There is nothing happier than a dog with his head sticking out of the car window. Mouth open, ears streaming, but is it really such a good idea to have an unrestrained pup in the car? Not all that long ago, cars didn’t even come with seat belts for the human passengers, now not only are they in each car, the law requires that we use them. Seat Belts for dogs are getting more and more popular. Evidence suggests dogs are safer if they are restrained with a safety harness while in the car, and so are the humans driving them.
Some states do have specific laws regarding pets in cars. In Connecticut, you can be fined under the distracted driving law if your dog (or cat) is getting in the way of your paying attention to the road. A safety harness makes sure that your dog isn’t jumping around the inside of your car and impairing your view of the road or access to the wheel. And, even if your dog is calm, a study suggested that up to half of dog owners take their hands off the wheel to pet their dogs while driving. The same study suggested that a quarter of people used their hands to brace their dogs while breaking. (Source: http://www.vetstreet.com/dr-marty-becker/does-my-dog-really-need-a-seat-belt)
While moms all over the world know that sticking your arm out to brace the person or animal sitting in the passenger seat is an instinctive reaction, that doesn’t mean its effective or safe. An arm is really going to keep your dog from crashing into the dash board during a hard break and it certainly won’t be of much help it the event of an accident.
Using a safety harness can help make the car more comfortable for your pup because they won’t have to work so hard to stabilize themselves as the car turns and stops. And if your dog is prone to MOTION SICKNESS, the harness will encourage him to face forward, reducing the likely hood of him getting nauseous.
There are seat belts for dogs that have been crash tested so there is science suggesting that your dog is more likely to survive an accident with a harness than without. Also in the event of an accident, a harness will ensure that you dog can’t run away when the best place for him to get emergency help is in the car near you.
Finally, back to the image of a dog with his head out of the window. As much as they seem to enjoy it, flying debris makes it fairly dangerous. Even a speck of dust to the eye at cruising speed can lead to a trip to the vet.
Pet owners do everything they can to take care of their pets; a safety harness is one way to make sure your dog is safe while on the road.