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Keep Dogs SAFE in Cars

I took a glance at the calendar this morning and noticed that vacation season will be here before we know it which means that our little ones will be packing their treats and toys anxiously looking forward to a few road trips to the mountains and sea shore :)

Yes, our little chihuahuas know when it is vacation time:)

The mere sight of a cooler or valise and they run to the cupboards where we keep their car safety harnesses, happy as a lark that a trip is in the offing.

Many times I am asked why we use harnesses or "doggie seat belts".

Can't you keep a chihuahua on your lap? Why don't you put them on the floor, let them ride in the window sill like ours do, let them stick their head out the window... dogs love it, on an on they go as I shake my head and go on..

And here is my answer.

We love our dogs enough to do what is best for them and keep them safe. On our lap, head out the window, on the floor in the window sill, etc. etc., are dangerous and potentially fatal places for a dog of any size to be in case of an emergency
or accident. They are small and harnesses are the perfect option for us.

A dog can be ejected like a rocket through a windshield causing serious or fatal injuries upon impact.

An article I received from our favorite rescue lady, Pat in MD sets forth some important ideas (for dogs of all sizes) you should read if you ever take Fido in the car for any length of trip or vacation, to moms or even up to the store.

The principles are the same ... so here it is:

====================================================
 
Keeping Your Dog Safe in Your Car

by following a few simple tips , Josh Max

"Unrestrained pets cause more than 30,000 accidents annually,
according to the American Automobile Association (AAA), and
the Travel Industry Association of America says 29 million
Americans have traveled with a pet on a trip of 50 miles or
more in the past five years. With those kinds of numbers,
it's important to remember that pets have special needs on
the road.
 
Different drivers approach the issue with different degrees
of hands-on management.
 
"I don't allow any dogs on the front seat," says Ariel Freiheit
of Connecticut. "I just block their access with a 'no.'"
 
But the rear seat isn't always a guarantee of safety. Dog owner
Jack Ridge of New York learned the lesson first hand.
 
"Just having the dog in the back really is no protection," said
Ridge. "Before I started putting my beagle in a restraint, I had
her in the back once and had to slam on my brakes. No accident,
no skidding -- just hard braking. She went right between the two
front seats and ended up almost on top of the gear shift."
 
Restrain Your Dog
 
Andrea Arden, trainer on the Animal Planet's "Dogs 101" and
author of "Dog-Friendly Dog Training," reminds owners that while
dogs want to be free, keeping them in place keeps them safer.
 
"Always restrain your pet for safe car travel," Arden said.
"Unrestrained pets can be a distraction to drivers and can get
injured if the car makes a sudden stop or is involved in an
accident even at low speeds. Secure your pet in a crate or with a
harness to keep them safe."
 
Harnesses and crates are fine for small and medium-sized dogs, but
pose challenges for dog-owners with big dogs. "I would love to use
a harness but my dogs can't stand it," says animal lover Orlando
Clarke. "They panic and get tangled up. I got an SUV just to have a
big enough rear to contain them. It works pretty well since the
entire area behind rear seats can be blocked off."
 
Don't Put Your Dog On Your Lap
 
One of the biggest hazards, not only to pets but also to their
owners and even other drivers, is the motorist who insists on
keeping Fluffy on their lap, which makes it impossible for drivers
to respond immediately to road emergencies. The animal can also be
hit by passing cars if it bolts out of the vehicle after a crash.
 
Hawaii is currently the only state that bans drivers from operating
a vehicle with a pet on their lap, but Oregon lawmakers are
considering legislation and some cities are taking action, too.
Troy, a suburb of Detroit, passed a bill banning dogs from
lap-riding on January 1 of this year. Still, others are giving
drivers and their pets a little more freedom. In 2008, Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a California bill that would have
fined drivers $35 for sharing the driver's seat with lapdogs or
other animals, saying the bill wasn't a priority. A Republican
assemblyman had introduced the bill after seeing a woman driving
with three dogs on her lap.
 
The issue has gained attention in recent years as the issue of
distracted driving elevates in the public's consciousness. In 2009,
5,474 people were killed and 448,000 injured in crashes caused by
distracted drivers in the United States, according to the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, although it's difficult to
assign the number of those where pets were involved. In perhaps one
of the most famous incidents of distracted driving involving a pet,
author Stephen King suffered several broken bones and a collapsed
lung in 1999 when he was hit by a driver who claimed he was
distracted by his dog.
 
Pet-Friendly Vehicles......
 
Auto manufacturers have responded to car-buyers' requests for
pet-friendly wheels in recent years. The Honda Element, which is in
its final model year of production, features the following optional
equipment:
 
-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
 
"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."
 
Toyota's Venza is similarly equipped, and we can expect more
manufacturers to offer the options in coming years.
 
Pet Insurance ( sort of.. my insert)
 
Keeping your pet safe while you're driving also makes good
financial sense, as anyone who's ever gotten a through-the-roof
veterinarian bill knows. Progressive Insurance offers vehicle
insurance to protect your dog (or cat) in the event of a crash,
paying up to $1,000 if a customer's pet is hurt or dies as a result
of an accident. Chubb insurance also offers up to $2,000 in
coverage for pets injured or killed in a crash, even if the animal
is being pulled in a trailer, although its coverage is limited to
Arizona, Maryland, Texas and New Jersey.
 
Progressive offers the following tips to help keep Fido safe in the
car:
 
Don't let dogs ride with their head out of the window. They can
easily be injured by debris flying into their eyes.
 
Get your pet used to the car and make them feel comfortable. Often,
the only time pets ride in the car is when they're visiting the
vet, so they may not always associate a car ride with positive
feelings and may even be afraid to ride in the car. Teach them
instead that car rides can be fun by taking them for short road
trips to a dog park or a friend's house for a play date.
 
Make sure your pet has proper identification. Just in case he or
she gets lost while traveling, you want to be sure your pet is
wearing up-to-date ID tags with an emergency contact phone number
and what, if any, reward is offered for the pet's safe return.
 
Prepare a doggie bag. Make sure it contains clean-up supplies, a
towel, portable feeding/watering bowls, food and water, a pet first
aid kit, and toys to keep them busy and well behaved.
 
You wouldn't let a member of the family dive from the front seat to
the back seat to the rear of your car, hang their head out of any
available window or climb all over your lap while you try to drive,
would you? Don't let your loyal canine do it, either. "

Excerpted from an Article by Josh Max autos.aol.com

==============================

Your dog depends on you to do what istright for him. And as my father often told me when I was a child.. " As a parent my job is to keep you safe... EVEN when it's not fun.."

So next time you take Fido for a trip make sure he is safely secured in the car. Our little ones "love" their seatbelts.

They travel calmly and safely, knowing that when we arrive at our destination the fun will really begin !

 

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