Most dogs just love to go for a ride in the car, and who doesn’t get a kick out of seeing a dog pass by, with its head out the window – mouth wide open – enjoying the breeze? It must make make a dog’s day! In fact, a survey by AAA revealed that 56 percent of dog owners report that they take their dog for a ride in the car at least once per month.

Yet, while your pet may bask in the glory of his adventures in the car, is it really safe for him, or for you as the driver? Well…..that depends on how you are traveling.

5 Tips for When Your Dog Rides Shotgun

  1. Restraints – Not Just for Humans

While it looks cute, a dog sitting on a driver’s lap is a danger to the dog, the driver, and anyone near them. Yet, AAA reports that 17 percent of dog owners drive with their dog on their lap!

An unrestrained dog and a distracted driver equals a potential recipe for disaster. After all, it’s difficult to keep from interacting with your dog when it’s right next to you. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your risk for an accident.

A dog that is unrestrained in a car, no matter where it is sitting, is dangerous, especially in the front seat and even if your dog is a “calm” dog. “An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert roughly 300 pounds of pressure, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert approximately 2,400 pounds of pressure. Imagine the devastation that can cause to your pet and anyone in its path,” said Jennifer Huebner-Davidson, AAA National, Traffic Safety Programs manager.

  1. Air Bags & Dogs

The other problem with the front seat is air bags. Those front airbags are powerful when deployed, which is one of the reasons it is strongly recommended that children ride in the backseat. So keep your dog restrained in the backseat, unless it’s the size of a pre-teen.

  1. Backseat is Better

A dog roaming free in the back seat or rear of the car is safer than the front, but not ideal. If your pup is unrestrained, or separated from you by a gate, it’s still in danger. Not only is your dog distraction because it’s roaming free, if you get in an accident, your dog will be jostled around like a ping pong ball back there, or, worse, he could be thrown out of a window. It’s not worth the risk. Once again, use a restraint, even in the backseat, every time your pup travels with you in the car.

  1. Air on the Side of Caution

Yes, dogs love to put their noses out the window. However, you need to be careful. Litter or debris can hit your dog. In addition, dmv.org reports that heavy airflow can damage a dog’s respiratory system, especially if the weather is chilly outside.

  1. Travelling in Trucks

Once again it may seem obvious to most, but dogs that are travelling in the bed of a pick-up truck should be properly restrained. If the truck must stop quickly or is in an accident, the dog can be tossed around and even be thrown from the truck. Also, dogs that ride in the back of a truck can be hit by debris, and are at risk for lung damage due to velocity of air mass going into its lungs, which can cause damage over time. Really, it’s best for your dog to travel in the cab of your truck, and not the bed.

The bottom line:

To keep your dog safe while traveling in a vehicle it must be properly restrained, ideally in the backseat, without allowing it to stick its head too far out the window. That way, your chances of being distracted as the driver will be lessened, and your dog’s chances of surviving a potential crash will be greater. Also, the people that are traveling near you won’t be put at greater risk because you’re distracted.

Infiniti of Cool Springs offers a variety of New and Certified Pre-owned vehicles at its Cool Springs location, that will help keep your family — including your dog —  dog, comfortable and safe. Visit their showroom in person or see their vehicles online. Call today to make an appointment, 888-356-6427.

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