This article is a part of a larger Pet Pro Supply Co. series on Pet Safety. See the list of articles below:
How to Keep Your Pets Safe When Traveling
There are many reasons why traveling with an unrestrained pet is not recommended and in fact is considered dangerous.
- An unrestrained dog can be a distraction while driving, increasing your risk of having an accident.
- In the event of an accident, an unrestrained dog will impact whatever it hits with a force equivalent to several thousand pounds of energy.
- In an accident, an unrestrained dog may be ejected or escape from the vehicle, resulting in the dog getting lost, injured or killed.
- Once outside, the dog can become a hazard to other drivers and is at risk of being hit by another vehicle.
- After an accident, an injured or frightened dog can pose a threat to emergency responders, preventing them from helping human occupants that may be in need of assistance.
Why Choose Crash Tested Pet Safety Products?
- You look for crash safety information and certification whenever you purchase a car or a child seat. Why not for your pet? Containing your dog securely while traveling is just as important for the safety of everyone traveling in your vehicle.
- It is always best to travel with your dog in a safe crate or harness whenever possible. In some states this is actually a law. If possible, traveling with a crash tested dog crate or crash tested safety harness is always best.
- It is extremely dangerous to travel with a harness or dog crate that does not meet crash safety standards. This is especially true when it come to rear end collisions for 2nd row passengers and children in child safety seats positioned in the 2nd row.
- Any products designed to restrain a pet during travel that are not crash tested may help avoid driver distraction, but they will not provide proper protection in an accident.
- A dog crate that that is not crash tested can burst apart in a frontal impact, rear-end collision or rollover accident. Your dog can be ejected or escape or be harmed by protruding shrapnel from a failed plastic or metal crate.
- Dog crates without a crumple zone can alter your vehicle’s crash safety features. Without crumple zone protection, everyone is at risk in a rear-end collision. This is true when the crate is in your vehicle even without your dog in it.
- A properly engineered crash tested dog crate needs to absorb front, rear and rollover impacts while maintaining its integrity to keep the dog safely contained and avoid danger to human occupants in the vehicle.
In choosing a pet travel crate or harness that protects your pet, as well as other passengers, make sure it meets the following ten requirements:
Crash Tested – Select a crate or harness that has been crash tested using Government Automotive Safety Standards. It is important to confirm that the cage or harness was tested using established criteria and published safety standards designed for a variety of real world accidents. For example, when choosing a crate, make sure it has been tested for front, rear and rollover impacts. Verify that testing is performed at a qualified facility by experts in crash safety testing.
- Certifications - Request a copy of the manufacturer’s certifications, documentation and crash test videos to confirm their products meet the same strict guidelines required by the Automotive Industry required for vehicles and child car seats.
- Safety Escape Hatch – Look for a safety escape hatch located at the rear of the crate. In the event of a rear end collision, your cargo door may not open. If this happens and you do not have an alternate exit, the crate will need to be cut apart to get your dog out. This can be very stressful and dangerous in a critical situation.
- Crumple Zone Protection – In the event of a collision, a solid cage without a crumple zone will alter the safety engineering of your vehicle by eliminating your vehicle’s built-in crash protection. This is true even with an empty crate left in your vehicle. In addition, the impact from a rear-end collision applies tremendous force to the crate that can break or damage the rear seat, causing serious or fatal injury to rear seat occupants. Your dog may also be impacted by the sharp edges of a broken crate that has not been engineered to absorb this tremendous force and energy. Last but not least, your dog may escape or be ejected from the broken crate through a broken window resulting in the dog getting lost, injured or killed. Crumple zone protection is required for the safety of everyone on board.
- Safety Record - Check with the manufacturer of any crash tested product and find out what Government Automotive Safety standards they meet. Look for products with a well-established track record of safety and a long history of proven results in real world accidents.
- Experience - Ask them about their experience and history related to the manufacturing of crash tested safety products. Check to see if the manufacturer uses automotive safety engineers to design their products and find out if they make other crash tested products for the automotive industry.
- Installation – Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding assembly, installation and use of their crash tested products. Check to be sure that the manufacturer includes everything required for the proper installation and use of their products.
- Proper Use – Only use pet safety products in the exact same manner as they were tested. Using a pet safety product in any way that varies from the manufacturer’s recommendations may seriously alter the safety of the product. This will expose you and your loved ones to serious or fatal injury in the event of an accident.
- Customer Service – Do not hesitate to contact the manufacturer if you have questions or concerns. The manufacturer should be able to provide detailed information, documentation and answers to all of your questions and satisfy any questions or concerns you may have.