Below is a great pet travel infographic made by Amber Kingsley. It should be briefly noted that the information on pet crates may be misleading. For one, the best crash tested crates do not always have handles. Nor are they necessary since it would be difficult to lift a heavy-duty crate and a large dog anyway. Also, having your dog ride in a pet crate is better than letting them roam loose in the car, but most crates are not crash tested. In fact, a third party did testing on the typical plastic crates and found they would not hold up in a car accident. So if you’re wanting a crash tested crate, consider the German engineered Variocage pet travel cage. It has been crash tested in multiple crash test scenarios and meets or beats many European standards for safety.
When driving with our dog, usually an image of them with their head out the window, their tongues and ears flapping in the breeze, but this is the most dangerous place for your dog. As any parent of a human child knows, the safest place for smaller riders is in the back seat.
A dog with their head out a window is at risk of falling out of the vehicle, being struck by debris, getting an ear or lung infection, but the biggest threat comes from the car’s airbag. Since they’re designed for full grown adults, not children and canines, a blow from one of these can cause serious injury or even death to a dog.
Here’s ten other tips to remember when we’re riding with our best friend:
#1 – Stopping in The Summer: Beware of black asphalt and sidewalks in the searing summer heat. They can easily burn a dog’s sensitive paws, so “pause” and feel the surface with your bare hand before you let Fido out of the car.
#2 – Bring Water: Always bring water along for the ride, even on short distances. Be sure to watch for signs of dehydration in your pet
#3 – Consider a Crate: An enclosure for your pet is also the safest way for them to travel. Many people don’t realize that flying objects in a car can cause injury or death in the event of an accident.
#4 – Buckle Up: If you don’t want to use a crate, then be sure to buckle up your pet by attaching their harness to seat belt or other device. If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident, an unrestrained animal can escape through a broken window putting them in danger.
#5 – Don’t Leave Them Alone: We all know the dangers of keeping a dog in a car that’s either too hot or too cold, but your precious pooch could also be stolen.
#6 – Plan Ahead: If you’re going on a long journey, check your route for some pet-friendly destinations to stop along the way. And not just dog parks, a growing number of hotels and restaurants allow dogs.
#7 – Keep Them Busy: Bring along some of their favorite toys and treats. Just like children, bored animals can be very distracting when you’re trying to drive.
#8 – Stop Regularly: Just like the driver and other passengers, especially on long journeys, you’ll want to stop, get out and stretch your legs. You dog might want to relieve themselves, and they obviously can’t say, “I have to go to the bathroom.”
#9 – Keep An Eye On Them: While most dogs who are traveling safely either in a crate or buckled up in the back seat, usually they’ll just go to sleep. But keep an eye on them for signs they could be getting restless or car sick and pull over if necessary.
#10 – Start Out Slow: Before you take your dog on a cross country trip or other extended holiday, start off with shorter trips and work your way up to several hours with them in the car. They’ll be less stressed and also less likely to become car sick.
We don’t have to leave our pets at home when we go on road trips or vacations, but we do need to keep them safe. With just a little bit of extra planning and these tips, you and your best friend can have the time of your life on the road.
By: Derek Petersen
It’s that time of year that a lot of people will be traveling to see friends and family. If you’re like me, you take your furry friends on the road with you. Athena (my Siberian Husky) and Boston (my Chocolate Lab) always get so excited when they know it’s time for a ride in the car. Their eyes widen, ears perk up, and their tails start to wag. Little do they know that it’s not for a short trip, but were heading on an 8-hour drive to see the family. I find that waiting until the last minute to say “want to go for a ride,” works in my favor. Little do they know that I’ve been prepping them for this ride the last couple of days.
There are tips on traveling safe with your pet while in the car, but there are variables that you need to think about before putting your pet in the car for a long road trip. Taking these steps to prepare your dog for a long road trip is imperative to their health and wellbeing during your road trip this year.
Here are some easy steps to follow to ensure your dog has a great road trip:
Feed your dog early. Your pet’s travel-feeding schedule should start with a light meal three to four hours prior to departure. It’s important to feed your dog a few hours early to help prevent motion sickness.
