Last week, I was in an accident. Sam, my lab terrier mix, was in the back of the car with me.
It all happened so fast. One moment, I was driving down the street. The next moment, I saw a car flying at me through my peripheral vision. And BAM! We were spinning and screeching to the side of the road.
“”My poor little puppy was in the back, shaking and scared…”
When we came to a stop, the car was totaled and there was a burning smell. I was shocked but fortunately not injured. And my poor little puppy was in the back, shaking and a bit scared but otherwise fine. A few minutes later, a police officer arrived to the scene. As he made out the report, he told me something chilling.
Unrestrained horror stories
“It’s good that you had the dog restrained in the back,” the police officer said. Based on the speeds involved and the way we hit, he was sure Sam would have become a canine projectile, flying through the windshield and not surviving the crash. And he told me a couple of other horror stories.
“That dog became an unrestrained 120-lb missile that flew into the back of the child’s head…”
A couple of months earlier, a mom was doing 55 down the freeway. Her son, about 12 years old, was in the front seat with her. Their Bernese was in the back. When she slammed on the brakes to avoid a truck that pulled in front of her, that dog became an unrestrained 120-lb missile that flew into the back of the child’s head.
Unsafe for everybody
In a crash, a dog will often be badly injured as it sails through windows or into panels. But sometimes, people get the worst of it. The police officer told me of an elderly man who crashed into a pole at full speed. His little dog, who loves to go for drives, distracted him by jumping into his lap.
“He has seen people lying on the road and begging him to find their dogs…”
The police officer told me he has seen people lying on the road, severely injured after a crash, and begging him to find their dogs who have run off because they’re scared. Can you imagine how awful this would be? Let me show you.
A frightened Maltese loose on a 5-lane freeway
About a year ago, the news were full of video of a frightened little Maltese, loose and on the run in the middle of a I-17, a five-lane freeway. He was weaving in and out of cars. Traffic was backed up for miles behind this little guy as people slowed down or pulled over to try to help out. But he was so scared he just kept running.
Can you imagine how scared he must have been?
This can happen if a dog gets loose in an accident. But it can even happen with an open car window. I read of a dog that was thrown from the car when the owner had to slam on the brakes. The dog wasn’t even hanging out of the window, just sitting in the back seat. Which brings me the important point I want to make.
Illegal in Canada, Spain, Germany
There’s an easy fix for all these horror situations. It’s simply to restrain your dog while you’re driving. The fact is, in many parts of the world — Canada, Spain, Germany — it’s illegal to have your dog unrestrained in a moving car.
“Without the seat belt, Sam would almost certainly not be with me today…”
I completely support this. A car seat belt is was what saved Sam’s life. Without it, he would almost certainly not be with me today. But here’s something you should know about different dog seat belts.
Not created equal
The tested and proven dog seat belt I use with Sam is called PawSafe. One end simply clips into the regular seat belt buckle. The other clips to the back of Sam’s harness. There’s a bit of give so he can get adjusted and comfortable in the back, or even move over and look out the window.
It simply clips in like a regular seat belt
The PawSafe seat belt is made from a sturdy, resilient material. It has been put to the worst possible test when Sammie and I were hit by that car, and it passed with flying colors. That’s NOT true of most dog seat belts, which are made from shoddy stuff. That means dogs can chew through it, and if the worst comes, these seat belts can fail catastrophically. Speaking of which, there’s one safety caution I want to share with you.
A harness, not a collar
Even eases anxiety
Lots of dogs have anxiety when driving. This isn’t unusual. Dogs are very prone to motion sickness because riding in a vehicle at high speeds is unnatural. But a dog seat belt can help.
“Dogs are very prone to motion sickness… a dog seat belt can help “
When you restrain your dog with a dog seat belt, they will feel more comfortable and safe in the car. If you have a pup who looks like the world is going to end every time you go for a drive, then a dog seat belt might be the answer. And if you still have any doubts that you should get a seat belt for your dog, let me ask you one final question.
You wouldn’t do this with a toddler… so why your dog?
You wouldn’t let a toddler walk up and down the back, climb all over the seats, and get in and out of your lap while you’re driving. So why do it with your dog?
There are so many things that can go wrong if your dog is unrestrained in the car. It’s dangerous for your pup, dangerous for you, and even dangerous for drivers and pedestrians around you. And it can all be fixed so easily. Simply get a dog seat belt today, and stop waiting for the worst to happen.
40% off right now
I decided to get a new PawSafe seat belt for Sam. Even though it passed with flying colors when we had the accident (and there doesn’t seem to be any sign of wear or damage on it), typical advice is to get it replaced after it’s been yanked so hard. And here’s the thing. I found a website that’s selling the PawSafe seat belt for 40% off right now. I’m not sure how long this will go on, so it’s definitely smart to jump on it right away.