On the day of a car accident, nobody expects it to happen. It jumps out at us out of the blue, but we hope we have all necessary precautions in place. We Insure our vehicles in case of an incident. We get into a car equipped with airbags and buckle our seat belts.
We strap our kids into crash-tested and professionally installed car safety seats. Taking precautions and care for ourselves and our loved ones is a given, so then why would we open the door and let Fido jump in and ride loose. What's wrong with this picture?!? The family pet riding loose, running around the front and back seats is a scene so common that it barely registers for us to wonder about their safety.
There are so many things we do to keep our animals safe. We license them with our cities and townships. We tag and microchip to help bring them back home again if they get out. We collar and leash to ensure they don't get hurt when they are out walking with us. We vet and vaccinate them to try to prevent illness. We use heartworm and flea treatments as preventative, provide them with the healthiest diets.... the list goes on and on. Yet so many people give little to no thought to their safety when in a car.
In a car crash, a loose pet will become a dangerous projectile. The impact of a crash will send a loose dog sailing through the vehicle. They could become a real danger to other vehicle occupants as well as a danger to themselves. Even in just a minor accident, loose pets can panic and run. Often, these pets are then killed by other vehicles or lost after fleeing the scene.
Here at McCanns, this topic is near and dear to our hearts. We decided to put together a short video talking about how you can try to keep your pet safe in the event of a collision.
Dog Safe Car Travel Using Crates
The safest way to travel with your pet is using a reliable, impact tested crate that is properly secured to the vehicle.
The nonprofit organization Center for Pet Safety (CPS) has conducted testing on crates advertised as safe during collision. Their findings were alarming at best, with only 1 of 4 passing the initial crash test and not needing a second crash test. Read the results here.
Dog Safe Car Travel Using Harnesses
Other options are Car Safety Harnesses. The CPS did independent crash tests on a number of brands and unfortunately, only 1 passed. CBC did an expose called Pet Safety: Paws for Concern that reveals the crash test results. Visit CPS Approved Harness for the one harness the CPS does endorse and approve. The price point is notably higher than other brands on the market, but a worthwhile investment if you don't have a vehicle capable of carrying a suitable and safe crate.
In the end, there are no laws in place to keep pets safe, so the onus of responsibility falls on the pet owner to be educated and prepared. We wish for safe and friendly travels for all 2 and 4-legged creatures.