How to Keep Your Dog Safe While Riding in Your Car

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OMAHA, Nebraska. According to Outside Online, an unrestrained dog in a car can become a flying projectile, that not only puts the dog’s life at risk but also its human companions sitting in the car. Here at Rensch & Rensch Law, we often write about the importance of having the right car safety seat for your child, or about the importance of buckling up every time you ride or drive. But what about safety for our furry friends? And how does animal passenger safety translate to human safety?

The risk that unrestrained animals pose to the animals themselves and to the humans in the car has led some states to take notice. According to Outside Online, New Jersey made it a violation of the state’s animal cruelty laws to drive your dog around unrestrained in your car. Other states may not all have followed suit, but it is important to consider animal safety if you plan to take your dog for a ride in your car.

So, what is essential when it comes to keeping your dog safe in an accident? According to Outside Online, there are three factors you should consider. One, is minimizing the distraction your dog can pose to the driver. You don’t want your dog jumping on your lap while you are driving or sitting on the acceleration pedal. Secondly, you want a restraint that protects your dog in a similar way that a human seat belt protects a human. Finally, you want a restraint that prevents your dog from going airborne, because this not only puts your dog at risk, but puts you at risk as well. Another factor to consider is whether a restraint will keep your dog secure after an accident. An unrestrained dog, panicked by a crash, can run onto the street, and get struck by other vehicles or get lost.

So, what can you do? If you have a larger dog, consider getting a crate that can bolt down to the floor of your vehicle—because the last thing you want is a crate going airborne. However, crates might not be the most effective in keeping your dog safe in a crash, because your dog can still go airborne within the crate and hit the crate walls.

Another alternative is a seat belt harness. Yet, in crash testing, many of the harnesses designed to attach to a car’s seatbelts failed, resulting in the dog still going airborne, or resulting in the dog being choked by the harness due to the forces being applied. Researchers testing these products found that in serious crashes, it was unlikely that the dog would survive. In crash testing, only one harness, the Load Up harness, was able to offer a reasonable degree of protection to both the dog and to humans in the car.

U.S. News and World Report also published a list of tested products for pet safety in the car. Generally, products that allow you to use the child safety latches in your vehicle offer more security, but more research needs to be done on how to keep pets safer in the event of a crash.

Have you been in an accident? Have you faced high vet bills as a result of injuries your dog suffered in a crash. All victims of car accidents may have the right to receive a recovery under the law if another person’s negligence resulted in costly injuries. Rensch & Rensch Law are car accident lawyers in Omaha, Nebraska who offer counsel to all victims of accidents.


Rensch & Rensch Law
7602 Pacific Street,
Suite 102
Omaha, NE 68114

Rensch & Rensch


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