January 3, 2019 at 8:36 pm #56121
Today Is National Pet Travel Safety Day – Keep Your Furry Friends Safe On The Road With These Tips
Today is National Pet Safety Awareness Day, and since pets of all kinds travel on a daily basis in our nation’s cars and trucks, this column is devoted to their welfare. Below are some facts you may not have considered when either going to the store with your dog, or long distance. (We’ll leave cats, marmots, badgers, snakes and parrots out of this – but if you travel regularly with such animals, please feel free to leave your safety tips in the comment section.)
Fido as missile If a car crashes at a speed of just 25mph, an unrestrained dog can be projected forward at a force equal to 40 times its weight. A large dog weighing 75 lbs. can achieve an impact force of 3,000 pounds in a car crash. If your mastiff or St. Bernard has ever jumped on you, you know that sort of force. At speed, it’s deadly for both of you.
A little dog on your lap spells trouble in even minor crashes Unrestrained smaller pets riding at speeds of just 30 miles per hour exert about 300 pounds of pressure in a crash, according to Jennifer Huebner-Davidson, traffic safety programs manager for AAA. Your lap dog can also be crushed by getting between the airbag in your steering wheel and your body, and airbags can go off in parking lot fender-benders as well as crashes at speed. Small pets can also easily be thrown out of windows, or through windshields.
Driving while distracted isn’t limited to your cell phone. Here’s another good reason to harness your pet – you won’t be tempted to look away from the road to make sure he/she isn’t getting into the groceries, chewing something or just getting up to mischief.
Riding in a pickup bed is a no-no A dog in the back of your truck is an all-American tradition, but it’s pretty much the safest way to guarantee an injury or tragedy in a crash. Pet safety experts recommend crating your dog to transport the animal in the pickup bed, but the likelihood of people doing that, especially on short trips, is practically nil, so at the very least, tether the pooch so they can’t jump out, but make sure the length is relatively short so they can’t tangle the leash around their necks.
Don’t buckle the animal’s crate with the seat belts While it may seem a no-brainer to secure your dog’s crate while in the car with a seat belt, don’t do it unless your crate is specifically designed to withstand damage to its structure – the carrier can actually be crushed in the event of an accident. Place the crate behind one of the seats on the floor, or on the seat itself.
Not All Harnesses Are Created Equal A study by the Center for Pet Safety (CPS) and Subaru found serious flaws with many popular car pet restraints. Of all the restraints tested, only one provided adequate protection to the dog and the passengers of the vehicle, that being the Sleepypod Clickit Utility.
Other automakers have products available for in-car pet safety as well. The 2019 Jeep Cherokee offers a Cargo Management System that includes a “crate” for Fido, shown:
Jaguar makes a variety of doggie-friendly equipment specifically designed for their E-, F-, and I-Pace crossovers and the XF Sportbrake wagon. The options include a spill-resistant water bowl, a foldable carrier, and a rear-access ramp that can help ease access for mutts that weigh up to 187 pounds. There’s also a quilted luggage compartment liner and a portable shower available.
Land Rover recently launched a range of pet packs to pamper dogs and leave them in the lap of luxury; their Pet Packs include accessories such as a spill-resistant water bowl, access ramp, foldable pet carrier, tailored quilted load space liner and portable rinse system. A “Pet Transportation Pack” includes a foldable pet carrier, spill-resistant water bowl and load space rubber mat. A “Pet Care and Access Pack” includes a full-height luggage partition, quilted load space liner, pet access ramp and portable rinse system.
As with any safety system in place in your life, the issue of keeping your pet protected in your car involves research, word-of-mouth and being proactive – before any incident happens.
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