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Pierson Blue Go-Tech Dog Car Harness

Our Pet Auto Safety pup Pierson demonstrates the Kurgo Go-Tech car harness.

Many pet seat belts are now safety and crash tested. But even if you have one that isn’t, there are still several reasons why wearing a dog safety belt is better than wearing nothing at all.

Distraction – Some dogs, like my Maya, can be a major distraction in the car. If Maya wasn’t wearing her dog safety belt, she’d be jumping back and forth from the front to back seat, putting her nose in my face, and trying to put her head in my lap. Not all dogs are as crazy as my Maya. Some are even well-behaved in the car, like my Pierson. So here are some other reasons why pet seat belts are a good idea.

Keep on the Seat – If you have to make a sudden stop, your dog won’t get thrown onto the floor or into the dash. Getting thrown forward could mean a broken limb or injured nose. In some cases, it could even mean death. This is just for a sudden stop. What about a rear-end collision or a more severe car collision?

Dog Head Out Window Danger

I don’t think the car is moving in this photo. But see that gap under the dog’s neck where the window curves down? If this car was moving and had to stop suddenly, the dog could get his neck caught in that crack and do some serious damage to his throat. It could even kill him, depending on how fast the car was going.

Keep Head Inside the Car – As much as our dog loves to put his head out the window, it isn’t safe. If you have to make a sudden stop, your dog could be choked. Or if you have to make a sharp turn, your dog could get thrown out of the car. Also, flying debris on the road can hit your dog in the eye or in the nose – very painful.

Keep Dog Inside the Car – If your dog sees something that he wants to chase or go after, he might jump out the window. Maybe he won’t do it if the car is not moving (maybe), but what about at a stop light? Remember the movie Marley and Me? It does happen! Also, what about when you pull up to the park? When you open the door, you don’t want your dog to rush out in excitement. If he is buckled up, you can switch from his car harness tether to his leash in moments. Your dog won’t have a chance to rush out and possibly get himself in danger by blindly running into the street or jumping on some unsuspecting passerby.

Car Accident – If your dog is wearing a dog safety belt, he won’t get ejected from the vehicle. Being ejected means he could be more seriously hurt or killed instantly. It also means that if he is able to run away from the scene of the accident, he will most likely try to do so. If your dog isn’t ejected, the terror caused by being in a car collision may make your dog want to escape. If he gets out of the car, he could run into the street and get hit by a car, he could cause another car accident, or he could run off, get lost, and lose out on some necessary medical treatment.

We realize there is a lot of concern about the safety of pet seat belts. There are many manufacturers out there claiming to be the best. They even have safety test results and crash test videos to back it up. But as of yet, there are no established universal pet safety standards. Until then, be assured that most of the brands that have claimed testing have put their heart and souls into their products and truly believe in their safety. Also, consider that something has got to be better than nothing at all. You can also consider the alternative of having your dog ride in a pet travel carrier. Just make sure the crate is secured in the car, i.e. it can’t slide around.

Straps for Pet Carriers

This pet travel carrier is secured in the car with kennel straps.

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7 Responses to “Pet Safety Saturday – What if Your dog is Not Restrained in the Car”

  1. Kimberly Gauthier:

    Our dogs aren’t restrained in the car, but I’m currently awaiting a contraption that prevents them from jumping from the front to back seat, another one that keeps them safely on the seat when I stop suddenly, and another to keep heads in the car (although they don’t usually stick their heads out).

    I want our dogs to be safe and I’m looking forward to seeing what Subaru does going forward to make their cars dog friendly.

  2. MayaAndPierson:

    Fantastic! They sound like some great products. 🙂 Let me know what they are and how the work for you. If I don’t have those products already, I will look into them and add them. I can’t wait to see what Subaru does as well. I’m keeping an eye on them and on the Center for Pet Safety. The type of products you are talking about sound like the Backseat Bridge (which covers the floor and has a short barrier between seats) and the Breeze Guard window screens, both of which I also have in my car.

  3. Jim:

    I love the pet carrier one. That would be pretty safe I think. I always try to be extra careful when transporting our dogs.

  4. MayaAndPierson:

    Great to hear! 🙂 A secured pet travel carrier is definitely a great option. It is not really a feasible option for me, however, because I have a small car and two big dogs.

  5. Jodi:

    I’ve never heard of the breeze guard windows. Have you done a previous post on them?

  6. MayaAndPierson:

    It has been a while since I’ve done a post about them. Here is an older post – http://www.petautosafetyblog.com/pet-auto-travel-safety/524-maya-and-the-breeze-guard-window-barrier/. These screens are one of the other reasons I wanted to repair my wrecked car. The BreezeGuard Window screens are custom made to fit, which means they are not transferrable from vehicle to vehicle. They are absolutely awesome! Sturdy, strong, well-made, made in the USA. I really love them.

  7. snoopy@snoopysdogblog:

    I always wear my seatbelt and I’m never allowed my head out the window, Mum says she wouldn’t let a child do it, so I can’t either!

    What do you think is safer, being in the trunk or where I currently sit? Which is on the floor behind the driver seat (I didn’t like it on the seat), I’m strapped in with my harness and attached to the seatbelt. I used to sit in the trunk but Dad thought it isn’t safe if someone rear ends us.

    Big wags,

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