Pet Safety Belts, Are They For You or Your Dog? The Answers May Surprise You!
This Harness Provides too Much Space and Could Hurt Your Dog. Thanks Max and Zoey.com for the Photo
I recently, well a few months ago, wrote an article about driving down the road with my windshield wipers on and it was a sunny day. Here is that article for reference if anyone wants it click here.
My puppy, 8 months old at the time had accidentally hit the windshield wipers on my car and turned them on.
I popped a few treats on the dash and kept the wipers on as I drove down the street.
Sometimes you don’t realize how things sound until someone points things out to you. I can only imagine how unsafe this sounds now 😉
I have gotten quite a few complaints over safety issues!
But… I have a tiny two seater car that doesn’t have a back seat and the dash comes out far enough that it is easily reached and hard to avoid; plus he is a bigger dog.
Honestly, I am not going to buy a different car just so my dog can be crated in the back or belted in the back seat. It probably won’t be safe for either of us if I get into an accident which I certainly try to avoid.
But I do use a seat belt…
And, that got me to thinking…
Seat belts save human lives; do they save dog lives?
After all, seat belts were made with humans in mind and dogs and their proportions are so varying and different and they are not built at all like us.
So I did a little research…
Would It Surprise You to Know These Restraints DON’T Make Your Dog Safer?
Of late New Jersey proposed a new law that would force dog owners to restrain their dogs with seat belts or doggy car safety restraints in the car while they were driving (if they were not crated). To read more about the proposed law click here
They essentially ran these harnesses through the same basic test that test child seats, using a 55# crash test dog going 30 miles an hour.
Out of 4 harnesses, NOT ONE PASSED.
The Truth Is…
- Accidents are dangerous and pose an even greater risk to your dog (or other pet).
- Being in a crate that is safely tied down is probably the best bet in an accident, but this is certainly still dangerous for you and your dog!
- While pet seat belts don’t provide the kind of safety we would like for our pets in an accident; they do keep the driver of the vehicle less distracted and therefore more safe.
How many times have you seen a dog’s head sticking out of the driver’s side window as they are driving, or seen a small dog on the driver’s lap?
I can’t imagine how things would have gone if the wipers had accidentally gotten knocked and my dog was scared but sitting in my lap??
This is dangerous and can cause accidents.
Seat belts allow the driver to drive and keeps the dog in one spot which makes the drive safer; I believe this is what law makers wanted when proposing the new, New Jersey Law.
So as with anything else…
If your dog doesn’t have nearly perfect obedience in the car, he should be riding restrained either in a crate or with a seat belt to help YOU drive safer. I personally work with all of my dogs to listen to obedience commands in the car and lay down on command etc. so I can see where I need to see and drive safe.
Unfortunately pet safety restraints don’t do the job of keeping your dog safer if you happen to get into an accident, hopefully manufacturers will take notice and begin strict testing!
What do you think? Do you use pet safety devices and do you think this should become a new law?
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.