Do you wear a seatbelt? I’m sure you do for a few reasons, right? First of all it’s a law, written to protect people from flying around in the event of an accident. Secondly, we wear seatbelts because we are having more fun being alive then dead, right? Having a seatbelt on when you are going somewhere does not diminish your enthusiasm about going in the car, does it? In fact, if you are like me, I feel weird if I get to the end of the driveway without having my seatbelt on. It is simply part of going in the car.
This brings me then to the point of this article. If you are willing to take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones while in the car, why are you not protecting your dog when in the car? To be truly safe, your dog should travel in a crate in the back seat, or the rear of the vehicle if you travel in a van or SUV. I cannot tell you the number of people I have known over the years who have thought they were letting the dog have fun while in the car, they open a window and allow the dog loose in the car. The dog seems to be happy and loving life as it hangs its head out the open window taking in all the scents coming its way until a small flying object kicked up from another car hits the dog in the eye. Even a spec of sand can do damage and now you are at the emergency vet as opposed to running your errands on a busy Saturday afternoon. Your dog will have suffered damage to the eye at the very least if not having lost the eye all together.
I have also known many people in the same situation with the dog loving life, enjoying the scenery as life passes them by and all of a sudden the car they are traveling in suddenly turns to the left sending the dog flying out the open window. If the dog survives a fall like this, you will be lucky. The injuries will likely be extensive and certainly could have been easily avoided.
Finally consider this…you own a small breed dog and your dog is loose in the car because you think it is having a good time running all around the car while you are driving. Talk about driving distracted!!! So, you are driving along and the dog comes up on your lap to see you and you suddenly get in an accident, the airbag deploys at 300 mph in a millisecond. This fantastic safety device meant to protect you has just needlessly killed your dog and seriously injured you as well. And don’t think your dog is safe in the passenger seat either, the passenger side airbag will kill your dog there too, and it comes out even faster than the driver side because it is coming from the dash rather than the steering wheel. This entire scenario happens daily and can easily be avoided.
How do you avoid these needless injuries or possible death of your family pet? Train your dog to ride quietly in a crate in the car. See more HERE in Cesar the Dog Whisperer’s blog. Many car manufacturers also make gates to fit across the back seats in SUVs, thereby keeping your dog safely in the rear of the car. When traveling in a more contained and safe manner your dog will be protected as best you can and will have a much better chance of surviving a crash. In the same manner that your joy in traveling in the car is not diminished by having to wear a seatbelt, your dog will not dislike the car because he is in a crate. Watch for a future article on properly training your dog to ride in a crate.
About the author- Julie Nelson is the owner of Paws In Time dog daycare and boarding centers in Oswego and West Chicago/Batavia. Julie’s entire life has been dedicated to the care of dogs through training and offering state-of-the-art services to over 2,000 clients.