A growing number of people are taking their pets in their car, whether simply to visit friends or while on vacation. However, letting your dogs roam free in the car during your trip runs the risk of serious injuries to you and the dog.
Just imagine what would happen to your poor pup when your car rolls over. Or what would happen to your neck if a 30-pound dog slammed into the back of your head at 60 miles per hour.
That's why dog car safety devices are becoming a hot item in pet stores. Many people will simply crate their dog and buckle or tie the crate down. This may seem safe, until an accident, when your pet may be injured hitting the sides of the crate. Perhaps that's why dog harnesses are becoming the go-to safety measure for many pet owners.
Checking Harness For Pet Safety
However, before strapping down your dog, it's important to check your harness for a variety of safety features before using it. First of all, check it for a tether that limits the dog's movements to less than six inches.
If this seems harsh or restricting, it's important to remember that any more slack is likely to snap the tether during a crash and put you and your dog at risk for serious injury.
Inspect For Safety Ratings
You also need to look for safety ratings on the side of each box. While a self-rating is better than nothing, try to look for a rating from an accredited safety tester. If you can find no accreditation, it's best to avoid the product. Generally, if a harness doesn't have a rating, that means two things.
One, it failed safety tests and its producer doesn't want to make that fact known. Conversely, the company may not have bothered to perform any kind of safety test. Do you want your dog to be the first test subject for harness safety? Obviously not. Especially if the harness doesn't work like it was promised and breaks during an accident.
Trying It Out On Your Dog
Once you've found a harness that meets those standards, you need to install it in your car and put it on your dog. Once inside, adjust it until your dog fits snugly. They should have no more than six inches of moving room and should look relaxed while in the harness.
Once they are set up, ask yourself, does the dog harness:
- Fit comfortably over their chest?
- Adjust easily for comfort and safety?
- Unlatch easily?
- Withstand the strain of being pulled between your hands?
- Have any online reviews praising its success?
- Avoid biting into your dog's skin?
If your dog harness passes each of these points, it is likely worth using. However, if it doesn't pass your simple tests, take it back to where you bought it, even if you don't get your money back. No amount of money is worth risking the safety of your dog.
Simple Maintenance Techniques
Beyond the myriad of safety tests you need to perform on your dog's safety harness is a series of simple maintenance techniques. Typical maintenance performances include checking its straps for frays and breaks.
If you spot any frays or breaks, no matter how small, you should immediately replace the harness with a new one. Don't just replace the straps: get a new one.
Though this may seem expensive, it is one of the best ways to ensure that your dog stays safe. Sure, a one-thread fray may not snap anytime soon, but it could grow into a serious and safety-threatening fray that could snap at the worst possible time.
Once you've found a harness that passes these tests, try it out with a simple ride around the block. If you pup looks comfortable and relaxed, it may be ready for a longer trip. And it'll definitely be safer than it was before.