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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
Win a $25 Gift Card On Our First Monthly Photo Contest From PetAutoSafety.com
Have you traveled somewhere fun with your pet? Share a photo with PetAutoSafety.com and enter to win a $25 Visa gift card!
There are three simple steps to win:
1. Like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/petautotravelsafety.
2. Follow us on Twitter @naturebydawn.
3. Email a photo of your pet on vacation at firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “October Pet Photo Contest” in the RE section, attach 1 .jpeg image, and tell us about your vacation.
The contest entry below asks you to tweet about us and leave a blog comment but these two items are not required and do not increase your chances of winning. To win, you must complete the three above steps (exception may be made for those not on Twitter). The winner will be judged by us based on the quality of your image, the aesthetics of the photo, how apparent it is that your dog is at a vacation spot and not at home or near home, and how happy and/or cute your dog looks in the photo. We will allow our definition of vacation to be as simple as a one-day trip such as a hiking expedition or day at the beach.
1. Sorry, US entrants or people with an AE address only. We are not able to mail your gift card outside the US (unless it is an AE address) and if you opt for a $25 discount from our site instead we are not able to ship outside the continental US (unless it is an AE address).
2. One entry per person, even if you have multiple pets. If you don’t win this time, you can enter our next month’s giveaway even if it is the same photo, but the same photo cannot win more than once in a 12 month period.
3. You must like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Please don’t unlike us after the contest. We will have more contests and giveaways, will give discount codes and sales, and share fun and interesting stuff.
4. Contest entry must be received by October 31st, 2012. Winner will be determined November 1st or 2nd (depending on the number of entries) and announced on this blog on Saturday, November 3rd, 2012.
5. Your Like on Facebook and Follow on Twitter must be current at the end of the contest, October 31st, 2012.
6. Since the prize is a gift card, it can be used anywhere that accepts gift cards. Our PetAutoSafety.com website accepts gift cards, however, if the item you are purchasing is over $25 the gift card won’t work since you can’t make partial payments on a website. If you are a winner and wish to have $25 off an item from PetAutoSafety.com, please let us know so we can send you a discount code instead. The discount code will only be able to be used once and will only be usable for a limited time.
7. The photo must include your pet and should include indications that you are somewhere other than at home or at the local park.
8. Employees of PetAutoSafety.com and Nature by Dawn, Inc. are not eligible.
Terms & Conditions:
1. We will not share your personal information or email address.
2. We will not send spam email or email you for any other reason other than that related to your contest entry.
3. By emailing us your photo, you agree to let us use the photo on our social media sites and for promotional purposes.
4. You understand and accept that the contest is judged subjectively and our winner decision is final.
5. We promise not to judge with favoritism so if you are a regular commenter on our blogs or have purchased from us in the past, don’t mention it in your contest entry because it won’t help.
6. Although we encourage that you travel safe with your dog, it is not required that your photo show your dog traveling safe in order for you to win. Whether you use a pet travel safety device for your dog when he rides in the car is not the subject of this particular contest and so will not increase your chances of winning. We do appreciate that you travel safely with your pet, though! Perhaps this will be the subject of a future contest.
7. By entering the contest, you agree to all the rules and terms & conditions.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Perhaps a few words on this nearly Wordless Wednesday photo… My Maya is so cute but why the circle with the red line? 1) Don’t leave your dog alone in the car (heat and theft danger), 2) No dogs in the front seat (airbag danger), 3) Don’t let your dog put their head out the window (danger of flying debri), 4) Buckle up your dog (safety concern).
Many dogs love to ride in the car. You see them often with their noses to the wind and a happy doggy grin on their face. So you know dogs can enjoy a car ride but perhaps you are not sure how to get your dog to enjoy it too. Whether you have a puppy or an older dog, here are a few tips to help help your dog enjoy the car ride.
First, you need to consider using a pet auto safety device such as a pet car seat, dog seat belt, or pet carrier. If you use a pet auto safety device for your pet, you need to allow your pet time to get used to it. If you are using a pet car seat, for example, allow your pet to use as a bed for a short time before putting it in the car. If you are using a dog seat belt, put the safety harness on the dog (without the buckle strap attached) and allow them to wear it around the house (with supervision). If you are using a crate, crate train your pet first.
Tip #1 – To Help to Prevent Vomiting or Voiding in the Car
* Do not give them anything to eat for an hour or two before the ride.
* Don’t allow them to drink excessively.
* Allow your dog to take a potty break just before going for a ride.
Tip #2 – Take Short Fun Trips
Once your dog is used to the pet auto safety device, start taking them somewhere they will enjoy. This will help them learn to associate a car ride with these special places.
* Go to the park.
* Visit the pet store.
* Take your pet with you to visit a friend.
* Take your pet with you when you are only going to a drive-through such as at a bank or fast-food place.
* Go to a coffee shop or restaurant where you can sit outside.
Never take your dog someplace where you will have to leave them unattended in the car. The inside of a car is not safe for a pet, even if it is not hot outside or the windows are rolled down. Not only are there dangers, but it could also cause your pet to get lonely, anxious, or nervous. If your dog already fears a car ride, leaving them alone in it is not going to help.
Tip #3 - Distract Your Pet
* Give your dog a familiar object like their favorite toy or blanket.
* Talk to your dog while you drive, but don’t use a soothing voice. Talking to them in a soothing voice may confirm their thinking that the car ride is a bad thing. Use a regular tone of voice and talk as if nothing is wrong. However, every dog is different. Some dogs may get more excited by the sound of your voice, in which case you should ignore them. Try both talking and silence to see which works best for your pet. Try not to scold your pet. Positive reinforcement is the best way to make a car ride enjoyable. Do not let your talking to the dog distract you from your driving. It is also recommended that you do not pet them while you drive. Not only can this distract you from the road, it may also encourage the dog to pester you for more attention.
