Dog Health Issues – This is Scary

Dog Health Issues – Do you drive with your pet in the car without any type of dog restraint product?  If you say “no,” you are certainly not by yourself.  According to Cathleen Lewis, director of public affairs for the Florham Park-based AAA New Jersey Automobile Club, only 16% of drivers currently use some type of pet restraint.

But this low percentage should not make you feel good.  The following statement really caught my attention.  This is one of the major dog health issues we face.

“In a crash at 30 mph, an unrestrained 10-pound dog will exert roughly 300 pounds of pressure, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog will exert approximately 2,400 pounds of pressure. Imagine the devastation that can cause to your pet and anyone in its path,” continued Lewis. 

Those are some very scary statistics.  They should get our attention.

Some of you may be asking, “OK, Scott. If you are such a big shot, what do you do?”  Well, for the most part, I am one of the good guys.  We take our dog on some fairly long trips.  We always use a restraining belt on him in the back seat.  He has approximately half the back seat to move around in.  But in the case of a car crash, he would be restrained to the back seat.  He would not hit the back of the seat in front of him.  He would definitely not be hurled into the front of the car and stand the chance of hitting the front window.

But for short trips, I’m not too good.  On an annual trip to the vet or a trip to the groomer, I let my dog sit in the front seat unrestrained. It’s only a 15 minute drive.  I guess I feel like I am doing him a favor.  He gets to look out the window or lie down on the seat.  But the quote from this article shows that I am taking a huge risk in letting him be loose.  This is one of the major dog health issues I have ignored.

A crash at 30 MPH would probably kill him.

Here is the quote from the article entitled “Survey Finds Drivers Engage In Distracting Behavior With Pets In The Car.”

Eighty-three percent of respondents acknowledged that an unrestrained dog in a moving car can be dangerous, but only 16 percent currently use a pet restraint. Use of a restraint is three times greater among drivers who have heard of situations where unrestrained dogs were injured or caused injury to other passengers in a crash (32 percent), compared to respondents who were not away of such a situation but still use a restraint (9 percent). Using a pet restraint can aid in limiting distractions, and help protect pets and passengers.

“Drivers should use a pet restraint system for their dog every time the pet is in the vehicle,” said Cathleen Lewis, director of public affairs for the Florham Park-based AAA New Jersey Automobile Club. “A restraint will not only limit distractions, but also protect the driver, the pet and other passengers in the event of a crash or sudden stop.”

More than two in five (42 percent) respondents stated they do not use a pet restraint because their dog is calm and doesn’t need a restraint. A calm dog will be thrown with the same amount of force as an active dog in the event of a crash or sudden stop—a danger for all passengers, as well as the pet.

“In a crash at 30 mph, an unrestrained 10-pound dog will exert roughly 300 pounds of pressure, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog will exert approximately 2,400 pounds of pressure. Imagine the devastation that can cause to your pet and anyone in its path,” continued Lewis.

Other reasons cited for not using a restraint included the driver never considering it (39 percent) or that they just take dog on short trips (29 percent). Twelve percent want their dog to be able to put its head out the window.

Eighteen percent of respondents who drive with a dog in the vehicle also have children under the age of 13 who ride with them. Seven in 10 of these motorists have driven with a child and an unrestrained dog in the vehicle at the same time.

The entire article can be read here.  I highly encourage you to read the entire article.  The portion of the article that is not quoted talks about our stupid reckless driving behavior when a pet is in the car.

Just patting our dog or looking over at him is causing us to take a chance of having an accident.  But some drivers do much crazier things that could lead to an accident.  You will get all this information by reading the article.

What have I done?  I have to admit to patting my dog (even if restrained) or looking back at him.  I am guilty.  I agree that this is not responsible behavior for me, my family, and my dog.

I would like to hear your comments on this topic.  Do you use any type of restraining device for your pet in the car?  Has the article I quoted affected you in any way?  I wish everyone the very best.

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