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Buckle up, Fido!

by Nicole Bruder on August 26, 2011

in Dogs, Pets

Dogs riding in cars should be secured in the car for safety. Driving in Houston in the summer months is an adventure to be sure. What with the extreme heat, the stop-and-start traffic, and the sheer magnitude of people who seem to suddenly have forgotten how to drive, most days, just getting behind the wheel is risky. And while these things are in a constant state of change, one thing that never changes is the Houstonian’s deep love for dogs. So it always boggles my mind when I see drivers with their beloved dogs in the car without some form of animal restraint.

In the past two months alone, I’ve counted over twenty dogs riding inappropriately in cars; these dogs might be riding in owners’ laps, hanging out car windows, or standing free in truck beds. We’re all guilty of wanting our dogs close to us, but what would happen to our dogs in the event of an accident?

Let’s face facts: dogs are smaller than humans, and in most instances, weigh less. This means that in a crash, momentum could cause a dog’s body to become a projectile, injuring not only the dog, but also anyone near. Without some kind of formal restraint in the car, most of these dogs will die. Frankly that knowledge terrifies me, and I’m sure it scares many of you. But what can we do to prevent something like this from happening?

The safest things you can do for yourself and your dog is either to harness her into the backseat, or put her into a car kennel that buckles—again, this would go in the backseat (they work great for cats and small pets, too).

Maybe you’d like to have your dog beside you in the car, but consider a car crash: your dog may never have another chance to run at the dog park, to get belly rubs, or to lick your face when you’re sad—or even when you’re happy.

Buckling your dog into the backseat might seem strange, but it’s no less than what we would do for our children. We fasten their seat belts because we want to keep them safe…we don’t let them hang out the window when driving down the freeway, either. Let’s do the same for our pets, and keep them safe, too. Let’s make a commitment: to restrain our dogs when in the car—for their safety and for ours.

(I’d like to thank Investigative Journalist, Stacey Higdon for her assistance with this post.)

Photo credit: Mockstar on Flickr

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

YesBiscuit! August 26, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Welcome Nicole!
Buckling up dogs makes sense. I always wear my seat belt. And yet, I don’t buckle my dogs in the car. I think it’s one of those things, like brushing dogs’ teeth, that I just haven’t really and truly subscribed to. I will say that if it became law, I would do it!

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Ruth August 27, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Well, all that advice is fine and dandy for small to medium sized dogs. Just what exactly do you suggest for a dog over 100, or even over 150, lbs? If I put him in a harness he has to ride on the bench seat so the harness can attach to the seatbelt, which means sitting sideways which means he’s MISERABLE car sick and WILL NOT get into the car. He’s to big to fit into any crate that will fit in my vehicle (and no I don’t have a tiny car, I just don’t have a full size SUV either, and no a new vehicle isn’t an option). The only way to get him to get him to ride in the car with out getting car sick, is to fold down the rear seats so he has the entire hatch to spread out in, so he can face forwards so he doesn’t get sick. And yet not one of the restraint systems works without the seat belts…..

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Nicole Bruder September 21, 2011 at 7:24 pm

8 states require drivers to restrain pets while driving.
California
Connecticut
Massachusetts
Nevada
New Hampshire
Oregon
Rhode Island
Washington

You can be fined anywhere from $50-$2,000 and put in jail for up to 60 days for having a pet unrestrained or restrained in a cruel manner.

For people living in TX, go to http://safety.onlinetexasdefensivedrivingcourse.com/2010/11/helpful-hints-for-car-travel-with-your.html for more car safety tips.
And http://safety.onlinetexasdefensivedrivingcourse.com/2010/11/helpful-hints-for-car-travel-with-your.html for a few more.

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