NO, this is not a movie review about a sequel to Riding in Cars with Boys, it a real problem that we all need to be aware of.
I see it everyday. Dogís with their heads, and sometimes half of their bodies, out of the window as the car speeds down the street. Every time I see it, I wonder: does that owner not know how dangerous that is? I want to follow them to their destination and tell them, but Iím usually on my way to a meeting or an appointment with a customer and donít have the time. So I let it go.
I love to take my dog with me when I go for a drive. And every dog Iíve ever owned has loved to go for rides in the car. Even if its just to the corner store and back. But I have never let my dogs hang out the window.
The dangers are wide in scope. Some are only minor, while others can be deadly. I think we can all agree that we donít want our pets injured if it can be avoided. So why do some owners tempt fate?
Even minor, injuries can be very costly. But thatís not the reason we shouldnít let our best friends hang out the window when the car is moving. Some of the bad things that can happen are; the car in front of you could kick up a rock and it could hit your dog causing a wide range of injuries including a concussion, damage to the face, nose or eyes, or a puncture wound. If it happens to hit the ear and it goes into the ear canal, it can cause instant death. The same goes for any object hurtling through the air at 45-70 miles per hour. On the lessor serious side of things, bugs, grains of sand, pieces of debris and even dust could injure your dogís eyes nose or hearing.
The thing that sparked this blog was something I saw on my way to lunch today. I was sitting at a red light at one of the busiest intersections in the city. While I was waiting for the green light, a car made a right turn (coming from my right) in front of me. As it did I noticed that there was a little Yorkie hanging out the driverís rolled down window. I saw the dog, with front paws fighting for a grip on the edge of the door, standing with its rear paws on the chest of the driver. This wasnít bad enough! The driver had a 32oz cup of something in the left hand, and the steering wheel in the right hand. If that driver had had to make an evasive move, that dog would have been thrown from the car and possibly hit by another car. I was shocked.
Weíve talked about the worse case scenarios, but there are other bad situations too. Itís not completely safe inside either. If your dog is in your lap or loose inside the car and you have to make a fast stop, a hard turn or you are involved in an accident your dog may be thrown through the cabin and badly hurt. If your dog is standing in the back seat and you are traveling 35 miles per hour, and a car stops short in front of you, your dog could be throw into and possibly even through the windshield.
One time I had my dog in the front seat of my car and I had to make a panic stop. If I hadnít had his harness buckled into the main seat belt system of my car, my dog might have been thrown under the dash or into the windshield.
Riding in cars with dogs should be fun, but it should be safe too. Protecting your dog from injury is very simple if you use a little common sense. Like kids, your dog should be restrained. There is some very modestly price safety equipment available for pets today. I use a chest type harness that hooks through the vehicleís seat belt system, but you can also use other types of safety equipment. The best thing is a plastic pet crate. The kind you use when you transport your pet via plane or train.
Please take a moment to keep your pet safe. They will thank you for it with many more years of loving devotion.
( Originally posted on My Dog Blog at: http://IOWADOGTRUST.wordpress.com