Dogs love nothing more than standing up at the window of a car, looking out at the passing scenery, and feeling the wind blow through their coat. Safetyconscious dog owners, however, know that a loose dog in a car is a disaster waiting to happen. A 30 mile-per-hour collision causes unrestrained
people, dogs, and objects in a vehicle to be flung about with hundreds or even thousands of pounds of force, causing injuries and even death.
Here’s a look at just a few of the products that are available for your dog-traveling needs.
Buckling Max in with a regular seat belt isn’t really an option. For one thing, his anatomy precludes a safe and comfortable fit. Instead,
look for one of the many seat belts made just for dogs. Choose a one-piece harness with wide, padded straps that can be attached to your
car’s seat belt or some other sturdy anchor point.
For instance, the Ruff Rider Roadie has a tensile strength of 9,300 pounds and was designed by a veterinary orthopedic surgeon to be ergonomically
correct. The harness-style seat belt attaches to your car’s seat belt system and gives a dog the freedom to sit or lie down. Check out
And then there’s the Champion Canine Seat Belt System, which has wide straps to help distribute pressure across a dog’s body, a cushioned chest
pad, and a swivel hook that allows dogs to move comfortably. It attaches to seat belts, tiedown hooks, and child-seat tether anchors. Check
For small dogs who like to look out the window, a car seat can keep them restrained while still providing a ride with a view. Most are modeled
on child car seats and are built for dogs up to 25 or 30 pounds.
The Comfort Ride Pet Seat attaches to a seat belt and has a three-point restraint system that attaches to a dog’s harness to keep him
in the seat. The base of the seat has a storage compartment. Check out www.canineauto.com.
The Stow-Away 3-in-1 serves as a car seat, suitcase, and bed for your dog. Held in place with your car’s seat belt, it elevates dogs 10 inches
and has a storage compartment. Check out store.tripswithpets.com/merchant2/
One very important note: Whether you restrain your dog with a seat belt or a car seat, he’s safest secured in the middle of the back seat.
An air bag punching out of the dashboard at 140 miles per hour is just as dangerous to a dog as it is to a small child.
Most car seats are suited only to small dogs, and seat belts can be awkward. But a crate secured by a seat belt (run it through the handle
on top of the crate) is your best bet.
What’s the safest way to travel with your dog in the car? A seat belt prevents him from flying through the air and potentially hitting his
head on the side of a crate during a collision, says critical care veterinarian Vicki L. Campbell, who is also an assistant professor at
Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. That said, she adds, a crate may better protect a dog from a flying object in a collision.
Whichever you choose, your dog will be safer than if he’s not restrained at all.
No portion of this article may be reproduced without permission of the copyright holder. Reprinted with permission from AKC Family Dog, July/August, 2005.
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