5 Common Auto Safety Features Pet Owners Shouldn't Ignore

3. Backseat riding. After hearing about a dog who was killed by an air bag, I realized I’d been commuting very unsafely with my own Frenchie. Though he rides restrained in one of those elevated car seats that attaches with a clip to his harness, its frame is like that of an infant seat. In other words, it won’t necessarily keep the front seat’s powerful air bag from breaking his bones. That’s why, despite his French Bulldog-style protests, Vincent now rides in the backseat.

Unfortunately, that raises its own perils, like being accidentally left in a hot car.

4. Vehicle temperature alarms. Here’s where “It could never happen to me” tends to reach a moral fever pitch. Everyone assumes that only the idiotic would leave their pets in hot cars. But that’s not always so. In fact, an important Pulitzer Prize-winning article on similar deaths among infants shows us how the human mind can fatally distract us in situations like these.

As with infants, when pets are strapped into backseat safety devices, they’re more likely to get accidentally left behind. And because cars can get hot fast, that can lead to deadly consequences. Which is where temperature-sensing devices come in.

Luckily, they can be purchased through manufacturers that market these safety devices to police departments (Radiotronics, Criminalistics and Ray Allen). If you commute or travel with your pet, you should consider one.

5. Microchips. Here’s where I get to tell you some wonderful news: After months of anguish after the traumatic loss of their cat on the highway, my clients called to inform us that she’d finally been found. After making her way to a home near the accident site, the homeowner had befriended her and brought her in for a veterinary visit. That’s when her microchip was scanned, and her people were called.

The rest is history. But is her story strong enough to make you change your ways? Here’s to hoping so.

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