Our dogs join our family and soon become so much a part of us that we can’t imagine life without them, even if that means a few hours away on a road trip. This means we take them along on road trips and all manner of vacations, and also take them with us when running errands. When every other member of the family gets in the car, the first thing they do is buckle up.
The canine member needs to buckle up too. Doing so is a safety measure for you, the dog, and other road users for the following reasons.
Most dogs can’t sit still in a car especially when there are new sights to see. Their fidgeting can cause distracted driving equivalent to talking on your phone while driving. In fact, some states such as New Jersey have put laws in place to prohibit dog owners from driving around with an unrestrained pet, and the fine for doing so is steep. In Hawaii, it’s illegal to drive while holding your dog on the lap.
A dog that weighs a mere 30 pounds might not be that heavy to hold on the lap. However, if a crash occurs and he flies out of a vehicle driving at 50 km/hr, he will hit someone with a momentum of 1500 pounds and that’s not small at all. Restraining him means in case of a crash he will not fly out of the car causing injury to others.
If a crash occurs your dog immediately becomes defensive and not so friendly to strangers. If he is unrestrained he might bite the people who come to your rescue, including paramedics. This will lead to more precious time getting wasted trying to deal with the dog instead of the injured people in the car.
In case the dog bites someone, the cost of treatment will be on you. Your dog is both your legal and financial responsibility so it’s best to keep him restrained and avoid a situation where he is free to bite people.
If he is unrestrained he might run away from the crash site and right into the middle of the road in his confusion. This could cause a secondary accident as drivers try to swerve away to avoid hitting him and the passengers could get injured in the process. This can all be prevented by simply buckling your dog.
You can either use a dog buckle and harness to restrain the dog in the middle backseat, or put him in a crate and buckle up the crate. This will ensure your dog is safely restrained and not posing danger to you and other drivers.