How to stay safe with Fido in the car

Dog owners often like to take their beloved pets on car rides. Whether a dog needs to visit the vet, the family wants to take their dog on vacation or a dog simply enjoys riding with his head out of the window, owners often allow their dogs to ride unrestrained on these car rides. Unfortunately, while Fido may love to ride unrestrained, driving with an unrestrained dog can increase a motorist’s risk of being involved in car accidents and increase risk of injury among all motor vehicle inhabitants.

Unrestrained pets of any kind, and dogs in particular, present a potential distraction to drivers. As a result, it is safest for dog owners to crate their pets on car trips. A restrained dog is less likely to create the kind of havoc that leads to distraction-related accidents.

Regardless of whether dog owners heed the practical advice that one should crate their dogs while traveling, dog owners should always avoid allowing dogs to ride in the front seat. Creating separation between the driver and the dog will help the driver to remain focused on the task at hand. Keeping dogs out of the front seat also protects them from airbag deployment and from flying into the windshield in the event of a collision.

Owners who do not want to crate their dogs should consider installing a barrier between the front and back seats in order to keep Fido away from the passenger seat, the windshield and the driver. The market hosts a number of different kinds of barriers to choose from. Whether you use a barrier or crate your dog, please take proper precautions every time you drive with Fido in the car.

Source: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, “Driving with dogs: Tips to keep everyone in the car safe,” July 1, 2013

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