3 Tested Products to Keep Your Dog Safe in the Car
My dogs go many places with me, including work, and ride in my pick-up truck.
They ride in the back passenger section; never in the front seat or bed of the truck. Keeping them safe has always been a concern of mine, and I’ve tried a number of different techniques, from travel crates to harnesses with hook ups that utilize the seat belts. However, in the last several years there have been several accidents affecting people and dogs in the performance sport world that have caused me to take another look at how my dogs travel. In each situation, the dogs were in a car when an accident occurred and the dogs were either killed in the car from the crash, or were ejected from the car and killed, or ejected and the dogs ran away.
All three of these were enough to give me nightmares so I took another look at ways I could keep my dogs safe in my vehicle. The first thing I discovered is there is little agreement about anything except that pets should never ride loose in the vehicle. Even though dogs love it and many dog owners do too, a loose dog can distract the driver and, in the case of a crash, the dog will become a dangerous flying projectile.
When addressing how a dog should be restrained in a vehicle, some people (and safety tests) advocate for crates, others for harnesses. Some feel the installed pet barriers work well, others disagree. So I took a look at some safety tests performed by the Center for Pet Safety in conjunction with Subaru, and then I did some research of my own. The Center for Pet Safety (CPS) is a non-profit research organization that is presently focusing on pet travel safety. Using federal motor vehicle safety standards, CPS has conducted crash tests on many available pet products. No animals are used during their testing; instead they have specially designed and amazingly realistic crash dummy dogs (they even have them in different coat colors and sizes).
Whole Dog Journal has done a couple of articles recently on car safety restraints for dogs. The part that is disappointing is just how expensive a safe and reliable restraint is. It's too bad that the price for safety is so high. I understand that "you get what you pay for" and presumably, the $100 harness did so well in tests because of top of the line materials and construction... but $100 x 2 dogs = Ouch!
Mom to Miss Jelly Bean "Beanie" Licorice Pug
Forever in our hearts: Miss Nilla Sassafras Pug August 17, 2002 to April 19, 2018
And my Heart-Dog... Wonka the Dancing Pug, CGC, W-FD, W-TFD.
Februrary 11, 2005 to May 10, 2020. Miss you, sweet boy!
I would love proper, sturdy crates for my two. But, those gunner crates (aside from being painfully expensive, as Amy pointed out!) are also too big to fit in my tiny car. I have tiny dogs, so that's typically not a problem. Their current crates fit just fine.
It is good to see more and more studies being done on this, mind you!