• Tina Minden

Is Your Dog Safe Riding in the Car?

Updated: Oct 2, 2019

Pet safety in cars is a big subject that has recently caught my attention. So many times you drive down the street and see dogs in the back or front seat , hanging out, ears flapping in the wind. I have done the same with my dog. They are so happy to just be with you, and they love the wind in their face. Its all such a great experience. Until it isn’t. I would like to share a story about Piper, who’s life came to a halt after a horrible car accident.

Piper was a beautiful chocolate Labrador retriever who had an exuberant attitude towards life. Despite her severe allergies and early arthritis (which was successfully managed through a combination of acupuncture, home cooked nutritious meals, and traditional medicine), Piper radiated a positive energy each and every moment of the day. Piper loved to play ball, go on crazy long walks, explore new cities, chase squirrels and rabbits, take doggy classes, and go swimming. She and her humans were incredibly active, always out and about. People often commented on her thriving health, personality ("a dog with a human soul") and the strong, loving bond that she and her humans shared. She had passed the Canine Good Citizen test and was on her way to being a therapy dog for children with special needs. However, this life came to a screeching halt on June 20, 2017.

Piper and her family were on their way to Centennial Park for yet another outing, when a teenage driver lost control of his speeding vehicle, crashing into Piper's car. Piper was thrown against the back of the driver's seat. She broke her back on impact and was paralyzed. Unfortunately the veterinarians were unable to do anything for Piper except ease the pain until her family were released from the hospital to come say goodbye. Piper lost her life on June 21, 2017.

Every day, dogs hang out in the backseat of a vehicle, heads hanging out of the window, ears flapping in the wind. Drivers hold small dogs in their laps. Dogs roam free. Dog Sitters take multiple dogs in their cars to dog parks. This is the life of a dog. Your dogs are not safe without a restraint. They need a safety device for the car just like a human or child does.

Here is a surprising fact about the numerous harnesses on the market that claim to keep your dog safe in the car: There are only 4 brands of dog harnesses, carriers and crates that have been crash tested and approved by the Center for Pet Safety. Safety restraints for dogs do indeed exist and there are many to choose from, however most brands have not been crash tested, or have not passed the test. Here is a link to see which restraints have passed the test. www.centerforpetsafety.org/cps-certified. If you currently have a pet restraint, like I did, check this site to see if it has passed. If not , your dog is still not safe. Make sure your dog walker or dog sitter has the proper crates or restraints before you let them take your dog anywhere in the car.

A special group called Piper’s Walk was created so that no canines and their families would ever have to go through what Piper and her family had to endure. Piper was never harnessed in the car, and like myself ,her owners did not realize that there were products out there to keep dogs safe in cars. The Center for Pet Safety is doing exceptional work, crash testing various safety restraints.

Accidents happen every day, they are random, unpredictable, and they do not discriminate. No one can control the actions of another driver, but we can control our own. That starts will keeping loved ones safe. Our dogs are our loved ones. Just as we have special car seats for our children, we need to use special safety harnesses for our fur children.

If you are interested in more information about safety harnesses, dog walking, or pet sitting, please contact us at https://www.mddogwalking.com/services or tina@mddogwalking.com.

If you would like to purchase one of the best safety harnesses that is approved please go to www.piperswalk.org/shop. Please visit our about us page to learn more about us , and our philosophies!

Leo Modeling the safety harness. He's so safe and comfy he fell asleep!


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