Maya and Pierson are very special to me. They may not be children, but they are more than just my pets. I don’t just feed them, play with them, and take them to the vet annually or as needed. I also take on other responsible roles such as making sure they eat healthy food, get enough exercise, train them, brush their teeth, clip their toenails, brush out their coat, etc. And I have them wear a dog safety seat belt when they ride in the car.
Some people think this is over-the-top for “just a dog”. But if you’re reading this, then you know that your dog is an integral part of the family. If your four-legged family member doesn’t currently buckle up in the car or isn’t safely restrained in the vehicle in any way, here are some reasons to consider it:
Reduce Driver Distractions
When I brought Maya home for the first time, she didn’t have a dog seatbelt yet. So, on the ride home she kept trying to climb in my lap. It was a big distraction which caused me to run a red light. I got honked at but thankfully did not get into or cause a car accident. But it taught me to always be prepared. Perhaps your dog paces in the car or keeps trying to climb from the back to the front seat or tries to stick his face in your face while you’re driving.
Protect Your Pet
Perhaps your dog rides well in the car and doesn’t distract you in any way. My dog Pierson is like that. He just sits there quietly the whole ride. But what if I have to stop suddenly or swerve out of the way of another car or something in the road? Or worse, what if I get in a car accident? Car accidents or even simple emergency vehicle maneuvers can cause a dog to be ejected from the vehicle or cause serious injury to your dog if they hit the dash or the windshield. A dog isn’t going to understand why your car suddenly went crazy on the road. They are going to be terrified and may try to escape. What then? More often than not, the dog will run as fast as they can to get away from what caused their fear. They could run into traffic or run away and get lost.
I don’t know about you, but if I get in a car accident I prefer not to be struck by a 50+ pound flying projectile (i.e. my dog). I also do not want my dogs to stick their head out the window. Before I realized the danger of this, my dog Sephi did it all the time. But then my vet told me about one of his client’s dog that had to have his eye removed because of flying road debris. When your dog wears a dog safety seat belt, it is more difficult for them to put their head out the window. They can still get the nice breeze, but at least they can’t be hurt from things on the road and they can’t jump or get thrown out of the car.
It’s not yet a law in my state but New Jersey has a law stating that animals inside the vehicle must be restrained. I have no doubt that other states will soon follow. Even states that hesitate to make such a law will have or may already have laws that allow police officers to issue a ticket to anyone who is driving unsafely due to a distraction.
Maya and Pierson do not suffer in the least because they wear a dog seatbelt in the car. They might not be able to move around much or put their heads out the window but trust me when I say they still love to ride. With a little practice and perhaps a little time, your best friend can get used to his safety restraint and love the ride just as much as before.
This post is part of the Pet Blogger Awareness Day for pet travel safety.