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May 25, 2013
Dogs Pet Safety Belts

My dogs Maya and Pierson in the back seat of my car wearing their pet safety belts for both my safety and theirs.

My dog Pierson is great in the car. He sits so quietly in the back seat that I could almost forget he is there. If he were your dog, you might think, “Well, he doesn’t need a seat belt then.” But I think he still does. He may not be a distraction, but his safety is important to me. There is another reason to consider restraining your dog in the car. The following are three major points I’d like to make about pet safety belts:

REDUCES DRIVER DISTRACTION
Not all dogs behave in the car like my Pierson does. My Labrador Maya is crazy in the car. I do mean CRAZY! She loves it so much that she can hardly control herself. If she wasn’t wearing a dog seat belt, she’d be all over the place. Dogs like my Maya really can be a dangerous distraction and they really can cause car accidents. Don’t believe me? Here are some Real Life Examples.

Also, a study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham who studied drivers 70 and over found that those driving with their dogs were 50% more likely to get into a car accident. That article can be read on SpotNews in Alabama. I bet it is true for other age groups as well.

HELPS PROTECT YOUR DOG
If you consider a safety tested dog seat belt brand, your dog could be better off with their restraint than they would be without. Pet safety belts may prevent your dog from being thrown about the car, into other passengers, onto the floor, or through the windshield. A dog wearing a restraint won’t be able to run from the scene. And it will be easier for medical personnel to help a restrained pet.

THE LAW
New Jersey has made it the law that pets be restrained in the car. I was recently asked about this dog seat belt law in New Jersey. The question was whether a dog had to wear a seat belt or if a pet travel crate was okay for dogs riding in the car. Here is a quote directly from the New Jersey State Legislature regarding the law – “The driver of a passenger automobile shall secure or cause to be secured in an appropriately sized, properly adjusted, and fastened seat belt restraint system, any non-crated domestic dog or cat that is being transported in the vehicle.”

Trying to interpret laws can sometimes be difficult, but the wording ‘any non-crated domestic dog or cat’ tells me that if your pet is crated in the car, the law doesn’t apply. But if the pet is not crated, he must wear a dog seat belt.

It may not be law in your state yet, but you can be ticketed for unsafe driving in any state. So if your dog is acting crazy in the car or if your driving seems to be affected by the fact that you have a dog in your lap, you could be fined.

If your dog won’t wear a dog seat belt, then consider securing them in a pet travel crate. Or try some of our training tips to get your dog used to wearing the car restraint. Our training tips can be found on an article we wrote – Getting Your Dog Used to a Dog Car Harness.

I know our dogs love to stick their heads out the car window and they may even seem depressed when they suddenly find themselves confined in a dog seat belt. But it is important that we do what is best for them, and for ourselves. Protect your best friend, just as you do for yourself and your children.

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