According to a crash test conducted at the NRMA Insurance Research Centre in Sydney in Decmeber 2013, even at a collision speed of 20 km/h, an unrestrained pet, sitting in the back seat, can become a dangerous projectile, hitting the dashboard with enough force to cause serious injury to the dog, the driver and other passengers.
Testing of pet harnesses by NRMA Insurance, found “that a number are not effective in restraining pets in common low speed collisions.” Using life size and correctly weighted dog ‘dummies’ at speeds of up to 35km/h, NRMA Insurance tested 25 harnesses across a range of manufacturers. It’s unfortunate that “all but two failed to restrain the ‘dummy’, due to the use of weak plastic buckles similar to those used on most backpacks.”
The only two harnesses that passed NRMA testing were the Purina Petlife Roadie and the Sleepypod Clickit harness.
TV Vet Dr. Lisa Chimes, who is spearheading the Purina Dogs in Cars Safety campaign says “a properly harnessed dog is a must, not a maybe! You wouldn’t drive without buckling up your child, and your dog is no different. Securing your pet can save their lives and yours.”
Top Safety Tips for Dogs Travelling in CarsIn the back!: Just like kids, pets are safest in the back. A dog in the front can distract the driver, and in a crash, the force of the air bags may fatally injure even large dogs. And never drive with your dog in your lap!
The right restraint: All restraints are not created equal. Some are not designed to withstand the force of sudden stops or turns. Clipping your usual dog lead to a seat belt won’t prevent your dog from being propelled in a crash. Recent impact testing by NRMA INSURANCE showed PURINA PETLIFE ROADIE to be the most effective, safest and affordable dog harness on the market today*
Ute-sense: By law, dogs must be restrained in the back of a ute, or other open vehicle or trailer. If a dog is not secured with a short lead, that allows him to reach the sides, then he may easily become tangled in it, fall or jump out, causing a potentially fatal injury. If they are riding in the back, remember you must protect your pet from the elements.Head and paws in the car: Putting his head out the window may expose the dog’s sensitive eyes, ears and nose to harmful particles of dirt and dust, which can cause infection. He also runs the risk of bumping into objects.
Are we there yet?: Kids aren’t the only ones who get bored and restless. Dogs too need frequent breaks. Try to stop every two hours for water, a toilet break and a short walk. On alternative stops, let your pet have a run if possible and a sniff of the area for interest’s sake, but don’t let him overheat. Be sure your dog is safe when in a strange place, especially in high traffic areas. Keep him on the lead or in a secure fenced place, which permits dogs off lead.
Keep it cool: Dogs can rapidly dehydrate and suffer from heat stress during the warmer months, and the inside of cars heat up quickly. Never leave a pet unattended in a car, no matter if the weather is hot or cold.
Zen-out zone: Tailor the length of the journey to your dog’s personality and how much he can handle comfortably. If your pet is nervous in the car, try spraying lavender or ADAPTIL, a pheromone which may calm him down and also helps with car sickness. Some dogs react well to calming music, and often closing the windows against strange loud noises zipping by and putting on the air-conditioner may soothe him to sleep.
Your dog is a backseat driver: Your dog responds to your moods. If you stay cool and collected in the car, your dog will be a relaxed traveller. If you get angry or anxious, he may become frightened and stressed. So keep calm and drive on, remembering to speak to him encouragingly from time to time to keep him happy and secure.