Keeping Dogs Safe While Riding in Cars

Dogs make road trips more fun. The companionship of a four legged co-pilot certainly makes driving more enjoyable. While taking a pet on a road trip may require a little extra effort, having our furry family member along for the ride more than makes up for the additional planning and time.

Safety is an important consideration when taking a dog for a car ride. Dogs should always be properly restrained to prevent them from being injured and interfering with the driver’s ability to safely navigate the vehicle.

While there are laws mandating all vehicle passengers wear restraints, no such legal requirement exists mandating the same for pets. However, this is an important consideration not only for their safety but for the safety of the driver and other passengers.

An unrestrained dog is at tremendous risk of serious injury should a collision occur. Allowing an unrestrained dog to ride with their head out of the car window places them at risk of injury. Roadway debris kicked up by vehicle tires can fly into a dog’s eyes causing injury both painful and expensive. An unrestrained dog could also become a dangerous projectile that could cause significant harm to others. Force is measured by calculating weight, speed and the distance required to stop. Using this calculation in a head on collision, a 50 pound dog traveling in a car going 30 miles per hour projects forward with an impact force of 1500 pounds.

There are two categories of safety gear for restraining dogs while riding in a car. The first category is classified as distraction prevention. This is designed to keep the dog out of the driver’s seat. The second category is crash protection designed to avoid injury. The Center for Pet Safety recommends quality crash tested harnesses to protect your pet and others in the car. Research completed by the Center for Pet Safety indicates a broad range of results for pet safety harnesses tested.

The best safety harness for your pet is one certified by the Center for Pet Safety. Participation in the program is voluntary and  demonstrates the manufacturer’s commitment to produce harnesses that meet independently developed safety standards. The testing conducted by CPS is rigorous and provides consumers with peace of mind they are purchasing equipment which has met the safety requirements necessary to protect their pet. The Center for Pet Safety recommends three different safety harnesses. The Sleepypod Clickit Sport, Sleepypod Clickit Terrain and ZuGoPet’s, The Rocketeer Pack.

When shopping for safety harnesses for your pet do not simply take the word of the manufacturer their equipment is crash tested. Independently verify certification through a third party such as the Center for Pet Safety. While certified restraint systems are often more expensive, consider it an investment in the safety and security of your pet. They are well worth the investment to ensure your pet stays healthy and injury free.

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