Pet Safety: Dogs Riding in the Back Seat

17225330_mJust like your child, your dog should always ride in the back seat. It is the safest place in the vehicle for your dog, and it can help prevent an accident. When dogs ride in the front seat they can cause distractions, especially if they are prone to jump in your lap or into the floorboard by your feet while you drive. A dog riding in the front seat can be killed if the airbag deploys. Ideally, your dog should be wearing a safety harness, strapped in, in the back seat.

Dangers to Unrestrained Dogs

  • In an accident, your dog is at the same risk for injury, from striking the inside of the vehicle, as an unrestrained child.
  • Your dog can be thrown from the car and injured or killed.
  • If your dog is thrown or runs from the car, he may be hit by another car.
  • Your dog can escape and get lost. If you are injured or unconscious, there may not be anyone to look for your dog, and if strangers on the scene try to catch your dog he may be too frightened and run from them.
  • If your dog is injured and gets lost he could die from injuries that would have been survivable if treated quickly.
  • If your dog is loose he may interfere with EMT’s or police officers in an attempt to protect you.
  • If your dog interferes with EMT’s or acts threatening and law enforcement is present, which is often the case at accident scenes, your dog may be shot and killed on the spot.

Safety Harness or Crate

A safety harness offers more protection than a crate. There are no safety standards for dog safety harnesses, and no testing is required. Many harness makers claim that their products have been tested, but testing by the Center for Pet Safety found that most do not provide adequate protection. When choosing a safety harness, do your research and verify the testing. Also, the harness straps should be wide and thickly padded, and the tether strap should be short.

Some dogs simply will not tolerate a harness and must ride in a crate. Choose the sturdiest crate you can find, and strap it down. The seatbelt alone is not sufficient. It should be strapped in with wide, heavy duty luggage straps or ratchet straps.

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