January 30, 2010

Dogs and cars... travel safely

I was reading about unrestrained dogs in cars today - and how they are a safety issue.

Your pet dog could literally become a dangerous missile in a car crash if it’s left unrestrained.
Police and the SPCA are urging people to restrain animals in cars while driving to prevent harm to both passengers and pets.
Serious crash unit sergeant Paul Latham says unrestrained animals become "projectiles" in crashes, whether they’re in the front seat or back.
"If your pet’s on your lap you are more likely to do more damage to the animal as it will hit the windscreen," he says.
"If it’s unrestrained in the back it becomes a real hazard to the driver. "If the pet’s an alsatian or a labrador, that’s a lot of weight coming from the back and if you’re travelling at 50kmh that weight’s going to be heading towards you at that speed."
One of the things I like about my wagon is the fact I can tie Saff and Jess into the boot area when we are driving. It never used to worry me having a dog loose in the car, until the day I was cruising along in my mini, top speed 80k, large black lab sitting behind me and the backpack from my passenger next to her... all good until the backpack fell over. Next thing I have paws flung around my neck and I am trying to drive with her climbing over my head. Not a good plan and I am pleased it didn't result in an accident.

As vets, we often hear tales of accidents caused by cats trapped under brake pedals, and small dogs thrown through windscreens...  and recently, the tailgating at the lights which triggered the airbags and made a sorry mess of the Bichon Frise sitting on it's owners lap! The driver survived!

One of my students told me that they carefully clipped their dog to their ute in the legal manner, but this time, they had a second dog along. All went well until the dogs got tangled and the carabina became unclipped, resulting in their own dog flying off the ute into oncoming traffic where she was killed. So often we see dogs being hung off the sides of trucks, or dragged along, degloving their limbs and facing long and expensive treatment or euthanasia. We see plenty who lose a limb, and many who don't survive.

So, there are a number of ways you can restrain your dogs while driving, and they are not all about cages and grilles for station wagons or trailers or dog boxes hanging above the back bumper! Your dog can travel in style and comfort :)


“In an interesting turn of events, cars are now chasing dogs,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda. “Factory integration of a cushioned pet bed, restraint systems and other components is intended to transform the Element into the ultimate dog car.” You can read more at:
Honda - dog friendly cars

The Dog Friendly™ components will likely include:
* a cushioned pet bed in the cargo area with an elevated platform;
* second row and cargo area pet restraint systems;
* an extendable cargo area load-in ramp;
* a 12V DC rear ventilation fan;
* second-row seat covers with a dog pattern design (matches the bed fabric);
* all-season rubber floor mats with a toy bone pattern;
* a spill-resistant water bowl; and
* Dog Friendly exterior emblems.

The future of dog travel looks bright :)


  1. You can bet the dog car will become a Honda if they ever put it on the market and sell it in Europe!

  2. Great post, I lasso the fart factory onto my door handle, he can still move and have his face out of the window, but doesn't go far in emergency braking. Pity his bum couldnt be the thing out the window....

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  4. I love the photo of this puppy, is so nice to hug and kiss cause everything!


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