CAR SAFETY FOR DOGS

By Sunday, May 17, 2015 40 , , , Permalink

I am so ashamed.

I’m truly embarrassed.

However, I must put it out there for the world to read –

When it comes to car safety for dogs, I am quilty of negligence. #bigtime

Here’s my wacky defense –

In the past, both of my Doodles were the type of dogs who laid down and behaved like they had sense in a moving vehicle. There was never a bunch of movement – they just sat or laid down in the backseat.

This behavior I found – is “not” true with ALL dogs. From day one, Jax has been a car riding nightmare…

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For whatever reason, I never really gave car restraints much attention until Jaxson. He refuses to stay in the Kurgo Car Hammock with Harley. He rides all over the place.

The console…

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… and the front seat…

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When he’s bored – he’ll play a game and hop his way to the trunk area…

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And when we stop – he’ll hop back up to the front seat #sillyrabbit

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As I watch him ride on the console like an air freshener ornament, I feel very much like a hypocrite. I’m that person who glares at people behind the wheel, dog on their lap with half of their tiny body hanging out the window. #wheresthepopo?

I realize now that I am just as bad. #shamed

Forbes magazine really got my attention when they gave an example of “force” during a crash. Talk about making it personal – they used Jax’s projected adult weight in their description:

“The thing people don’t think about is that [having a dog in the car] is like carrying an 80 pound sack of spuds behind your seat,” said Michael McHale, director of communications at Subaru of America. AAA says that a 10-pound unrestrained dog in a car traveling 30 miles an hour will exert 300 pounds of force during a crash.

I’m okay with making a mistake, but I cannot continue, ignore, or repeat my behavior. I now realize and accept that –

  • Jax has to be restrained in the car.
  • Harley should also be better protected in the car.

As I began to research:

  • car safety for dogs
  • dog restraints
  • state laws requiring pets to be restrained

I received an email from Kurgo inviting me to try their Tru-Fit Enhanced Strength Dog Harness. #kismet

I ordered a medium for Jax and a large for Harley. They were easy to slip on and the “nesting buckle system” makes securing the straps a breeze…

buck

photo courtesy of Kurgo.com

The chest pad reduces stress on the trachea and sternum dispensing kinetic energy across your dogs chest. Very important feature should an accident occur. #Godforbid

You also have two options of restraint styles to choose from:

  • you can use the carabiner to attach the harness to your car seatbelt system – or –
  • you can use the 10-inch dog seat belt tether to give your dog more range of movement.

Presently I’m limiting Jax’s mobility for now…

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and using the tether option to give Harley just a little more range of movement.

This harness is:

  • compatible with any vehicle seat belt system
  • crash tested
  • machine washable (line dry)
  • and it functions as an walking harness as well #doodletastic 

There’s a halt ring on the front chest plate. When Jax tries to pull, it gently turns him around – which eventually will train him that pulling gets him nowhere! This is pawfect when we’re out and about and I need him to remain close…

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While looking into car safety for dogs, state regulations, legislations, etc… I’ve learned some interesting and frightening statistics.

DID YOU KNOW?

“The American Pet Products Association determined that 78 million dogs reside in US households. So, if 56% of those 78 million dogs are going for a ride at least once a month … that’s 43,680,000 dogs traveling in vehicles. And, only 16% are buckled up? That means 36,691,200 dogs’ lives are being put at risk every month.”

(Information provided by GoPetFriendly.com)

I’m happy to report (so far) that I’ve received no resistance from Jax with the car harness.

Using it as a walking harness?

That’s a whole different blog post 🙂 Let’s just say the fat lady hasn’t sung yet #crazydoodle

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Consider me a convert. Whereas I never gave car safety for dogs a great deal of thought, I feel so much better when everyone’s buckled up.

The car harness works well with the Dog Hammock too, it doesn’t impede usage.

Whether we’re doodling around town or headed south on the highway, Jax’s “riding dirty” days are officially over!…

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I’m not driving – but this is still too dangerous for him

To all my blogging friends headed to the Blog Paws 2015 Conference in Nashville, please be careful out there & buckle up!

* I received two Tru-Fit Enhanced Strength Harnesses in exchange for my honest opinion regarding this product. I was not compensated for this review.

We’re  joining the Monday Mischief blog hop brought to you by Alfie’s BlogSnoopy’s Dog BlogMy Brown Newfies. The Hop that wraps up the weekend.

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40 Comments
  • Emma
    May 18, 2015

    Glad to hear the boys are finally riding safe. Think of it this way. If your child sits still in the car, does it mean he doesn’t need a seat belt? Dogs become projectiles just like people do if they are not buckled in. Trust me, it becomes a habit in no time. We all are always buckled it, be it a 1 mile ride or 1000 miles. It is the best for you and for the pups. In Germany, it is the law to have dogs restrained so it was easy for Mom to get started, no need to feel ashamed. You are on it now, see it through 😉

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 18, 2015

      I was so surprised Emma to find out there are currently only 6 states with safety restraint laws in place. That’s nuts! When we lived in Germany, we didn’t have a dog, and I never paid any attention. But we’re riding safe now, and that’s what’s important. It’s never too late to change your ways!

  • The Daily Pip
    May 18, 2015

    Ruby is a challenge in the car as well. If we let her, she would be jumping from front seat to back seat, side to side. Like you, our previous dog was really well behaved in the car and we didn’t always use a harness. With Ruby, we have to use one for her safety and ours. She is a calm dog, but in the car she’s kind of crazy.

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 18, 2015

      To be truly honest, I never really thought about it – Harley and Leo were so calm too! Jax has heightened my awareness about car safety because like your Ruby, he’s crazy in the car also. I’m feeling so much better strapping him in. Have a great week. Be over to visit shortly.

  • Hawk aka BrownDog
    May 18, 2015

    Hi Y’all!

    When I’m in the SUV I’m in my crate. When we ride in the sedan, I wear a seat belt that clips to the child seat safety ring. My Human doesn’t trust the Human seat belt to work properly with my harness attached in case of an accident. Also, it pulls the seat cover part way down, so I get hair on the upholstery.

    Y’all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 18, 2015

      I hear you Hawk – Believe me I’m a grateful convert (blessed not to have had an accident to change my ways!) I don’t have a large enough trunk for two crates, so we will drive safely with the harnesses. Have a great week!

  • Talent Hounds
    May 18, 2015

    I had just been attaching Kilo’s harness to the seatbelt in the back seat (he too would rather be up with me and stretches the limit). I now feel that is not secure enough. I’ll have to try this product. Thanks so much. Glad your gorgeous doodles are safer now. X Susie

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 18, 2015

      Susie – I sent an email to Kurgo asking for a “GROOVY” discount, let’s see what they say and I will email you!

  • Elaine
    May 18, 2015

    Don’t feel bad Cathy, Haley’s been known to be a console surfer too and I’ve been thinking the same thing, that I need to secure her in the car. A lot of people like the Kurgo harness, so it’s time to invest in one of these!

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 18, 2015

      Elaine, this was truly a first for me! I hadn’t had that experience before. As he grows (which is happening over night it seems) he’s no longer fitting on the console, but he’s not accepting that yet LOL The other day he turned on my hill climbing traction device with his big paw LOL So harnessed he will ride. Take care –

  • Taryn
    May 18, 2015

    Great post! My dogs are good boys who stay right where I put them, but of course that still leaves them at risk in a crash.

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 18, 2015

      Thanks Taryn – Unfortunately you are correct 🙁 Living in an urban city area, I was really flirting with danger. PAWhaps after reading this post, you can find some form of restraint that works well with your boys and their riding style. I didn’t know until recently just how many different options are out there. Good Luck!

  • Monika & Sam
    May 18, 2015

    I’m a bad fur-mommy as well, I guess however Sam turns into Flat Stanley as soon as the car starts. He loves going in the car, or at least the idea of it and sits nicely in the back seat like a good boy. But as soon as the key turns, he’s completely down and flat. Not sure I could make a restraint system work with him that low but it’s probably worth a shot to try it out. Thanks for putting the numbers out there. Kind of scary! 🙂

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 18, 2015

      Monika – that’s the PAWfect way to describe Harley too – “flat Stanley” #toofunny You’re not a bad fur-mommy, you (like me) just never really thought about it because they were riding so well laying down. I used to have Harley & Leo ride in the trunk area. I’d lay the back seat down and let them stretch out. One day, I was looking in the rearview mirror while waiting at the light. Harley was nestled all the way down at the hatchback door. This car was approaching and for a fleeting moment I didn’t think it was going to stop in time, I was so scared – it would have killed them both instantly upon impact. From then on, I moved them to the back seat. Now I’ve got them harnessed, we’re (you & I) are normal, and when we realize we need to make a change for the better – we do! You’re a great fur-mom 🙂

  • Claudette Pope
    May 18, 2015

    Man oh man, you have really given me something to consider. Ziggy rides in the very back of our SUV. If we travel, we put luggage or whatever on the back seat. I’m thinking that I was giving him “space” to stretch out or sit up. Thank you for this information. Ziggy is unhappy with any restrain or should I say ALL restraints, but, his safety is the important thing here. Thank you again.

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 18, 2015

      You are so welcome Claudette. I had a bit of a scare on PW Pkwy once. Harley was stretched out in the back and while I was at the light I didn’t think the man behind me was going to be able to stop. If he had of hit me, it would have certainly killed Harley. That should have been an eye opener for me, but it took Jax hopping all around to really give me the wake up call. I’m sure whatever you decide to use as a restraint, Ziggy will adjust, my little rabbit certainly has! 🙂

  • DashLilly
    May 18, 2015

    So much helpful information Thank you! I am very guilty of not buckling in the doodles. Thanks to your photos and descriptions, I get it. We have started up some hiking on the weekend so the doodles will be in the car more often now… I will be ordering ASAP. Thank you!!!

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 18, 2015

      You are so welcome Dash! The way I see it, we’re never too old to change our ways, especially for the better! Have fun hiking!

