Driving With Dogs

Rocky takes a ride in the carMany years ago we adopted a beautiful Pembroke Welsh Corgi name Rae, who was a retired show dog.  When we went to pick her up, the breeder put Rae in a sturdy travel crate and carefully placed her in the back seat of my car for the ride home. She showed me how to fasten the seat belt correctly and emphasized how important this was.

I will never forget the story she told me. She said to always drive with your dog secured in a strong crate for safety. With that, she proceeded to tell me about some dog show friends who were recently in a tragic car accident. In fact the only survivor was the dog which had been in a crate with the seat belt fastened.

Everyone needs to be secured when driving, and that includes animals as well as people! Pets should be in a crate or at least have some sort of restraint, and they should always be in the back seat. This is for your safety and theirs. Pets can be very distracting while driving.

According to Jennifer Huebner-Davidson of the AAA, “Drivers should use a pet restraint system for your dog every time their pet is in the vehicle. A restraint will not only limit distractions, but also protect you, your pet and other passengers in the event of a crash or sudden stop.”

You should never drive with a dog in your lap even for a short distance. Even a minor car accident can kill an unprotected small dog. I admit I have been guilty of driving with a Chihuahua on my lap for a short trip. But it is important to get your dog used to traveling in a carrier which should have a soft pad inside for the dog to provide added comfort and safety.

56 percent of pet owners will drive with their dogs a least once a month. And over half of us admit that our dogs have distracted us while driving.  20 percent of us admit that we drive with our dog in our lap and also will feed them a treat or two taking our eyes off the road on occasion.

According to the The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, looking away from the road for only two seconds doubles your risk of being in a crash.

Only 16 percent say they regularly use a pet restraint. Most people simply let their dog sit in the back seat (or front seat) and claim their dog is very well behaved. Sadly, a dog can become a dangerous projectile in a crash. And an air bag can easily crush a small dog on impact.

PDF Fact Sheet: AAA/Kurgo Pet Passenger Safety Survey

There have been some legislative inroads made in regards to distracted driving as it pertains to having pets in the car or improperly restraining animal passengers. However few states still having any substantial on the books. PetAge.com has a quick rundown of what’s been passed or previously proposed. Hawaii is currently the only state that explicitly forbids drivers from holding a pet on their lap.

The Center for Pet Safety has a wealth of resources including their 2015 Carrier Study Results and their Crate Crashworthiness Study Summary Report. You can also check out their video channel on Vimeo where they currently have 68 videos.

According to their latest testing, they rated the Gunner Kennels G1 Intermediate with 8’ Tie Down Straps as their top crate. The Pet Ego Forma Frame Jet Set Carrier with ISOFIX-Latch Connection and the Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed with PPRS Handilock were their picks for top carriers.

For some more helpful information, check out these websites:

And in the meantime, please keep you and your dog safe while traveling!

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