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Auto Safety: Dont Forget About Your Dog!

Auto safety has greatly increased over the past 50 years because of seat belt usage, except in one area: the safety of your best friend, your dog. There are no laws requiring the restraining of pets in motor vehicles, so Fido's safety is protected only by your common sense. As heartwarming as it to see your hound's head out the window, joyously lapping up the thrill of the world blowing by his nose at 50 mph, one brief mistake could seriously injure or even kill your pet.

Restrain Your Canine

A 60-pound pet becomes a 2,700-pound projectile in a 35 mph accident. Furthermore, your dog can be seriously injured by the passenger's side air bag deploying at 200 mph. Unless you have a very small animal, your dog's weight is likely to cause your vehicle restraint system to act as if there is an adult human passenger sitting in that seat. Also, even though you're wearing your seat belt, it's not going to help much if you're hit from the side by a flying canine.

Pets traveling in motor vehicles are not limited to the iconic dog in the front seat of the pickup truck anymore. More than 70 million American homes have pets; more than half of these have more than two. Statistics from Bark Buckle Up show that 82 percent of these pets travel with owners on vacation. How can we protect them?

The solution is to make sure your pet is restrained. Pets can be safely protected by kennel carriers that attach to a rear-seat safety belt. Make sure your pet has enough room to sit up and turn around inside the carrier. For larger pets, or for those of you who can't bear the thought of your copilot not being able to look out the window, harnesses are available that attach to a seat belt to keep your pet from becoming airborne in a crash. Finally, as much as dogs love it and we like to see them enjoy themselves, it's just not a good idea to let your best friend stick its head out the window while you're cruising down the highway. One small piece of road debris could cause a permanent eye injury.

Source: The Richmond Times-Dispatch