Prepare your vehicle for your pet. It’s recommended that you crate your dog for long road trips. If you don’t normally crate your dog, it may be time to rethink that decision. Crating your dog will create less of a distraction while you drive (especially while driving by yourself) which is safer for the both of you. Also, a crate helps to prevent your dog from becoming a projectile if you have to stop urgently, reducing the chance of injury for both of you. A best practice is to exercise your dog before putting them into the crate. A dog that has exercised is more likely to relax in the crate, while dogs who haven’t exercised will have built up anxiety and may not be willing to accept the crate.
Pack a bag with all of your dog’s goodies: dog food, treats, bottled water, dog leashes, waste bags and dog toys (their favorite toy, of course). This pet friendly travel kit should also contain portable dog bowls, dog documents, and a dog first aid kit. Keep the leashes handy, as you will be making frequent stops.
Now that you have prepared your dog and vehicle for the trip ahead, it’s time to plan the stopping spots. If you’re traveling on major freeways or highways, you can count on having rest areas (that almost always have a “pet section”) to stop and let your dog out. There are times you might need to stop and get food, but no matter where you stop, don’t ever leave your dog in the car. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked vehicle can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop. On a cold day, a vehicle can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing your dog to possibly freeze to death.
Now we’ve gone through the steps in preparing your dog(s) for a long road trip, and you should be ready for the road ahead. Always continue to learn the best practices in keeping your family, pets, and yourself safe in your vehicle at all times. Buckle up and enjoy your trip!
In determining the best way to protect your best pal when he rides in the car consider your personal preferences, your dog’s behavior, and the type of vehicle you have (a car or an SUV?)….
Continue reading this article about crash tested pet travel products on PetAutoSafety.
Changes to the Pet Auto Safety retail site are coming soon!
By Dawn Ross
PetAutoSafety.com is making a change. As the owner of this site, I’m still going to be traveling safe with my family. But instead of selling pet travel safety products, I’ll be directing you to the places that do. I am changing the site to provide information rather than products. This way, you can do your research on crash testing and such here before buying from anyone.
By providing information, I can help you make an informed decision regarding what to buy. I’ve been selling and using pet travel products for my dogs since 2006, so I have lots of experience.
If you want the safest product for your pet, I know who the best companies are. If you want a less expensive product but one that still provides a measure of safety, I know where to look. If you have a dog that can’t ride in a crate and won’t wear a harness, I know of some alternative products. And if you need a unique pet travel product, I might have some ideas on where look for it.
It’s not just information on products that I’ll provide, though. I have some great ideas for how to get dogs used to riding in the car. I can help you with a checklist so that you don’t forget any of your pet’s things when you travel. And with the help of some folks who are very familiar with crash testing, I can help you understand crash test studies and crash testing information.
Thank you for supporting me through this change. J
Please feel free to comment below and tell me what you’d like to see on our new site.
Article by Richard Casey with 4×4 North America:
4×4 North America and our partner, MIM Construction AB, appreciate all efforts to raise awareness about traveling safely with pets. We are gravely concerned, however, about the dissemination of incomplete and inaccurate information about travel safety and crash dynamics, as it is counterproductive to traffic safety efforts. How one travels with pets can mean the difference between life and death for people and pets in an accident, so providing accurate information and sound recommendations is of paramount importance.
Automobile safety ratings incorporate testing for frontal impact, rear impact and rollover performance. This is because automobile safety agencies recognize the unique and significant risks posed to passengers in each of these crash scenarios. They also understand automobile safety features, such as cargo areas and crumple zones, and how they must respond to protect passengers during accidents.
MIM Construction AB has been working in automotive crash safety since 1986. Our MIM Safe Variocage – an automobile dog crate – has been stringently tested in accordance with government automotive crash safety standards in front impact, rear impact and rollover. It has been strategically engineered with the safety of everyone in mind – both people and pets. It has a proven track record of safety for over a decade.
