Planning a trip with your dog this summer? It’s time for my annual nag about dog seat belts. Studies say only 16% of people use pet harnesses even though 83% of people say it’s dangerous to have an unrestrained dog in the car.
I know, I know, your dog likes to hang his head out the window and experience the joy of all the scents going by. But how would you feel if a truck threw up a rock and it hit your dog in the eye? Or if your dog jumped out of the window to follow the trail of one of those scents?
A loose dog in the car is also dangerous because he or she will likely get in your way, interfering with your ability to steer, brake, or even see an oncoming hazard. In addition, if you get into a wreck, your dog may become protective, preventing emergency crews from getting to you.
The safest place in the car is in a crate which both keeps your dog away from the driver and provides some containment and protection to prevent the dog from being ejected in the case of a wreck. The next best alternative is a dog seatbelt, which keeps your dog from wandering all over the car. Seatbelts may also give some protection against ejection after a wreck.
Forbes reported last year on a study done by the Center for Pet Safety into dog harnesses. The study used stuffed crash test dogs on a sled similar to that used to rate car safety devices. The results showed that most harnesses do not prevent the dog from sliding off of the seat or becoming airborne in a crash. In fact, many of the harnesses tore when subjected to the forces common in a car wreck.
According to the study, only the Sleepypod Clickit Utility harness performed well on three key measures:
- Keeping the dog from being launched off the seat
- Reducing the amount of rotation to which the dog was subjected during a crash
- Offering a 3-point connection which improved the overall function of the harness.
The Sleepypod harness also absorbs some of the energy from the crash to protect your dog.
Subaru, the sponsor of the study, will soon begin offering Sleepypod harnesses as an optional accessory on their vehicles.
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!