Having your dog wear a dog seat belt in the vehicle is a great way to keep them from distracting the driver. But you also want them to be safe, right? However, if your dog rides in the cargo area of your hatchback or SUV, you need to know that securing them to cargo rings may not be adequate.
The Center for Pet Safety, a nonprofit research facility for pet products, has recently reported that cargo connections may not have the necessary strength to hold your dog. This means the cargo ring can break if your dog is in a car accident, or even if your dog just pulls on it hard enough. Contact the vehicle manufacturer to find out what amount of force those cargo rings can withstand.
When we rented an SUV one year in order to make our annual trip from Kansas to Texas, we looked diligently for an SUV that had metal connections in the cargo area for Maya and Pierson. We did not find any. As a result, we found a way to connect their dog seat belt harnesses to the safety belt housing of the car located under the seat. However, the Center for Pet Safety advises against this as well.
If you need to have your dog ride in the cargo area, you may need to install a more secure connection in the cargo area. You can also opt to have your dog ride in a crate instead. Just be sure the crate can be secured in place.
We will soon have another option for dogs riding in cargo areas. By the end of September, you will see the VarioCage available on our PetAutoSafety.com retail site. The VarioCage is very expensive but it is also extremely durable. It has been extensively crash tested and even real-life situations have shown that the VarioCage remains intact.
Safety for our pets when we travel is very important and vehicle manufacturers are coming to realize this. More and more car commercials show a dog harnessed in the car. So if you have a vehicle with a cargo area and it doesn’t have cargo rings or just has plastic cargo rings, tell the manufacturer that you want this feature. You may not be able to get it this time around, but they will hear you and hopefully install better connections in future models.