
EASE OF USE
What is easy to use and what isn’t is relative. If you’re not used to putting on a harness, a car harness can seem complex. The ClickIt Utility with its three attachment points can seem even more convoluted. A carrier may not be easy either, especially when you consider how you are going to strap it in and secure it in your vehicle. However, whichever method you choose, it gets easier each time.
These are just a few of the factors people think about when they look for a pet travel safety product. Which features do you consider?
Thank goodness, it is another contest giveaway! Sorry, it is not a pet travel product this time. But it sure is cute. I have a few dog figurines left over from another website I used to run and thought it would be great to give some away. There are a total of five of these adorable shoe & dog figurines available, three brown and two black. They are each 4″ long, 7″ wide, and 5″ tall. The shoe has an opening in it so that you can put in some dirt and a small plant. This figurine can be used both indoors and out. These are a Land & Sea product.
Contest Details and Rules:
- Since this is a thankful month, tell us in comments what your pet is most thankful for. Then use the Rafflecopter below to submit your contest entry.
- Enter by the other ways indicated on the Rafflecopter.
- Open to those with a shipping address in the Continental US only.
- Contest ends on November 30th, 11:59pm CST.
- Tweet daily for more entries.
- Your likes and follows must be active on the date of the drawing.
- Winners will be chosen using Random.org. Please respond within 3 business days. Winners who do not resopnd within that time will forfeit their prize.
Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful holiday season!
Dawn with Maya & Pierson
Time for another edition of Follow Up Friday hosted by HeartLikeADog and SandSpringChesapeakes. Follow Up Friday is where we follow up with the events of the week. So check out what you missed, then go see what our doggy blogging friends are up to with the blog hop below.
Pet Safety Saturday – Outdoor Hiking Safety
I can’t believe I completely forgot to include first aid supplies in my list! Thankfully, all the bloggers talking about first aid this month reminded me and I added it on as an update. Jodi with HeartLikeADog.com suggested other items you should brink hiking – “a flashlight as well as an extra collar and leash.” And she also suggested a pepper blaster. I live in Kansas where the predators are not very big. So it never occurred to me to bring pepper spray. But it sounds like a fantastic idea.
Monday – My Car and Pierson’s Poem
It took forever, but I finally got my car back. I almost had it back last Friday but it died on me as I pulled into my driveway. I couldn’t restart it so had it towed to a repair shop. It was about 3pm so, of course, they didn’t have time to look at it that day. And they were closed on the weekend. They finally had a chance to look at it on Monday and guess what? The car started for them! They even drove it around. They couldn’t find anything wrong with it at all.
My car is home now and seems to be doing fine. It’s almost as good as new. Just look at that shiny new bumper! We’re ready to roll for the next pet event.
Also, Pierson’s poo poem was selected as one of the winners for the Bad Poetry Day Contest. If you haven’t seen the poem, go check it out on our other blog. The poem is titled, Roses Aren’t Edible, and is a blogging sensation – 30 comments!!! Apparently you all like poo too.
Pet Travel Destination Tuesday
No comments for the post on Seattle, Washington. But I forgot to mention one made by Lindsay with ThatMutt.com from the previous Tuesday. She says, “Our favorite pet friendly travel destination has always been the north shore area of Lake Superior in Minnesota. We can always find dog friendly trails and cabins or hotels. Plus, lots of places for dogs to go swimming.” This sounds like a lot of fun! Tell us more, Lindsay.
Because I own my own business, I pretty much work it seven days a week and our family seldom gets to do much traveling. So, Lindsay and anyone else who’d like to talk about their favorite pet travel destination, feel free to email me with more information and photos for a guest spot.
Question of the Week
How can I keep my dog from wiggling out of the dog car harness?
This is such a common occurrence that we include a tip sheet with all our pet seat belt orders. The fact is if a dog is not used to wearing a harness and hates to be restricted in the car, he is going to try to wiggle his way out of it. And a very determined dog might just be able to do so. How can you keep him from getting out of it? Not by tightening it. In fact, this may make your dog even more determined to get out of it because it makes him uncomfortable. And if it is too tight, he could hurt himself when he tries to wiggle free.
Is there a brand that is escape-proof? Not that we have found so far, though some are more difficult than others. If anyone ever makes the claim that theirs is escape-proof, I can almost guarantee that some dog somewhere will prove them wrong. For one, consider the design of a dog car harness. With safety in mind, the neck of a pet seat belt has to be wide in order to prevent choking. This means it can’t be snug around the neck like a collar.
