Us dog parents are sometimes accused of humanizing our fur children a little too much.
Fine, dressing them up in superhero costumes and serving their kibbles on fine china might be going a bit overboard. But there’s one area where treating your pup like a person is completely warranted: Wearing a seatbelt while riding in the car.
Dogs are just as vulnerable to swerves and impact in the event of an accident, and are just as much at risk for injury and even death. Even minor fender benders can have terrible consequences for a pet that’s unrestrained: In a 30 mph crash, an 80-lb. dog could become a two-ton projectile through the windshield. Sadly, first responders are neither equipped nor required to attend to non-human injuries at an accident site, and thousands of dogs die every year in car accidents.
While it’s the law in every state (except New Hampshire) that humans must wear a seatbelt at least in the front seat, most of don’t even think about restraining our dogs in the car. In fact, we often put them, other passengers, other drivers and ourselves in danger when let them roam around moving vehicles. Consider these statistics from the American Automobile Association (AAA.)
- 65 percent of pet owners admit engaging in a distracting activity when their pet is in the car
- More than half (52 percent) of drivers say they pet their dogs while driving
- 17 percent allow their dogs to sit in their laps
These behaviors increase the risk of a crash, and 20 percent of all vehicular accidents are attributed to distracted driving. So, yes, it may be totally adorable to have Mr. Wobbles stand on your lap as he enjoys the wind in his ears through your open window. But it’s far safer for everyone for you to stay focused on the road.
Why Don’t We Use Dog Seat Belts?
According to the same AAA study, over 80 percent of dog owners drive with their pups but don’t use any type of restraint. The reasons?
- Most pet owners don’t believe they’re necessary
- Others have never considered it
- A few believe it’s too complicated and too much trouble.
As stated above, safety restraints are as necessary for our pets as they are for humans in the event of a car accident. And far more people are now considering dog seat belts: Three in 10 pet owners who do use them report that they adopted the practice after hearing a tragic story about an unrestrained dog sustaining injury or injuring someone else while riding in the car.
Easy As Clipping on a Leash
Most of us wouldn’t let our dogs roam down a city street without a leash, but we think nothing of barrelling down the highway at 75 mph with them loose inside the car. It only takes a second to clip a leash on our pet’s collar, and most pet safety restraints don’t take any longer.
Designed to keep your pet safe and secure, dog restraints usually have one end that clips easily into any standard seat belt buckle. The other end attaches to your pets existing harness or collar.
Note: Just as it is recommended to keep children in the backseat because they could be harmed by the airbag system in front should it deployed upon impact, your favorite furry friend should be clipped to the back seat belt for maximum safety in the event of an accident.
If you’re a doggie mom or dad, even if someone pokes fun at you, know that treating your pet like a real kid is completely justified when comes it comes to riding in the car.
And we’re still going to put a cape on Mr. Wobbles anyway.