With the holidays fast approaching, it is time to start thinking about your pet’s safety while he’s in the car. Many families hit the road this time of year to visit family and friends. With winter weather on its way, this is also the time of year when accidents are most likely to occur. There is more to canine vehicle safety than just strapping your dog in and hitting the road, and the Center for Pet Safety has some new information that may change your mind about dog travel crates.
Most experts in the pet industry and veterinary fields recommend pet carriers and crates for car travel. If your dog isn’t in a carrier or crate there is a greater risk of injury, and you also run the risk of your dog being thrown through a window or escaping the vehicle and becoming loose in traffic. Although they do contain your pet while you’re driving, many dog owners don’t realize that travel crates do not have to meet any specific guidelines to be deemed “safe.”
The founder and CEO of the Center for Pet Safety, Lindsey Wolko, says that many of these products have never been crashed tested. That’s why the organization recently put pet crates and carriers through demanding crash tests using specially-designed crash test “dummy dogs.”
The most important quality of a travel crate or carrier is that it keeps your pet contained in the event of an accident. Unfortunately, the tests revealed that not all crates and carriers are up to this task. One test dog was thrown through a soft-sided carrier and propelled through the air. Another test showed a hard-sided crate that came apart while the test dog was thrashing around inside.
It’s not just the safety of the crates and carriers themselves that were observed – secure connectors were a must to pass this crash test as well. The connections that secure the crate or carrier to the vehicle were closely watched. Some fractured, but kept the carrier in place, while others broke completely. One video shows the anchor strap of a crate breaking free, and the crate instantly becomes a dangerous projectile.
Of the eight crates and carriers that were tested, only three received high marks: the Gunner Kennel with anchor straps, the Sleepy Pod Mobile Pet Bed with a handilock, and the Pet Ego Forma Frame Jet Set Carrier with a latch connection. You can see all the videos and read the detailed findings of the study on the Center for pet Safety’s website.
Many manufacturers claim that their products are crash-tested, including some of the manufacturers of the products tested in this study. However, there are not currently any federal testing requirements. This article isn’t meant to deter pet parents from purchasing travel crates. On the contrary, I believe that travel crates are an important piece of equipment to have when riding in the car with your dog. You may also consider buying a dog car seat. Either way, be sure to do your research.
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Not only can travel crates and canine car seats keep your dog safe, they also keep him from wandering freely around the car and distracting you. Pets cause a lot more accidents each year than you would think, and keeping them contained in a crate, carrier or car seat is a wise choice to prevent that from happening. This study simply brings to light the importance of researching the product that you choose before making a purchase.
If the product you choose claims to be crash tested, look for that information online. Often when a product is actually tested, there will be videos and reports available to consumers online. It is horrible to think that manufacturers advertise false claims to get us to purchase their products, but they do. It’s up to us to make sure that we do thorough research before buying a product, especially a safety product like a dog travel crate.