So what can you do? Our tip sheet suggests training. If you use a Halti or Gentle Leader on your dog for walking, then you probably already have an idea of what to do to get your dog used to wearing a dog car harness. Check out an article we wrote on HubPages for more extensive training tips.
That’s all for today. Thank you so much everyone for stopping by. If you have any questions on pet travel or on any of our products, just comment below or email me at email@example.com. Also, feel free to share information on photos on your favorite pet travel destination.
Dawn with Maya & Pierson
Despite having lived in Oregon, I have amazingly never made it to Washington. And I’ve heard Seattle is super pet friendly so I thought I would do a little research. Here is what I found.
There is no lack of pet friendly accommodations in Seattle. Hotels and vacation home rentals are abundant. Multiple modes of transportation are also available for you and your dog. Check out all these options: city buses, the Seattle Ferry Service, Dog Gone Taxi, Argoys Cruises (water taxi service only), and Emerald Country Carriages. In fact, most of the ferry services are dog friendly. While browsing online, I think I even saw a seaplane tour that allowed dogs!
If you love gardens, Seattle has some astonishingly beautiful places to visit. And many will welcome your best friend. There is the Carl English Jr Botanical Gardens, Woodland Park Rose Garden, and Kubota Garden.
Check out this dog enjoying his visit at the Kubota Garden:
There are also a ton of off-leash dog parks, stores, and restaurants in Seattle. Even many of the farmer’s markets welcome dogs. And don’t forget the many parks in Seattle. A few fun parks to visit include Discovery Park, Blake Island State Park, and Green Lake Park. There is also the Sand Point Magnuson Park which also has a wonderful off-leash dog park where your dog can go swimming.
For a more extensive list of things you can do with your dog in Seattle, Washington, visit DogFriendly.com. Also, check out a blog article about Seattle from GoPetFriendly.com where they recommend a number of places, including Norm’s Eatery and Ale House as a dog friendly restaurant.
Do you live in or have you been to Seattle, Washington? Tell us what you do with your dog when you’re there. Have photos you want to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, if you’d like to be featured in an article about your favorite pet travel destination, let us know.
Since I don’t have the opportunity to do much traveling, I’m so happy I get to visit other dog bloggers who’ve been to some great pet travel destinations. Please go check out these other great blogs by clicking the corresponding links in red:
Sugar the Golden Retriever finds pet friendly activities in Chicago, Illinois. Sugar gets to take a tour boat cruise and take a stroll along the Chicago riverwalk. Both posts are full of many wonderful photos and fully share Sugar’s experience.
Rocco with ToDogsWithLove gets to go to Woody Gap at Chattahoochee National Forest in Dahlonega, Georgia. This is about two hours north of Atlanta, Georgia. It really looks like Rocco had a lot of fun on his visit. There are many great photos to see on this blog too.
Ty and Buster with GoPetFriendly recently visited the Black Hills of South Dakota. If you’re not familiar with Ty and Buster or GoPetFriendly, this is the perfect blog to follow for pet travel destinations. Ty and Buster get to travel all over the United States and their parents are always taking great pictures. And did I tell you that Ty and Buster wear the Kurgo seat belt for dogs when they travel?
Once you’ve checked out these great places through these pawsome bloggers, come back and tell us about your favorite pet friendly travel destination. If you’re a blogger and have a post about you and your pet visiting someplace special, feel free to share the link. And ask about being featured on our Pet Travel Destination Tuesday series.
Follow up from Pet Safety Saturday’s post on Why My Dog Wears a Pet Car Harness:
I was in a rear end collision last Thursday. My dog Maya was with me. I was really sore the following Friday and Saturday but felt much better on Sunday and was 100% better by Monday. Maya seemed not to have been affected at all. She and Pierson were playing as normal on Friday and she has been just as rambunctious on her walks. The auto repair shop told me it is not just the rear bumper that was damaged on my car, but the frame as well. They also told me the cost to repair my car is likely more than my car is worth. So instead of getting my car repaired, I will most likely only receive a 2k check from the other insurance company. My car is a 1998 Ford Contour and doubtedly not worth more than 2k. Makes me wish I had a Toyota instead.
Follow up on questions received on the blog this week:
Jodi from Heart Like a Dog asks, “How frequently should you stop when driving with dogs? You should you keep to your regular feeding schedule? Typically our thought is we stop to let them eat and then when we stop for gas or to use the rest areas, they get a quick walk too.”
