Canine Car Safety

A lot of thought is given to ensuring that your human offspring are safe in the car but what about your dog? From proper positioning and use of safety restraints to avoiding eye trauma, read on for a crash course on keeping Spot safe on the road.

Secure Loose Items
In the event of a collision or any sudden stop requiring that you hit the brakes hard, anything in the car that isn’t secure becomes a potential source of serious injury. Even that seemingly innocuous tissue box can be dangerous at fast enough speeds. If anything, ensuring that nothing is floating around is a great way to motivate yourself to empty out those coffee cups and finally throw out that pile of receipts you’ve been meaning to clear out since 2012.

Always Use a Safety Restraint
We’re used to fastening our own seat belts and parents know all about the importance of child car seats but did you know that it’s just as important to buckle your dog in as well? Seat belts and tethers designed for dogs are critical and could very well save both your life and your dog’s if you were to ever be in an accident. It’s best to buy your dog’s safety harness at a reputable pet shop that can help you choose one in the appropriate size and provide assistance with installation.

Remember that you can buy the best seat belt in the world but it will be utterly useless if it isn’t used correctly. Get into the habit of restraining your dog every time you’re in the car, even for short trips. You wouldn’t skimp on your own safety so why take risks with your favourite four-legged friend?

Back Seat Only
This rule can be a bitter pill to swallow for pampered pooches who have grown accustomed to riding shotgun. Despite the fabulous views and close proximity to their most beloved people in the world (that would be you), the front seat is no place for a dog. An airbag deploying could be lethal to a dog and there’s always a risk of distraction to the driver, two situations best avoided.

If your dog truly loathes riding in the back, try folding down your seat if your car offers that option. You can usually still use your dog’s seat belt by anchoring it to a tether and often, the boost of extra height helps make things a little more pleasant for all parties involved.

Windows Closed
One of the most common issues presented at veterinary clinics is damage caused by foreign objects in a dog’s eye. While your dog may adore feeling the cool breeze on their face as you cruise down that gorgeous country road, it’s important that they always keep their head inside of the car. Dust, debris from the road or even insects can fly into your dog’s eye which can cause permanent damage.

Another potential risk with wide-open windows? Accidental escape. Even the calmest dogs have been known to make a jump for it at the sight of an especially tempting squirrel, a lush-looking dog park, or just because they want to avoid that inevitable trip to the vet. When you crack the window, make sure that your dog is secured in a position that keeps him at a safe distance. Don’t worry, he’ll still feel the wind in his fur.