After finally getting your pup out to the car, carrying them up to the seat and packing all the other people and things into the car, the last thing you might want to hear is that you should be strapping in your pooch. In the event of a crash, though, your dog is more likely to be harmed or cause others harm by not being secured. An unsecured pet can be thrown around the cabin of a car, cause distractions to the driver by moving around the cabin and might even have an opportunity to jump out of a moving car’s windows.
Pets need to be secured while in a car, both for your safety and theirs, but not all options available on the market provide the safety they advertise. Here are the three major types of pet car safety devices and how they rate for safety according to the Center for Pet Safety, an independent pet safety device tester.
Harnesses are actually the most accessible for most pet parents because many dog owners are familiar with putting harnesses on their pets. It also offers greater freedom of movement, with the harness being attached to a safety belt that clicks into the cars existing system. Pets can still move around and see out the window, but they cannot escape out the window after that juicy squirrel.
The Center for Pet Safety has tested several top of the market safety harnesses for dogs by placing a dummy dog weight in the harness, weighing 75 pounds, and applying pressure until it breaks. If it can hold up under a five second weight test, it moves on to further testing. Of all the harnesses tested, only three meet safety requirements: the Sleepypod Clickit harness and the ZuGoPet harness. Both offer the familiar harness style but with reinforcement in the design to actually stand up to the pressure found in car crashes.
Another option for many pet owners is just using a crate, preferably one that has been strapped in. By using a crate, pet parents know that their pet is secure and comfortable in their own space, with no user error in securing. While crates might protect other passengers from the pet in the cabin during a crash, it can cause harm to your pet if the crate is not made to protect them from being knocked around.
The Center for Pet Safety tested several crates by strapping several different brands into a car by the seatbelt. Crash simulations were made with a dog dummy weighing 75 pounds, and those crates which did not break, crack, or shift too much were considered winners. In this test, only the Gunner Kennel G1 models made the cut.
Soft Sided Carriers:
If harnesses or hard sided restraints are not your thing, then you might prefer to check out the soft-sided carriers. A carrier is something like a soft-sided duffel bag with screen ventilation panels that provide your pet with a secure traveling space. Carriers will have both reinforced handles which fit a safety belt and a strap that you can sling over your shoulder.
After safety testing, the Center for Pet Safety recommends three different types of soft sided carriers, the Gen7Pets Commuter, the Gunner Kennel G1, and Sleepypod Carriers. These carriers showed through testing that they stay in place when secured with a seatbelt, contain pets in a wide variety of crash testing, and keep your pet safe in unexpected circumstances.
While we never want to think of the eventuality that we might be in a crash with our furry loved ones in the backseat, it is a possibility. If we want to protect them, it is important to think ahead. What are your methods for keeping yourself distraction free and your pet safe? Let us know what you have in your backseat in the comments!
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