Go Dog Go!

Go Dog Go! is a 1961 children’s book about dogs who drive cars to a dog party. While this is a fanciful children’s book and we all know dogs can’t drive, according to a New York Times article, 90% of pet owners claim they travel with their pets, and dogs in cars are reality, not fantasy.

As part of the 2012 New York International Auto Show at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, GM/Chevrolet and my friend, international pet lifestyle expert Charlotte Reed, hosted National Pet Day with car buying and travel safety tips for pets. Chevrolet has recently been recognized by Bark Buckle UP, the go-to expert and research team on pet travel safety.

Safety restraints are not just for your pet’s safety

Pets should be restrained while you drive so you focus on the road and not on their antics in the passenger seat. It is a fact that distracted drivers are more likely to be involved in automobile accidents. In a crash, an unrestrained pet becomes a projectile which can inflict severe injury on itself or the human occupant(s) of the vehicle. Using a harness like the Tru-Fit Smart Harness I saw at the car show, rather than a collar for restraint, helps to distribute the force of impact over the entire chest instead of the neck. The Tru-Fit Smart Harness attaches to any seat belt via an integral loop.

If your dog always occupies the same seat for each car ride, you might want to consider a restraint device which takes advantage of the LATCH (lower anchor and tether for children) system such as the Pet Buckle Harness.

The LATCH has been installed in all cars manufactured over the past ten years and has two hard connection points mounted into the frame of the vehicle. It is typically used for attaching a child safety seat. When you attach the pet restraint device to this system, the seat belt can still be used by the human passengers, and unlike devices that attach to the seat belt, there is no slack, keeping your dog safely in the back seat.

Another nifty device I saw at the Auto Show was the “To Go Bowl.” This lidded bowl has a short, wide, detachable stem designed to fit into the cup holders in your car’s armrest or center console. The lid controls spills and when the stem is removed, the bowl sits flat on the ground or the floor of your hotel room. The stem functions as a treat or dry food holder. Please remember, even if your pet has a bowl of water, never leave your pet in a closed car, as the danger of heatstroke is real.

For additional information on traveling with your pet, consider getting a copy of the American Automobile Association’s book Traveling with Your Pet, available through AAA, Barnes & Noble, or for e-readers and tablets at online stores.

The ASPCA has tips specific to car travel with pets available on their website.

Chevrolet has kindly loaned The Animal Medical Center a Chevy Suburban to transport New York City patients and their owners to and from appointments with specialists during the month of May. If you happen to be in New York City, watch for the Summit White Chevy Suburban emblazoned with “AMC Transport” on the side doors and say high to our driver!

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2 Responses to Go Dog Go!

  1. Laurie Gianguzzi says:

    I was happy to see that they did this crash test for dogs, but I’m so upset to see how many dog seat belts/ harnesses failed to keep the pets safe.. I’m a dog owner and use dog seat belts for my 2 dogs but now I’m going to look to buy an extra heavy seat belt device to add to the existing one.. And I really hope this test and news segment changes the inadequate devices that are being sold and start making dog safety belts/harness that will in fact, keep our loving pets safe. Thank you for airing this segment..i hoping many dogs’ lives will be saved because of this important news.
    Thank you

  2. [...] Safety in the car is as important for dogs as it is for humans, and I recommend dogs ride with a restraint device and the windows rolled up. Although dogs love to ride with the wind in their muzzles, it is just not a safe way to travel. The bucket list of one dog, Rufus, included a ride in the family’s red convertible. Not the best vehicle for dog safety, but on one of his last days, the boys played hooky from school and took their beloved dog on the ride of his life with the top down and the wind in his face. [...]

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