Testing dog crates solely for frontal impact, and not incorporating actual vehicle safety features or assessing the impact to human occupants, presents an extremely limited and false representation of real crashworthiness and safety. Proposing that vehicle cargo hooks and cargo straps alone can adequately protect passengers from heavy cargo, such as a dog crate, contradicts safety recommendations made by national automotive safety agencies and automobile manufacturers, putting families and their pets at increased risk of serious injury and loss of life.
We believe that there should be regulations for traveling with pets and standardized testing for assessing the safety of pet travel products. It is critical, however, that these regulations and standards incorporate all aspects of crash testing and work together with vehicle safety features. This is the ONLY way to help people travel safely with their pets.
For further information and/or questions please feel free to contact us:
4×4 North America, Inc.
(Note from the blog owner: 4×4 North America is not a partner of, affiliate for, or parent company of Nature by Dawn, LLC for PetAutoSafety.com and PetAutoSafetyBlog.com. They are our supplier of AllSafe dog car harnesses and Variocage dog crate products and we strongly endorse them. 4×4 North America is the primary US distributor for these products, which are engineered by MIM and KleinnMetall in Germany. These two German companies have over 40 years of combined experience with developing crash tested products for pets. Their experience with pet travel safety is far greater than any independent studies conducted here in the US. While US institutions for pet safety do exist, they are fairly new and are still learning their trade. This is not to say that some aspects of their testing are not valid, but their testing may not be complete. This is an important factor to consider when making a decision on which pet travel safety product to buy for your dog. If you have any questions about the AllSafe and Variocage products and their European crash testing, please contact 4×4 North America as indicated above.)
No, it’s not Wordless Wednesday. It’s Words on Wednesday because I can’t seem to post without saying anything! This time, it is my Maya that has something to say. Check her out in the back seat wearing her Kurgo dog car harness and have a good laugh at what she has to say:
And just so my Pierson isn’t left out, here’s what he has to say about car ride fun:
Funny, right? Seriously though, check out this important safety message:
The Pet Dek is a great pet travel product for giving your dogs a more room in the back seat of your car. It has a number of other wonderful benefits and features. As with every product, though, there are some things you need to consider. Our purpose in sharing both the pros and the cons is to make sure you have enough information to make an informed decision before you purchase one. We wrote a review on the Pet Dek last year, but the product has had improvements made on it since then.
Covering – The Pet Dek is covered with a longer mat, allowing it to wrap around the edges.
No Slope – The back seat of cars slopes downward. The Pet Dek has a rounded projection under it so that it can be completely horizontal with no sloping. This also prevents any rocking should your dog step on the edges.
Holds 200 Pounds
Legs – In my post from last year, I mentioned that I had problems with one of the legs. The manufacturer was made aware of this and the design has been improved. There are no more issues with the legs. By following the installation instructions of this product, the legs will lock in place easily.
Made in USA
Vents Uncovered – The Pet Dek will not cover back seat air vents.
Storage – The Pet Dek easily folds up and fits in the trunk or cargo area. Folded size is 23″ x 24″ x 4″.
Easy to Carry – The Pet Dek weighs 12 pounds. When it is folded, there is a handle that makes it easy to carry.
Easy In/Easy Out – It can take less than a minute to set up the Pet Dek. And less than a minute to take it back out again.
Access to Front Console – If your dog is free to move about in the back seat, the Pet Dek may make it easier for him to step on the center console. This might be a dangerous distraction to the driver. If you are concerned about this issue, there are simple console pet car barriers made out of a canvas material that can block this space.
If Your Back Seat has a Raised Center Console – If you have a raised center console in the back seat like pictured above, the Pet Dek may not work.
If Your Seats Have Side-wells – If your seat has curved edges on the ends (I call them side-wells), there will be a gap between the Pet Dek and the back of the seat. I use pillows to fill the 1 1/2 inch gap (see below). One good thing about this gap, though, is that I have easy access to the seat belt housings, which is I used to buckle my dogs in.
Front Gap – Because the Pet Dek is just one size, there is probably going to be a gap between the edge of the Pet Dek and the front seats. If your dogs are buckled in like mine are, this won’t be an issue. But if your dog is free to move around, you may want to place something like pillows in those gaps so that your dog doesn’t step through.
