I love spring in Texas. It’s a great time of year for a dog to ride around in the car. There’s nothing like having the windows down, sniffing all the different scents, looking at everything and the ears flapping in the wind. Dog bliss! But is this the safest way for your pet to travel?
Whether the dog is in the back seat by one open window, roaming back and forth between two open windows or standing on the driver’s lap taking everything in at the driver’s window, none of these are safe for your pet or you. Most adults would be horrified to see an infant being held by a parent in a moving car, why not a dog?
So what’s a pet owner to do? Buckle them up or crate them while in the car. The Dallas Morning News profiled a 2011 study conducted by AAA and Kurgo, a maker of pet travel accessories (www.kurgostore.com). The results of the study are pretty interesting.
- 52% petted their dog while driving
- 23% used their hands or arms to hold their dog in place when braking
- 19% used their hands or arms to keep their dog from climbing into the front seats
- 83% believed it could be dangerous to drive with their dog unrestrained
- Only 16% used pet restraints in their vehicles
Based on the study’s results, there are two issues at stake:
- Driver safety
- Pet safety
Driver safety can be compromised in two key ways:
- Driving distracted by the pet’s behavior or excitement at going for a ride
- Hampered ability to drive in an emergency situation while attempting to safeguard a pet
Pet safety can also be compromised when riding unrestrained. In an accident or in a hard braking situation, Fido could become a flying object in the car being hurt in the process or hurting you.
Two states decided to do something about this and passed legislation requiring pet owners to restrain their dogs while in the car.
- Hawaii does not allow pets to ride unrestrained in the laps of their drivers.
- Oregon and Rhode Island are reviewing similar requirements
- New Jersey requires dogs to be retrained on a leash or some other way (harness) inside cars
Texas has no such law and the possibility of one passing is remote. But why wait for our legislators to make us restrain our pets when doing so is safer for our pets, us, and those driving alongside us? What do you think? Share your comments in the comments section of our blog or on our Facebook and Google+ pages. I’d love to hear from you!