Like a lot of dogs, our dog, Bowie, enjoys car rides because he knows they ultimately end up in a trip to the dog park, a visit with family and friends (where he’ll get lots of attention), or an adventure like our city’s annual Running of the Wieners race.
Bowie is a mini-dachshund, but his personality is anything but miniature.
His intense joy about car rides was a little much at times, especially if you were the only person in the car with him. Bowie’s desire to look out the window or to just be close – including getting between my husband and the steering wheel – could be a little challenging.
Recently a neighbor shared that her own mini-dachshund unexpectedly chose to jump from her car. The sad end to that story was enough to send us shopping for a safety restraint for Bowie the very next day.
Our modest purchase of a $30 safety harness has resulted in all the drivers in our family being even more focused behind the wheel and a calmer, more content canine passenger. But the long-term benefits are even greater:
- The chances of Bowie’s love for car rides causing an accident are significantly reduced, and this protects not only those in our car, but also the other drivers around us. Bowie is safely in one spot, not on our laps, wanting to go from passenger to driver and back. In retrospect, we imagine he felt anxious without a restraint. Strapped to his own seat belt, Bowie is much more relaxed and settles in quickly.
- Stronger and more reinforced than a regular dog harness, safety harnesses are designed to work with the car’s seat belt to secure our dog and prevent him from being ejected from our car in case of accident, protecting him as well as other drivers.
It’s true: we treat our dog like a furry family member. He has brought an additional layer of happiness to our lives. So, while we’d do just about anything for our dog, this article isn’t just the ramblings of an overly-enthusiastic dog owner. There is actually a national organization, Be Smart, Ride Safe®, dedicated to spreading the word about pet safety and reducing distracted driving. If you’ll check out the statistics on their site, you’ll find that pet-related distracted driving is a very real concern that affects thousands of people every year. It doesn’t have to.
Please think about how the small step of securing your pet can make a big difference for you, your pet and everyone else on the road.
Note: There are restraint tools to keep pets other than dogs safe, too. Please talk to your veterinarian about the best safety plan for any pets who travel with you.