dog in car with harness

Arrive Alive: The Need for a Dog Car Seat

Everyone has an opinion regarding the pickup truck driver with no cage for a dog in the truck bed. Everyone has seen the animal tossed about and thrown when the driver slams on the brakes. Similarly, some car drivers allow a dog to jump between seats, hang out the window and snooze in the back seat. Even more dangerous is the driver holding a dog in his lap while steering. Distracted driving means more than texting, dashboard drumming, or ogling the ladies while driving. Animals are a top distraction to drivers. What this means for the animals in an accident doesn’t bear thinking. Just as parents strap their children into protective car seats, animals deserve the same protection. A dog car seat is the answer.

In the News

Many states have passed laws requiring restraints for pets in cars. Some states, and even Canada’s law enforcement officials, ticket drivers for disorderly conduct and distracted driving. These tickets could cost pet owners between $250 to a grand. Then there are law enforcement officers like T. J. Poe of the Newport News police department, who kept watch over Freedom the dog while his owner was being cared for by EMTs at the scene of an accident. It’s a toss up for drivers which kind of police officer they draw in the car accident lottery, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Consequences for Loose Animals in a Car

When a dog or a cat plops itself on the center console in order to be near Mom or Dad, it crowds the driver. Steering becomes difficult if not impossible. The dog barking out the window or feeling the breeze in its fur runs the risk of falling out the window at sudden stops. The driver throwing a hand toward the animal to stop its premature exit is only half involved in control of the vehicle. A dog in the back of the car, upon sudden stops, becomes a projectile. A fifty pound animal travels at an astonishing rate of speed when shot from its resting place into the front seat upon sudden stops. This affects not only the driver and the animal, but also other cars on the road. Animals falling into the floor or between the front seats of a vehicle can break legs, backs, and heads in addition to internal injuries from the fall. Collision with the driver can result in impact causing unconsciousness.

What is a Pet Car Seat?

Pet car seats are softly padded boxes of varying sizes depending on the size of the animal. They are made to hook over the headrest of the front seat or be belted to the seat in the back of the vehicle. They are often of a height of the animal to see out the window. They are equipped with a harness to hold the pet in the box. Beware, though, of positioning the car seat in the front – deployment of the air bags could injure or kill a pet. Also available for large dog owners are harnesses that attach to the seat belts. They are then hooked into the dog's harness or collar, giving them room to stretch out on the seat. Carriers and crates are of the same general idea, and they are attached to the seats the same way. They tend to be made of more inflexible materials, but still look stylish.

From Fido’s Point of View

If your vehicle has fabric or leather seats, each pose problems for Fido and Fluffy. Their nails will dig in so they can get a grip during a sharp turn or a sudden stop. This can damage not only your upholstery but their nails as well. Tensing their muscles during these adventures causes internal problems as well. Did you know that your pets have anxiety issues, too? Fido and Fluffy may love you enough to tag along wherever you go, but they suffer untold agonies at being in something bigger than they are that tosses them around. A pet car seat knocks out all these disadvantages. Animals enjoy a ride with Mom and Dad in safety as well as mental and emotional ease.

As long as drivers are installing car seats for the kiddies, why not install one for your fur babies? Many people consider their pets to be family members. Why wouldn’t you protect them as you would your children and yourself?

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