That’s a great question, Jodi. When we took a long road trip to Texas with Maya & Pierson we stopped every couple of hours or so. This coincided with the stops we made to get gas, at rest stops for our own potty breaks, and stops we made for food. I would start out with this as your plan. But watch their behavior. If they are generally quiet on the ride but suddenly get restless, it may mean that they need a break. Also, more active dogs may need more frequent stops.
For feeding, it really depends on how your dogs handle car rides. Do you know if they tend to get car sick? Pierson tends to get car sick so I gave him several small meals instead of his normal two big meals.
Hawk, Brown Dog CBR says, “Buying a seat belt really perplexed my Human. I ate one. She bought a different brand and I chewed the seat belt. I prefer my crate but it’s too big to go in the sedan. Now she’s talkin’ about gettin’ a different strap attachment that is longer. Do you think she thinks I won’t find a way to outsmart the dang thing? (smirk)”
LOL! Chewing through harnesses is a common problem. We usually provide a tip sheet for people who buy a pet car harness in order to give some ideas on how to keep a dog from chewing through or escaping from it. One tip is training the dog to get used to the harness. This can take time. A short-term solution is to use a no-chew spray on the harness. And your idea of a longer strap is a good one too. Here’s a link to an article we wrote on the subject a couple years ago – Tips to Keep Your Dog from Chewing on His Dog Car Harness.
Just so you know, there is no such thing as a safe chew-proof or escape-proof pet car harness. The only chew-proof material I can think of is Kong material or metal. I can’t imagine metal being safe. I don’t know how safe a hard rubber one would be. One hasn’t been invented or tested yet, as far as I know. Escape-proof is difficult as well. Imagine if the harness is too tight. This would be uncomfortable for the dog and the dog would be even more likely to try to get out of it if he is uncomfortable. And if he did try to get out of a pet car harness that is too tight, he will be more likely to hurt himself.
Follow up on questions received by telephone or email this week:
Sarah asked whether I like the Kurgo or the Bergan brand pet car harness the best. This is a very common question and it is difficult to answer. I like both of them for different reasons. I like how the Bergan fits Pierson. He has a small frame and both the neck and the chest straps are fully adjustable. I also like the Bergan’s tether for Maya because she likes to move around a lot. I like how the Kurgo fits Maya. The large size is like it was made just for a Lab. But I don’t like the Kurgo tether for Maya. It works well on Pierson and I like how it is shorter and safer for him. But the Kurgo looped tether just won’t work for Maya.
If someone asks how I like the Ruff Rider Roadie, I honestly haven’t tried it on Maya and Pierson yet. I really like how padded the Bergan and Kurgo is. The Ruff Rider isn’t. But the quality if the Ruff Rider Roadie is obvious. It has a lot of features that the Kurgo and Bergan don’t seem to have. It is pleated under the dog’s legs so that it doesn’t cause irritation. The strap can be made short or long. And the strap can be used with the seat belt of the car as well as in the cargo area of the SUV (The Bergan tether can too).
Follow up on southern Florida as a pet friendly travel destination:
Gizmo from Terrier Torrent loves Florida and says his favorite part is the Jupiter dog beach. Flea from DogTreatWeb for Jones Natural Chews has only experience central Florida and was not at all impressed. She says central Florida was not at all dog friendly. Pamela with Something Wagging This Way Comes says that she’s had luck finding dog friendly tours up north, but not dog friendly sailing tours. That’s too bad because I’m sure her dog Sunny would love to go.
Do you have any pet travel safety questions? What about a favorite pet friendly travel destination? Feel free to chime in on the comments below or email us at email@example.com.
Last week, we had a review from Lily Grace’s mom on the Ruff Rider Roadie seat belt for dogs. Lily Grace went on a long road trip from Florida to Connecticut. So our pet travel destination that Tuesday was for Hartford, Connecticut. This Tuesday, we’re reviewing southern Florida, where Lily Grace rode from.
There are so many pet friendly accommodations in southern Florida that finding one will take almost no effort at all. Just visit DogFriendly.com to get a list.
Take your dog for a walk along the Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk. Also in Fort Lauderdale, shop along the Las Olas district and stop for a bite to eat at an outdoor cafe. Some are dog friendly. Or you can shop along the Worth Avenue shopping district in Palm Beach.
And OMD! There are a number of parks and beaches in southern Florida. I’m just going to name a few.
Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Hobe Sound, Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in Fort Lauderdale.
There are lots of dog parks too. Here’s one in Boca Raton:
Check out this other video of dogs having fun at the beach in Fort Lauderdale:
Doesn’t southern Florida look like fun? What would you and your dog do if your pet travel destination was southern Florida?