Are automobile safety harnesses for dogs really necessary?
80% of American pet owners say they drive with their dogs loose in their car.
Much like the use of a mobile phone, pets can cause major distractions while driving – especially lap dogs. Drivers with unrestrained dogs in vehicles often do not have both hands on the steering wheel, do not always have their eyes from the road, and are not 100% focused on the task of driving.
Even more safety issues occur when driving with the windows down, where dogs are prone to barking at passing objects. Even though it’s hard to resist letting your dog smell the fresh air and pant with joy, unrestrained dogs in cars with open windows get eye and facial injuries from flying objects (or even insects) and can pose an escape risk. The last thing any driver wants to do is to chase down their dog on a busy freeway.
Additionally, many drivers who travel with unrestrained pets don’t think about the worst case scenario. During an accident, or an out-of-control vehicle situation, unrestrained pets can become deadly projectiles – injuring themselves and other passengers.
Use a Car Safety Restraint System or a Plastic Vari Kennel
Currently, there are no laws that require pets to be protected with car safety restraints. A few states have passed legislation requiring drivers to secure animal passengers, but most of the laws only apply to pets riding in the exterior of a vehicle (such as in the bed of a pick-up truck).
Dog owners who are willing to use a car restraint system expect them to do more than simply prevent distractions; we absolutely expect that they’ll keep our dogs safe in the event of an accident.
However, a recent study conducted by CPS (Center for Pet Safety), proved that all but one of the car safety restraints currently available had catastrophic failures. Which means they either broke, or failed to secure the crash-test dummy dogs in simulated crashes.
The only product to pass the CPS tests and earn the designation of “Top Performer” in the 2013 Safety Harness Crashworthiness Study was the Sleepypod Clickit Utility Harness.
If you prefer to use a crate in your car while traveling, it is best to use a plastic Vari Kennel as opposed to a wire crate. Check out what happens during a preliminary wire-crate crash test on the CPS website. The results are very disturbing.
Driving with a loose dog in a vehicle can pose serious safety issues, for both humans and pets. If you transport your pet in a vehicle, even if only occasionally, you should consider a car safety harness for your dog as a necessity.