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buckle up, pup: car safety for pets

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Posted by Dr. Kim on Feb 15 2018




You’d never think about going on a road trip (or even just driving down the street) without buckling your seatbelt or making sure your kids are strapped into their seats. So why is it so common to see pets roaming around people’s cars? From the Labrador Retriever who is halfway out the back window to the Jack Russell Terrier sitting on his owner’s lap in the driver’s seat, dogs that are unrestrained are in danger of being seriously injured in an accident. They also pose a threat to humans in the car.

In the unfortunate occurrence of a car accident, your unrestrained pet turns into a projectile, capable of propelling through a windshield and/or causing significant injury to you and your other passengers. Unrestrained pets also cause driver distraction, not to mention a physical threat should they venture near the accelerator or brake pedals while the car is moving.

With several states considering or already passing pet restraint laws, the issue of loose pets in vehicles is not just an ethical problem, it can be a legal problem. Many states can dole out hefty fines for unrestrained pets causing driver distraction, and Hawaii has banned pets from owner’s laps altogether.

I know pet parents love having their furry family along for car rides, and sometimes it’s just unavoidable (like on trips to the veterinarian or kennel). So what’s a dog or cat chauffeur to do?

The answer is fairly simple: protect your four-legged passengers the same way that you do your human riders. Buckle them up! You’ll find an array of vehicular pet safety devices available on the market, including safety harnesses, pet seatbelts, and carriers that clip in to your car’s seatbelt.

However, not all of these safety products are equally effective at protecting your pet.

The Center for Pet Safety conducted a pilot study in 2011 to test the safety of four brands of pet restraint harnesses. A 55 lb. dummy dog was placed in the harnesses and then put through crash testing. The results were dismal; all four failed to provide adequate safety for the pets themselves or for the humans in the car.

Since that harsh wake-up call, companies started working harder to provide products that protect our pets.

Some, like pet restraint manufacturer Sleepypod, have gone so far as to conduct their own crash tests. As a result, Sleepypod products have earned a top-rated Safety Certification from the Center for Pet Safety.

In addition to a traditional pet safety harness, the Clickit Sport, Sleepypod also manufactures a cleverly designed mobile pet bed. The cozy carrier doubles as a bed when you’re not on the go, encouraging cats and dogs to associate it with comfort and safety. This helps to address anxiety, another big issue for traveling pets. Best of all, the carrier attaches to your car’s seatbelt to protect your pet in case of a crash.

The next time you’re planning to bring your cat or dog along on a trip, make your pet’s safety a priority before you head out. Remember, choosing to take precautions is only the first step. It’s crucial to do your research and find a pet travel product that will truly guarantee your furry friend’s safety! Check the labels and look for a brand like Sleepypod that carries a trusted safety rating.

You love your pets enough to take them with you on your trip. Now ensure that they return home with you safely, too.