We love our animals, and most of our furry pets enjoy a car ride with us. Unfortunately, dogs in the car can be a significant distraction for drivers. This fact is validated by a study put out by AAA that says that dogs in a vehicle can cause a distracted driver to be in danger and can lead to car crashes. 

AAA Poll

 The AAA poll states that:   • 52% of dog owners say they have pet their dog while driving • 17% have driven with their dog in their lap • 13% have given a dog treats, food or water while weaving through traffic • 4% have played with the pet while driving • Only 16% use a pet-restraint system   Just like all family members in a car, dogs also need a seat belt or some type of restraint while in a vehicle. If there is an accident or a sudden sharp stop, using a pet-restraint system will prevent the dog from being flung throughout the car. If the dog is not using a restraint, they can be injured or can cause serious injury to anyone else in the vehicle at the time.

A 10-pound dog can exert up to 500 pounds of pressure if the car crashes going 50 miles per hour which can cause serious injury.

Unrestrained dogs

People love to bring their dog on a car trip as supported by the poll - 84 percent of poll respondents stated that they have driven with their pets. Only 16 percent of pet owners are using any form of pet restraint system while driving with their dog.

The use of a seat belt or pet restraint system can reduce limiting distractions and protect your pet:

  • Using seat belts or other restraint systems will limit pet movement and reduce a pet’s ability to distract the driver.
  • It is best to restrain a pet in the back seat due to the airbags on the passenger side.
  • Padded harnesses with sturdy connectors and straps are available to connect to a vehicle’s seatbelt or LATCH system. Both soft- and hard-sided crates can be used in cars, but should be strapped down. With smaller dogs, pet car seats or basket-style holders can be used.

Restraint systems avoid distracting the driver AND protect your dog and other passengers in the car.

Airbag damage to pets

Starting in 1996, all new cars are required to have airbags. Sitting on the passenger side with an airbag, a pet can be seriously injured or possibly killed if the airbag deploys. For a smaller dog, even if the airbag does not deploy, your pet could get hurt by getting thrown into the dashboard or windshield.

If in doubt which system to use, contact your local veterinarian for options that are best for your dog to use in your car? Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.