Size Not Adjustable – As indicated above, the Pet Dek is just one size – 23″ x 40″ x 2″. There should be no problem with this pet travel product fitting into most vehicles, but just be aware that there might be a gap as indicated above.
Not Crash Tested – It is not known how the Pet Dek will hold up in a rollover, side impact, or front or back impact car accident. As of the date of this post, I am not aware of whether any products similar to the Pet Dek have been crash tested.
If you’re like me, you are looking at the Pet Dek because you want to make your big dog (or dogs) more comfortable in the back seat. Considering how narrow the back seat of most cars are, I find that the pros of the Pet Dek far outweigh the cons. My dogs Maya and Pierson can still wear their dog car harnesses. And depending on which car harness brand I have them wear, they can still stretch out their legs and be more comfortable on those long road trips. There is no more sliding off the seat when I have to stop suddenly and they don’t have to hug the back seat because of the seat slope.
If you have any questions about the Pet Dek pet travel product, please comment below or email us at email@example.com. If you already have the Pet Dek and want to share your experience, please feel free.
Welcome back to the Pros and Cons Series. Today, I will share the benefits and drawbacks of the German Engineered AllSafe dog car harness. Although I try to be objective, I must admit I am a little biased with this product. I was using the ClickIt Utility on my Labrador Maya for some time, but I loved the AllSafe so much that I immediately switched when I saw it. Let me tell you all about it:
Crash Tested – The AllSafe dog car harness has had a perfect safety record in Europe for over 15 years. If you are familiar with the new safety standard set up in the USA from the Center for Pet Safety (CPS), then you may know that the ClickIts rate #1 and that the AllSafe and Ruff Rider Roadie are a close second. It should be noted that CPS uses some different standards than Europe and there really is no way to know whose safety standards are better.
Comfortable to Wear – CPS Claims the AllSafe allows more motion in a crash as compared to the ClickIt. To them, this means it is not as safe as it could be. But is it realistic to expect a dog to be comfortable in a harness that is so restrictive? The ClickIt is so restrictive that people may be tempted to use it improperly in order to alleviate the tension. In my opinion, my Maya appears much more comfortable wearing the AllSafe. If I have Maya wear the ClickIt, it is for short trips only.
High Quality Construction – When I first saw the quality of the AllSafe, I was astounded. This brand is priced higher than most for various reasons and quality is definitely a contributing factor. The straps are thick and durable. The hardware is metal. And sewed construction is top-notch.
V-Neck to Prevent Choking – I like how the harness crosses the front of the chest. In a sudden stop, pressure is put on Maya’s lower chest and none is put on her neck.
Also Use as Walking Harness – This is one of the easiest harnesses to use as a walking harness. Simply clip on your dog’s leash and unclick the tether that is connected in the car.
Somewhat Restrictive – Although the AllSafe is not as restrictive as the ClickIt, it is still more restrictive than other brands. This is a safety feature, but you really have to assess what your dog will tolerate. If your dog is not used to dog car harness, you will have to take time to help him get used to it first. Otherwise, he might try to chew it off or he might wiggle out of it. There is no such thing as a safe, escape-proof dog seat belt.
Not Designed for Use in Cargo Area – Some dog seat belts allow for use in the cargo area, but the AllSafe has not been designed for this. You may be able to find a way to use it in the cargo area, but know it is not what the manufacturer intended.
Limited Sizes – There is no extra-small size. There is an extra-large size, but note that extra-large dog can’t have a girth greater than 42.8 inches.
Expensive – This brand is more expensive than most other brands in the USA. Safety and quality are the two primary reasons for this. Another reason is because it is manufactured in Germany and not in China. Most brands, including the ClickIt, are made in China. (Incidentally, the Ruff Rider Roadie is made in the USA.)
How to Put It On – Whether this is a pro or con is difficult for me to gauge. I’ve been using dog seat belts for years, so it is easy for me to figure out any brand, including the AllSafe. But it may not be as easy to put on as other brands. You have to put your dog’s feet through, so if your dog is reluctant to allow you to do this it can be a challenge. It may take time working with your dog for him to get used to it. Besides putting it on, this is what else you have to do in the car to secure the harness. These red clips come with the AllSafe.
