Monday, 23 February 2009

Bark Buckle UP campaign reminds us to travel safely with dogs

Some of us are lucky enough to have pets who travel beautifully; others struggle to get their four-legged friends to see the car as a safe place. You've probably thought long and hard about their welfare, planning appropriate stops and exercise, buying travel bowls and so on. But have you thought about yours, too?

The UK Highway Code states:

When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.


Bark Buckle UP is a campaign that aims to educate people across the pond about safely travelling with their dog. They emailed us with a link to their website, and I thought I'd pass it on to our readers as there's some very useful advice there.

Distraction of the driver is the most obvious, immediate danger, but what about after that? This is the paragraph that sent a chill down my spine:
"In an accident, an unrestrained animal is dangerous to the human passengers as well. Even in an accident of only 30 mph, a 15-pound child can cause an impact of more than 675 pounds. A 60-pound dog can cause an impact of 2,700 pounds, slamming into a car seat, a windshield, or another passenger. Even if the animal survives, it can impede the progress of rescue workers for whom every moment is precious."
So if you're planning a half term, Easter, summer or any other trip with your dog this year, consult with your vet, ask for reviews online and generally do your research about the best way to keep your dog safely out of harm's way. Think carefully about not just the most comfortable but the safest way for your precious pooch to travel. A few precautions can prevent accidents and save lives.

Update: Twitter follower @jjjen points out that it's not safe to put a dog in the front seat where there's an air bag. It's probably always best to confine them to the back where possible.

[Image Source: RelentlesslyOptimistic's Flickr stream]


cambstreasurer said...

Do you have any thoughts about the relative safety of dog crates vs. seatbelts? Crates are a lot simpler to use, particularly when you're moving dogs you don't know, but I would imagine a high speed crash would still cause serious injury if the dog was thrown from the back of the crate to the front. On the other hand, some "seatbelt" arrangements for dogs looked to me as though they might risk hanging the dog.

Anonymous said...

Also something to consider is that the boot and bonnet are the areas that are meant to be crushed if a crash occurs in order to minimise the force of impact. Do you really want your pets in the boot in this case??? Obviously if a car is full that is the only area free but it is something to think about.