You’ve probably heard the rhyme telling you to buckle up for safety, but have you thought about buckling your dog? Dog seat belts are a newer concept, but safety experts and vets agree that dogs need to be secure in a vehicle too. Seat belts for dogs come in a variety of styles to fit you and your pup’s riding preference. When you secure your pup, these restraints can benefit everyone on the road.
WHY BUCKLE UP PUP?
Car and Driver online recently shared a study where testers observed drivers with unrestrained dogs in their vehicle to note any effects on driving behavior. This study by Volvo proved that roaming pets caused significant distractions for those behind the wheel, with measurable stress levels and unsafe driving behaviors doubled from the norm.
Emergency veterinarian Dr. Elisa Mazzaferro affirmed the results saying unrestrained dogs pose a “serious risk for both drivers and their pets both in terms of causing distractions and increasing the chances of serious injury in the event of an accident.”
An article listing the best dog gear for travel on Forbes.com also mentioned concerns about unrestrained dogs riding in vehicles. “Most people still don’t think about what would happen if you got in an accident with your dog loose, especially at high speeds,” author Larry Olmsted shared.
Experts and researchers agree, finding the right safety belt for your dog is something to think about.
TYPES OF DOGGY SEAT BELTS
Your dog’s size and temperament, as well as how you plan to restrain your pup, will affect which doggy seat belt to choose. Here are the main types of restraints:
Harnesses: A doggy seat restraint harness is a vest used to secure your dog. It attaches to a seat with clips or straps. Some consider this the safest option because it eliminates the risk of choking and can work to lessen the force of an impact. Dr. Michael Lund of the ASPCA shared with PetMD.com that these restraints work best for larger dogs.
Dog Car Seats: Restraining car seats mimic a bed and also contain a harness portion. Like a child’s car seat, the beds are held in place by the vehicle’s own seat belt. These safety seats work best for small to medium dogs, Lund believes.
Seat Belt Attachments/Adapters: These are the simplest click and go form of restraints with a leash-like attachment or tether that you can clip into a harness for the best results. The attachment usually snaps into the seat belt buckle in your vehicle to secure your pup. Some describe these as giving more freedom while still keeping your pup in check. There are many that simply attach to a dog’s collar, however, if you’re looking for the safest option, some type of harness connection is best.
MORE ON SAFETY
Just like a kid, the best place for Fido is the backseat. But what if your car is filled with four-legged travelers? You can still secure a dog in a cargo area using a crate or mesh pet barrier, but keep in mind that in the event of a crash, your pup can still move freely and get injured.
The Center for Pet Safety is a great place to check before you buy. They test products and certify only those that meet their standard. You can find lists of approved harnesses and crates on their website.
Most major pet retailers carry dog seat belts. If you’re unsure where to start and what type to use for your fur bestie, talk to your vet. The key is to start thinking safety before it’s too late.
Secure that pup on the way to A Ruff Day Bark Club, then relax with us to let them run out that energy! Join our Bark Club for members-only play areas and amenities as well as special events for you and your furry best friend. Check out our membership page for more details. We’re wagging our tails waiting for you!