A flapping tongue, windswept ears, and playful glimmer in their eyes. There is nothing like seeing a dog stick their head out a car window. But is this the safest way to drive with your dog? I mean, to them it is an undeniable bliss. To me it is heartache, and I’m not just being a worry-wart!
Of course, pet travel safety wasn’t something I immediately understood.
We left our dog free to roam the back seat as a kid. She would switch side to side, leaving saliva and nose tracks along the edge of the rolled down windows. She was so happy, and we were so naive.
Looking back, I’m not sure when I started researching the safest way to drive with your dog, but I’m glad it did. Now that I know the dangers of not properly restraining pets in cars, Berlin (and Bagheera, our cat) get belted up every time we hit the road, even if it’s just a mile away. I mean, statistically most accidents happen close to home! It’s familiar, you’re anxious to get home, it makes sense. Unfortunately, getting rear-ended at even just 30 mph could be fatal for an unrestrained passenger, human or animal. Yikes! So, what can you do?
Good news! There are lots of options and resources out there regarding the safest way to drive with your dog. Do your research though.
Some recommend putting your pet in a crate. Yes, your dog won’t necessarily get free in an accident where the crate is thrown from the vehicle. This would possibly avoid them running off or getting hit by another vehicle. However, in most situations, on a day-to-day basis, the crate is typically left to move around the car/cabin as you’re traveling. Or, if secured, your pet can be flung around inside of the kennel with every tap of the pedals. And think of the results of a collision. No thanks.
Many companies offer a harness that tethers or clips to a zip line or to a seat belt.
Remember, with even just one abrupt stop at 30 mph, your pet can be fatally flung forward into the seat or window.
Ok, so what is the safest way to drive with your dog? Well for me, once I discovered the research conducted by Center for Pet Safety I knew I had found my solution. After watching their crash tests using dog crash test dummies, I purchased a Sleepy Pod dog seat belt harness. Why? Unlike a lot of the other options, there is no tether attached to the harness to hook to the belt strap. Instead, the belt is weaved directly through the harness or pet carrier and then buckled. It is also a matter of quality. Even a small impact creates a lot of power and the craftsmanship of the product your pet is in is important. In other words, you can’t risk the seams breaking.
Think about it .. Would you be safe from hitting the dashboard, window, or seat in front if you were tethered to a seat belt versus being directly buckled in or even worse, free roaming (even inside a kennel)? Why should this be any different for your pets?
Want to learn more? Check out Berlin and I demonstrating our travel routine using our Sleepy Pod: