Monthly Archives: May 2011

Buckle Up your Pup

Diana Duel

May 2011

According to a survey conducted by AAA, more than half of dog owners questioned admitted to “petting their dogs while driving,” while 21 percent said they often allow their dogs to sit in their laps! The majority of those surveyed admitted that although they themselves “buckle up,” they almost never use any kind of restraint to protect their dogs in case of an accident.

This, however, can pose a lot of danger; not only to the animal, but for everyone else in the car. An unrestrained dog can become a projectile. Even when weighing just ten pounds, warns Jennifer Huebner, manager of the AAA National Traffic Safety Programs, a dog will exert roughly 500 pounds of pressure in a crash at 50 mph. Furthermore, a dog weighing 80 pounds when involved in a crash at only 30 mph, will exert 2,400 pounds of pressure.

Additionally, dog seatbelts can help avoid accidents by preventing a frightened or even angry dog from jumping in the front seat when it becomes excited by something it sees outside the vehicle. Such sudden actions by a dog may unintentionally interfere with the driver while the car is in motion.

Huebner also states that front seats are “particularly deadly for dogs,” regardless of whether they are restrained or not. This is because airbags when inflating can be explosive during a crash, harming a dog more than the actual impact itself.

Be forewarned: Invest in dog seatbelts. Or, at least restrain your dog inside a crate that is tethered to the car. You will be glad you did should an accident occur.

Better to be safe than sorry.