Every day I spend in Nevada I see more dogs riding loose in cars and pick up trucks. AAA has reported that as much as 30% of accidents may be caused by distractions such as dogs in cars. Dogs can distract drivers by moving around, barking, or trying to get into the front seat. Dogs with their heads out the window may love it, but they can get wind blown objects in their eyes and ears report vets. And I am terrified to see all the dogs riding around unsecured in the backs of pick up trucks. That may be OK at 15 mph on a farm where the landing would be soft, but not on city streets at 45 mph. A hit to the pavement would be gruesome for the poor pooch. So what to do? Dogs in trucks can be tied with a harness and a pad for traction. They can still feel all of nature. Dogs should never be in the front seat or the driver's lap where air bags could kill them in a minor accident. Booster seats with attachments can give little dogs a view AND security. Safest place in in the back seat or third row in either a special harness secured by seat belts or in crates secured in place. I have been in a roll over accident on an interstate highway and both my dogs and I survived with minor injuries because we were all properly secured. A 60 lb Labrador hurtling through my car and striking me in the head could have been deadly.
So please take your furry friend or helper for a fun ride - but safely this upcoming holiday season.
Terry Cuyler, MA, CPDT