* Try playing the radio for your pet. Soothing music may have a calming effect on some pets. But most importantly, the sound of music will help cover the loud and unfamiliar sounds of the road. A passing semi, for example, may be a familiar sound to us, but the rumbling of these big trucks can be terrifying for a dog who has never heard them before.
* Open a window. Even if the loud sounds of the road are a problem for your pet an open window may provide a distraction of new and interesting smells for your dog. Most dogs seem to love this aspect of car rides. Your dog should not be able to stick their head out the window while using a restraint, but they should still be able to catch those exciting scents.
* If possible, have someone sit in the back seat with your dog. They can provide a distraction that you, as the driver, can not. This person, however, should not use a soothing voice and comforting manner. Remember, you want your dog to think that riding in the car is no big deal.
Being safe in the car is of utmost importance for you and your loved ones. New parents comb through products looking for the next big improvement to protect their children. There are hundreds of child protective seats available that are designed for children of varying ages which help reduce the impact of any car accident.
It goes to reason that this same product should be available for dogs which obviously cannot be secured in a safety device designed for human use. Having a special seat that can protect your dog is imperative for those that care about the safety of their most beloved pets. Dog car seats are an incredible innovation.
Even though I only live four hours from St. Louis, I have never been there. So I made plans to visit this 4th of July weekend. The first thing I had to do was decide whether or not I was going to take the dogs. I considered a boarding kennel, a pet sitter, or leaving my dogs with a friend. But because it was a holiday weekend, these options were going to be hard to come by. So I decided to take them with me. Once this was determined, I needed to find a hotel that would allow my pets. After some research online at www.PetsWelcome.com, I found that the Sheraton generally accepts pets.
Once the hotel was booked, the next thing was to prepare for the trip. I had to not only pack for myself, but for the dogs as well. I packed their food bowls, water bowls, leashes, food, doggy biscuits, doggy poopie bags, crates, dog beds, and most importantly, extra water. I made sure they were in good health (both just had check-ups at the vet a couple weeks ago), that their tags were secure on their collars and up to date, and that my car was prepared for them. The back seat of my car has a car seat cover and I added the Kurgo Backseat Bridge which would give them extra room and keep them off the floor. My dogs wore their pet auto safety belts. The strap which buckles into the seat belt receptacle of the car was extended a little so that they had more room to move around but were still safe and secure.
On the way to St. Louis, we stopped at the rest stops along the way. There were three of them, each about 40-60 miles apart. Every interstate highway in the US has rest stops. I made sure the dogs only did their business in the pet area since the rest stops had a place designated specifically for pets. And I made sure I picked up after them. I also gave them water at each stop. Both dogs did great. No one got car sick. Maya was bored and tended to move around a lot, but because of her pet seat belt and the Extend-A-Seat, she was not able to bother me while I drove.
At the Destination
Both dogs were well-behaved at the hotel as well. Maya was a little hyper and wanted to greet everyone but I kept a hold of her leash and made sure she did not jump on or lick anyone. When I left the hotel and had to leave them behind, I kept them in their crates as required by hotel policy. I did not get any reports about them so I assume that they did not bark after I left. I did not always leave the dogs in the hotel when visiting St. Louis. I took them walking even went to a couple of nearby parks.
All-in-all it was a great trip. We all had a good time and we all kept safe. You and your pets can have a safe and pleasant time traveling as well. Just remember the four basics: Accommodation, Preparation, Travel, and Destination.
The employees of PetAutoSafety.com visited an event today called “Paws in the Park” which was presented by the Johnson County Park & Recreation District. This event is located at Shawnee Mission Park, a 1,250 acre park located in Johnson County, Kansas at 79th and Renner Rd. It is the largest park in Johnson County and has more visitors than any other park in the state of Kansas. This is because the park is not only clean and well-kept, but it also has areas designated for numerous activities including fishing, boating, canoeing, picnics, hiking, and biking. It also has a disc golf course, trails for horse back riding, an archery range, a play area for kids, the Theater in the Park, and best of all, a 53 acre off-leash area for dogs. The off-leash area for dogs has a swim beach, some well-kept wood chip trails, and both grassland and wooded areas for the dogs to visit.
“Paws in the Park” is a family and pet event with multiple pet-related activities and pet-related vendors. The pet-related activities and events included a pet/owner look-a-like contest, a dog walk, best trick contest, an agility course, and best costume contest. There was also a canine demonstration by the Overland Park Police Department. The pet-related vendors we saw included PetsMart, various animal rescue groups, local dog training businesses, local dog sitters and day care businesses, veterinary clinics, and more! Next year, we here at PetAutoSafety.com hope to be one of the vendors in this event. Our goal is to not only get the word out about pet auto safety, but to collect enough proceeds to be able to donate a portion to the local humane society. Most of the proceeds for the “Paws in the Park” event is given for the upkeep of Shawnee Mission Park, but a fair portion will be donated to an area dog rescue group. We are proud to contribute to any organization that helps pets. We are also glad that we could contribute to a great park that we take our dogs to all the time.
Check your local area for great off-leash parks and wonderful pet-related events.
Sephi, short for Persephone (per-sef-ony), is seven years old and Maya is 9 months old. I have had both of them since they were at least three weeks old. I don’t know how many times Sephi flew forward and hit the dash when I had to make a sudden stop. Luckily, she was never seriously hurt but I was concerned that someday she might be. So when I found out there was such a thing as a pet car harness, I bought it for her. Then I bought another one when I got Maya. When Maya was little, she wanted to climb in my lap while I was driving. If it wasn’t for the dog safety car harness, it would have been very difficult for me to drive safely because Maya would have been distracting me.