  • Earl Lover
    May 18, 2015

    This is so important! Earl is buckled in in the car, and Ethel has her own soft crate at the moment.

    sumskersandearlskers13.blogspot.com

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 18, 2015

      Yes it is Earl – I am truly a believer. Jax scared me hopping around while we’re on the road. I guess you can say I was “scared straight!” 🙂

  • LeeAnna Paylor
    May 18, 2015

    Jax, jax jax… the good times are over for you bud. Now it’s all, sit still jax, be quiet jax, we’ll be there in a minute jax. LeeAnna

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 18, 2015

      LeeAnna, I’m sure that’s exactly how he sees it too! LOL

  • Tenacious Little Terrier
    May 18, 2015

    I’m guilty of this too. Mr. N has a soft carrier which has been crash tested but he whines horribly when he’s buckled in. It’s on my list of training projects!

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 18, 2015

      I understand Mr. N. It’s tough being told to sit still. Jax isn’t a huge fan either. But your mom and I want you both to be safe.

  • MyDogLikes
    May 18, 2015

    I was really LOL’ing at all the pop culture references. Glad to hear that Jax will no longer be riding dirty 🙂 We keep our boys in the cargo area of our SUV, but Im sure the same stats apply. Very cool, thanks for sharing!

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 18, 2015

      Pop culture references can be fun – glad you share my appreciation of the arts LOL Happy to have you come back! Loved your post today – PAWsome!

  • Jackie Bouchard
    May 18, 2015

    I’m terrible. Our beagle was never in a harness, She always rode in the passenger seat (or on daddy’s lap if he was in the seat). With Abby, she was nutty and would jump around so I had a Kurgo for her. With Rita, she always sits in the back seat and wouldn’t dream of console-surfing or hopping in the front, but I should break out Abby’s harness and put her in it. I’ll try to be better! Thanks for the reminder!

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 18, 2015

      Habits are hard to break Jackie – you and I will have to be each others conscience! We’ll help each other do better 🙂

  • Cathy Armato
    May 18, 2015

    Kudos to you for embracing safety harnesses for your dogs. I recently started using a Kurgo harness as well for my Husky. She weighs nearly 50 lbs and I never thought that much about it until an acquaintance of mine had a car accident. She and her dog were unharmed… until her dog panicked and jumped out the door as she got out to exchange information w/ the other driver. Her beautiful German Shepherd was struck by a car and killed. My Husky doesn’t like having to wear a harness, and my husband thinks it’s unnecessary, but I have to insist. Excellent post, thank you.

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 19, 2015

      Oh My Doodle Cathy – that had to be horrible to witness. Wow! – I never even thought about something like that happening, but it is so easy to see a dog frightened so much they try to leave the car. My husband was the one who initially kept telling me I had to come up with something because Jax was like a kid in a playpen when he was in the car. Literally playing all the time. My heart breaks for your friend. So sorry…

  • Vicki Green
    May 18, 2015

    I am ashamed, too. I’ve been thinking about getting some car safety restraints for Hank and Tim. Your post has spurred me into action!

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 19, 2015

      Well, come on over to the harness side then Vicki 🙂 Kurgo contacted me after the review posted and offered my readers a 20% discount using the code “GROOVY” – so if you’re really interested – use the code and take advantage of the discount. I am NOT receiving a commission or anything, but I want anyone who might be interested to take advantage of the discount. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • Sand Spring Chesapeakes
    May 18, 2015

    What a great post, I need to listen to this post as I’m guilty of my dogs jumping all over the place. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 19, 2015

      Your welcome JoAnn. I know how you feel, but Jax was using my car like a playpen, he was just all over the place. I had to do something!

  • Jan K
    May 19, 2015

    This sounds really versatile and I’m thinking we might give it a try. My hubby is not convinced of the need for restraint but I just need to do it anyway! I like the quality of Kurgo products.

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 19, 2015

      I’m like your husband – until Jax! He moves around so much, now I use the restraint on Harley also. After I wrote the review, Kurgo contacted me and offered a 2-% discount using the code “GROOVY” – so if you’re interested, use the code. (I’m not getting a commission, I just want you to have the discount should you decide to buy). Thanks for stopping by JanK.

  • Tiffany
    May 19, 2015

    I didn’t realize how important it is to buckle up your dog. Wow. No idea. Thanks for the post Doodlemommy 🙂

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 19, 2015

      Yes my dear Tiffany, you and John will have to use the harnesses too! They’re easy to put on the Boys and connect to the car.

  • Faith Ellerbe, Live.Wag.BARK!
    May 20, 2015

    Aww Jax! Reagan would do the same thing if I let her. I have a barrier to keep them from the front but I am guilty of not using a restraint for each dog. I need to do better. Some may thing it is silly and unnecessary until a near car accident. My co-worker told me a story of her friend who did not restrain her dog and the dog was severally injured in a major accident. All I could think is I would not want my pups hurt because I was lazy or irresponsible. Thanks for sharing!

    • Cathy Bennett
      May 20, 2015

      Since I started looking at car restraints Faith, I was totally out of touch with the number of accidents (some serious and some fatal) that dogs are involved in. It’s really scary.

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