So there you have it. These are the pros and cons I could think of for the AllSafe dog seat belt. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us through any of our contact methods listed on our About Us page. Our #DogTravelAdvisor is happy to help. 🙂
Welcome to the pros and cons series from #DogTravelAdvisor. Each post in the series will highlight a specific pet travel product and tell you more beyond what the manufacturer wants you to know. This post is about the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat. Learn the pros and cons of this product, which we have discovered through personal experience and from the experience of other people who have purchased it. By sharing both the positives and the drawbacks of this pet travel product, we hope you are able to make an informed decision in deciding whether it is right for you and your dog.
Keeps Dogs in Seat
Before giving you the cons, we will share the benefits that the manufacturer touts and which we agree with. The first benefit is a safety benefit. Have you ever had to stop suddenly only to have your dog lose his balance and slip to the floor? The bigger a dog is, the more likely this is to happen. The Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat keeps this from happening. Some dog seat belts are deemed not as safe by the Center for Pet Safety because even though a dog is wearing one, he launches off the seat in a crash simulation. This flat seat prevents that, thereby increasing the safety of the harness.
Gives More Room
I personally have two big dogs, Maya and Pierson. When they ride in the car on long road trips, trying to stay in the narrow seat for several hours can be very uncomfortable. The flat seat gives them more room to stretch out.
With that being said, the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat is sturdy enough to hold my two big dogs. In fact, the manufacturer claims it can hold up to 200 pounds.
Easy to Assemble
The flat seat consists of two big pieces, a few nuts and bolts, and two straps to hang from the headrest. The nuts and bolts are big enough to put together by hand, so no tools are needed. Simply put the two pieces together, bring the front seats forward a bit, place the flat seat in the car, bring the seats back, then use the straps to secure the flat seat to the front seat head rests.
Thin and Flat
This seat extender is different from two other seat extenders we carry in that it is thin and almost completely flat. The Pet Deck is thicker and this can cause gaps in some places. The BackSeat Bridge is just as thin, but it doesn’t go all the way to the way front to back. This means there is a ridge, or lip, that can make it uncomfortable for big dogs to stretch out.
Dogs are not the only thing that can benefit from this flat seat. You can stack your groceries on it, luggage, or anything else that you need to put in the back seat of your car.
Two big sheets are what cover the seat and the floor. Since these sheets are strong enough to hold two dogs, they also have a little weight to them. But you don’t have to be a weightlifter to lift them. As a woman who can’t do a single push-up, I have no problem taking the seat in and out of my car. But it might be an issue for some.
Won’t Work in Some Cars
Although the flat seat can fit most cars, there are exceptions. Consider the side wells of the seats. If they stick out too much or won’t allow the square corners of the seat to go between them, then the flat seat may not fit properly. Also, consider if there is a raised center console in the back seat. And finally, consider whether you want the square corner of the flat seat to go between the leather seats.
Despite the flatness of this product, there are still gaps. There is a square cutout so that the flat seat can still be installed if the front center console sticks out in the back (notice it to the right of Pierson in the very top image). Because this square cutout is one size, there can be a gap for dog paws to step through. If your dog is not harnessed and if he likes to step on the center console, this gap can be a problem. There can also be gaps on either side of the flat seat, depending on the size of your car. Most seat extenders will have gaps, but measure your car and compare it to the flat seat dimensions to see if the gaps will be a problem for you and your dog.
Not Crash Tested
This product is not crash tested. It is quite possible that it will break in a car accident.
The flat seat is adjustable from front to back, but only in three stages. It is not adjustable from side to side. Measure and compare to make sure it will fit in your car.
For me, the pros of the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat outweigh the cons. I don’t have leather seats and it fits my Ford Contour and Toyota Camry just fine. The gaps are minimal, except by the front console. But since my dogs wear seat belts, it is not a problem. Even though they wear seat belts, they still need room to stretch out on those long road trips. Whether the benefits outweigh the drawbacks for you depends on your vehicle, your dog or dogs, and your situation. If you have any questions about the flat seat, ask our #DogTravelAdvisor by contacting us through our About Us page link on the right or by commenting below.