One of my “pet” peeves is seeing someone in the car with their precious little dog in one arm or the pet standing on the driver’s lap looking out the window. My first thought, even before “What a cute dog”, is “If she gets in an accident that cute little dog could be killed!” I doubt very seriously the little ones ten pounds and under would survive if the air bag deploys. At best they would be hurt in some way by the airbag hitting them.
So I did some research trying to find out how many animals were injured in accidents because the pet wasn’t restrained. I found some astounding information. It turns out that there are thousands of accidents each year that are caused by unrestrained animals. The exact numbers are not known because these are put in with other internal distractions. In the case of pets, the driver gets distracted because the pet gets sick or the pet gets in the way or something else that takes their attention off the road.
I hadn’t even thought of the pet causing the accident. I had focused on the pet getting injured. But this started me to thinking. Yes, a dangerous occupation for me, I know. Here’s what I came up with.
My little chihuahua, Tréa, is always in her car seat in the front passenger seat. The seat is far enough back that she won’t get hit if the airbag deploys (I hope). Chloe, my rather large miniature poodle, has her own seat in the back. Both girls wear harnesses and are hooked into their seats.
I’ve been using car seats or restraints for my girls for years. Even my big dog, ZZ who is no longer with us, wore a harness and was seat-belted into the back seat.
When I recently had a loaner car and had to travel with the girls to the vet, I made sure they were secure. Tréa was hooked into a travel bag, which was belted into the seat. I put one of Chloe’s beds in the back seat and seat-belted her through her harness. Neither was very happy about it, but I was sure they were safe.
However, getting back to the “me thinking” part. With my new information and the thousands of accidents a year due to unrestrained pets, I’ve decided to do my part to help bring awareness to pet parents about car safety for their four-legged babies.
There are many car seats and harnesses designed specifically for pet safety in the car. I leave that up to you to decide which best fits your budget and car.
However, I do urge you to crate or restrain your pets when you take them in the car. It’s a matter of safety, not only for the pet, but for your peace of mind, as well.
Some states have attempted to pass laws preventing pets from sitting on a driver’s laps, but results have been less than satisfactory.
I have more research to do, but I’ll keep you updated.