According to a survey done by Kurgo and AAA back in 2011, approximately 84% of dog owners don’t buckle up those seat belts on dogs for road trips. Readers Digest advised that about 42% believed there was no reason for it, as they are driving a short distance and their dog was easy-going enough to go without it; however as per Center for Pet Safety (CPS) founder, Lindsey A. Wolko, the long and short of it is that your furry friend Fido does indeed need to be placed in a seat belt when driving in a car – no matter how long they are in the car for.
Why? Well, the biggest reason is around distraction. As per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nine individuals are killed daily, and about 1,000 others are injured, due to driving distractions. While those smartphone devices are the biggest culprits, pets in the vehicle can cause one to lose attention from the road. According to the AAA/Kurgo survey, two-thirds of those who have dogs stated they have been distracted by their cute furry companions in the past.
While distractions are one thing, you also want to keep you pup safe while driving, should a collision arise. Investing in a seatbelt specifically for your dog, which really works as a harness, may be a good idea, as these products clip perfectly into a seat belt. A proper dog harness will allow your pup to sit up or lie down while in the car, simply preventing them from moving side to side.
Another option is containing your furry BFF to a carrier or crate; however, ensure it’s not overly roomy. Measuring your dog from the base of its tail to the tip of its nose, then adding six inches, will ensure the travel crate is the perfect size to keep your doggy safe during a road trip. Also, refrain from placing a chew toy within the travel carrier/crate, as this could be a choking hazard for your pet while on route.
Lastly, just where is the safest place for a dog to be sitting in while on a car trip? According to Wolko, definitely not on a person’s lap or in the front seat; as they should be strapped into their own seat belt, or within their travel carrier, in the back seat.