Always Restrain Your Dog In Your Vehicle

Nov 10


Cindy Bren

Cindy Bren

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Common sense tells us driving with a pet inside the vehicle has its risks, the most common of which is creating a distraction while you are driving. What can you do to reduce those risks? There are many options available to keep you driving without distraction and reduce the risk of injury to your pet.


Distracted driving has become one of the top safety concerns for drivers. Studies show approximately 20% of all injury crashes involve distracted driving. Most recently distracted driving is getting attention due to cellphones but there are other situations that can cause distracted driving. A 2010 study revealed that 2 out of 3 drivers engage in distracted driving behavior when traveling with a pet. But is that any different than traveling with a child? Well,Always Restrain Your Dog In Your Vehicle Articles in some ways no it is not, but the child is restrained and not allowed to freely move about the vehicles. Is this the case when you travel with a pet?

An unrestrained animal creates distractions no matter how good you are at tuning them out. During a crash an unrestrained animal can easily become a flying projectile with a huge potential for causing injury. Have you ever been hit in the back of the head by a 30 pound flying object? Imagine if you will the impact of your dog or a pet carrier flying around in a vehicle!

Let's take a minute and consider what happens or could happen when a dog wants to sit in your lap. Is your ability to adequately control the steering wheel with an object wedged between you and the wheel at risk? What happens if a child runs into the street unexpectedly just after your pet jumped down on the floor board where your feet are?

It’s not difficult to see these situations and possible outcomes are not favorable. Have you ever heard the heart wrenching sound of your pet slam into the dashboard or a window when suddenly applying the brakes or taking a corner to fast? When you slam on your brakes with an unrestrained pet in the front seat of a vehicle most drivers will attempt to reach out and grab the pet holding them in place. How about the nervous pet pacing, panting, whining? Can you see yourself trying to soothe the animal to calm them down? Make no mistake about it, in all of these events, you have been distracted.

I don't even want to get started on the risks to an animal who is allowed to freely ride in the bed of a truck. So many things can entice a dog to jump out at any time. How about when taking a corner too quickly or hard braking action that can result in the dog being thrown out of the bed? What is the risk to the driver behind you? During a rollover or serious accident there is pretty much nothing that will save their lives, except maybe pure dumb luck. People can use the argument that tying them in or using a kennel would be unsafe because the animal can no longer jump to safety during an accident. Heck people use the same excuse for wearing their own seat belts. But does the chance of being trapped outweigh all the other risks?

All these situations have a multitude of different possibilities and risk factors involved. Whatever your choice, the overall risk factors are higher when you elect to allow an animal to freely move about a vehicle or in the bed of a truck.

I can't imagine anyone would argue that inside the vehicle is the safest place for the dog to be...but that isn't completely true. Inside the vehicle RESTRAINED in a certain spot is the safest place to be! To ensure everyone's safety, even other drivers on the roadway with you, restrain your dog in one manner or another. Simply placing your pet in a carrier does no good if the carrier becomes airborne. The market is full of different types of securing devices available for dogs and other pets that travel.

When you restrain your dog in a seat within the cab of the vehicle you are taking a proactive step to ensuring everyone's safety. It does not matter what size pet you travel with. From a 4 pound Chihuahua to a 150 pound Mastiff, always keep your pet safety belted into their seat just like you would do with any other passenger! Reduce your risk of being distracted while driving!