2001-Thu Jul 27 22:47:50 EDT 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
You put your dog or cat in a crate, car seat or harness when he rides in the car. Seems like the right thing to do, doesn’t it?
You might be surprised and dismayed to learn, however, that pet carrier safety isn’t regulated by any organization or government agency. Crash tests involving many different types of restraint devices end with anchor straps failing, connection hardware deforming, crate doors breaking open, crate bodies becoming crushed, and canine and feline crash test dummies (not live animals) going airborne.
Pets who become projectiles can injure car passengers or even go through the windshield, resulting in injuries ranging from bruises and contusions to broken bones and paralysis — or even death.
Let's start with a basic truth: Everyone is safer when pets are confined or restrained. “Too many times, people are taking pets to the vet or picking up kids at school, and they get distracted by the pet’s movement or vocalization,” Dr. Marty Beckersays. “They take their eyes off the road to check on them, turn and baby-talk them, or try and touch them in an effort to comfort them.” For this and other reasons, it is important to always secure your pets when they are riding in the car.
But the wrong crate or harness — or one that is used incorrectly — can be almost as dangerous as doing nothing. Veterinarian Elizabeth Colleran says that in some crash test videos she has watched, the figures of crash test dogs or cats hit the side of the carrier with a significant amount of force, sometimes enough to break through the carrier. In these cases, the carrier ends up fracturing as the dummy animal flies out.
This is a hazard in real life, too. Lindsey Wolko’s dog, Maggie, was seriously injured in 2004 while wearing a car harness for pets. That led Wolko to investigate pet restraint manufacturing practices. In 2011, she founded the nonprofit Center for Pet Safety (CPS) to establish crash test standards for pet carriers and restraints, and certify those that made the grade.
While having your pet in a carrier is an important first step, securing it properly is also important, as this can help prevent the carrier — and your pet — from being tossed around in the event of a crash. Specifically, don’t hold a carrier in place with the seat belt unless it is specifically made to be used with a seat belt. While the seat belt might seem like the safest way to hold a carrier in place, Wolko says it can crush a carrier in the event of a collision. Instead, tie carriers down with strength-rated anchor strapping.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.