Restraining your pet in the car

You know those Public Service Announcements that end with a little tune and “The More you Know…” ?  Well I’d like the to finish that off with “the more you’re going to end up spending time and money.”  My personal circumstances mean that I know a little bit more than your average person (just enough to be dangerous) about automobile safety restraints and child seats and I’ve seen the results when these are used improperly or not used at all.

I mean, people have to know that as much as they love to see their dog happy, they’d rather not see them smashed across a road, or have to have a tree branch removed from their eye, right? They have to know that as cute as this is:

Cute but deadly

It’s just not safe.

So OK, how should you restrain your precious pup in the car then? There’s a crate or kennel. Then there’s all the different gadgets that tie your pup to your car’s restraint system in a variety of different ways. Some of these are better than others. Some of these are very easy to use, but that might be the exact reason you don’t want to buy it.

Check this out:

Scary huh?

So the idea, then, is to make your dog’s motion one with the car’s motion as much as possible.

I still haven’t figured out what the best thing for Kasey will be. I have to take into account his comfort, the way he rides in the car, the available products, the available testing (not much!), and the cost. Right now he’s using a restraint by PetBuckle (a company that makes the buckles for quality child seats) that hooks to his harness on one end and the LATCH system of my Subaru on the other. This will at least keep him from being ejected or from impacting me in a crash. He may only weigh 55 pounds, but multiply that many times to get the force with which he could hit me or a passenger in a 55mph crash. This setup also allows him to sit up, stand up (just barely), and see out the window (but not stick his head out). I’ve shortened it so it’s the most comfortable if he’s lying down, which is what I’d like him to be doing for most of the ride.

Absolutely better than nothing. But what happens if paramedics need to get to me and Kasey impedes them because he is trying to protect me? Or what if they have to cut his restraint and he ends up wandering around hurt on the side of the road?

So I’m leaning toward buying another crate or kennel to keep tied down securely in the car. This will keep him compartmentalized (“injuries are kept to a minimum by seating occupants in a relatively confined environment (less room to move in))” in the event of a crash and will also keep him contained so he’s less of a danger/distraction for any rescue efforts.

The problem is finding the proper crate and tie downs with the information available to me.

More on that tomorrow.

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