Summer time is upon us and that means road trips! Our pets are family and so they also travel with us. In fact, many of us drive around every day with our pets sitting in the hatch/trunk, back seat, or even our laps. However, an unrestrained dog or cat can become a projectile in an accident, with the potential for death to both the pet and the car’s human occupants.
Without testing methodologies, there is no assurance of effectiveness and it is difficult to know which products are safe. Enter Lindsey Wolko, the founder of Centre for Pet Safety (CPS). In 2011, after her dog had been injured by an ineffective restraint, she set out to develop standards.
CPS adopted similar standards that regulate child-restraint systems. The initial results on existing products were eye-opening. Of the devices it tested, there was a 100% failure rate. CPS lists four problems it found in that initial batch of testing:
Extremely low likelihood of survivability for the animal.
Danger to humans when the pet becomes a missile.
Choking and/or other bodily harm to the pet when harness materials cinch tightly upon impact.
Extensive damage to fixtures within the vehicle caused by the projectile pet.
Due to these standards, manufacturers set out to build safer pet restraint devices. Even now, there are few devices that can pass the CPS criteria and get certification. This link shows which products are certified: https://www.centerforpetsafety.org/cps-certified/
In any case, the most important thing we can do is to prevent distractions. And that means pets SHOULD ALWAYS BE RESTRAINED in a car. The simplest thing we can do is to put a small pet in a carrier/kennel and seatbelt the carrier in the back seat so as to avoid air bag impact. Large dogs should be restrained behind the front seats by way of some form of tethering device into the seatbelt system. This way, your pet is not distracting you while you should be focused on the road and getting to your destination safely.
Stay safe and drive carefully! From your friends at Edgemont Veterinary Clinic.