Using a Dog Car Harness Can Saves Lives
Through my many years in the pet industry I've learned the majority of pet owners don't use a dog car when they travel with their pets. In fact, they don't even use one on a short trip to the vet's office. It's certainly not due to a lack of love or even responsibility, but rather a lack of education or forethought. Most people claim they've simply never even stopped to consider what might happen to their pets in case of a car accident. Naturally, they are no less prone to getting seriously or even fatally injured in a car crash than we are.
What some people fail to consider is the danger a loose pet in the car poses to humans. In the case of an impact, a dog becomes a loose projectile in the car with the potential to severely injure (or fatally injure) the precious human cargo. No doubt if you have kids, this thought is simply anathema to you... Having a properly restrained vehicle can, no doubt, save you lots of grief and heart ache.
People have reported being in accidents caused by having their pets distract them while driving. We all know dogs who love to sit in their owners laps while they drive, right? Well, this is a recipe for disaster. Pets are unpredictable, allowing them to sit that close to the steering wheel (and the arms of the person controlling the car) is irresponsible.
Others allow their pets to hang their head out the car windows. It's cute, I know... and the dogs love it. But, serious injuries have been reported from this practice. Flying debris can cause eye injury, sudden stops can cause neck and head injuries, and yes dogs can and will jump out of open car windows.
Desirable Features of Dog Seat Belts
Fortunately the number, design, style and price of dog seat belts has exponentially grown in recent years. There's a dog car harness made for every size and breed of dog.
- I mention size first because there's NOTHING more important than making sure your dog seat belt properly fits your pet. You can purchase the best reviewed, best designed and most tested one on the market, but it won't do your dog any good if it's not a proper fit!
- Look for ones with thick, sturdy chest bands. If you choose an elastic band, be aware it may stretch out over time.
- Proper cushioning is also important, not only for safety, but also for comfort. Look for a cushioned, floating chest pad.
- Don't get weight-bearing buckles made out of nylon or delcrin. They can easily break! A buckle should onlt serve to actually attach the harness and ensure a proper fit.
- Make sure the dog car harness is relatively simple to attach. You don't want to run the risk of improper attachment. Similarly, if it's too easy, a dog may be able to finagle his or her way out of it.
- Look for ones that attach to the buckle part of the seatbelt so the dog won't be able to go very far in case of an impact. Some attach high on ceilings, which are good too.
- Finally, swivel hardware is preferable. Dogs can get all caught up in the seat belts, which is not only uncomfortable, but potentially dangerous.
Let's face it, we spend lots of money annually keeping our pets safe, don't we? But, we somehow overlook the importance of keeping our pets safe with a dog car harness. Surveys have shown less than half the population uses a dog seat belt. It's time for a change...