What You Don’t Know about Safe Pet Travel that is Endangering Both You and Your Pet
Our pets love to be with us wherever we go, and if you are like most pet parents, chances are your pets frequently go along for a ride in the car. Unfortunately, most of us do this completely unaware of the risk we’re taking with both our pets’ lives, as well as our own.
Commonly used pet carrying crates and harnesses are only designed to keep pets restrained in the car, so they don’t become a distraction to the driver. Other products are designed to meet cargo requirements for air travel, but are not properly tested for use in vehicles traveling on roads.
What pet parents really need is the same level of vehicle crash safety protection for their pets that they expect for their children and other members of the family. While child car seats must be crash tested to government auto safety standards, sadly there are currently no similar requirements in North America for dog harnesses and dog crates used to transport pets.
Unfortunately, most pet parents naively use safety products that claim to be crash tested or safety rated for travel believing these products will provide the same level of protection. In fact, the vast majority of pet safety products are not properly crash tested, and relying on the performance of a product that was not designed to meet stringent crash safety standards can actually increase the risk of serious or fatal injury to both people and pets.
Pet parents need to know that there are safe alternative products available that do meet the higher level of crash safety protection we want for our family, pets and loved ones. But they have to do their homework to cut through the marketing hype in order to make sure the products they choose are genuinely crash-tested and properly rated to deliver on the safety claims being made.
- Standard automotive safety features such as seat belts, airbags, crumple zones and anti-lock braking systems give crash victims a good chance of surviving or even escaping with minor injuries. However, traveling with a pet can radically change the safety equation.
- If a car crashes at a speed of just 25mph, an unrestrained dog can be projected forward at a force equal to 40 times its weight. A large-size dog weighing 75 lbs., for example, can achieve an impact force of 3,000 pounds in a car crash, which could be a lethal blow for both a passenger and the pet. (Allianz website – Keeping pets safe in the car)
- Even for smaller pets traveling at just 30 miles per hour, an unrestrained 10-lbs dog will exert 300 pounds of pressure in an accident, according to Jennifer Huebner-Davidson, traffic safety programs manager for AAA. Without a crash tested safety restraint, that pint-size pooch can injure passengers and become severely injured on impact. (CNN - Rethink your dog roaming freely)
- Crash safety testing proves that the safety margin in such a scenario can be drastically improved if that same dog is traveling in a fully crash-tested travel crate designed to work with the safety design of the car – such as the MIM Variocage. Safety is best assured by a design that has been tested for front, rear and rollover impacts using both human crash test dummies & dog dummies utilizing government automotive test standards for human crash safety.
- The cage should also utilize the safety design and integrity of the 2nd row seat to assure protection of human occupants rather than relying on straps and cargo hooks to hold a crate in place during a crash.
- The best crash safety designed crates will also have an emergency escape hatch in the rear of the cage and feature a slanted design to ensure they rest properly against the rear seat for optimal safety – only using cargo straps to prevent shifting.
Additional information showing the importance of a crash tested product when traveling on the road with your pets:
Pet Travel Safety Facts
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Traffic Safety Facts
- National Safety Council -- Safety on the Road
Occupant Restraint Statistics
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Occupant Protection Safety Fact Sheet
- State Traffic Safety Information
- CDC: Restraint Use State Fact Sheets (national & state data)
Safe Pet Travel