For pet parents who drive with their dogs, safety is one of the main concerns. You would not put your child in the car without a seatbelt; dogs need adequate protection while in the car, too.
Many pet parents wonder, however, exactly how pet carrier companies know which of their carriers are safest. The answer is easy: they test them just as they do with automobiles and human seatbelts and airbags.
Doggie Crash Test Dummies
While crash testing for human products is widespread, crash testing for dogs is not. This results in many of the dog safety products on the market being of questionable functionality, which leads to increased injuries with pets and heartache for pet parents.
In order to test dog carriers for safety, The Center for Pet Safety joined forces with the car company Subaru and NASA engineers. This powerful team created a series of doggie crash test dummies designed to mimic the weight, height and size of several different dog breeds, including a 75 lb. Golden Retriever, 45 lb. Border Collie and a 25 lb. Terrier breed. The crash test dummies are then placed inside a variety of carriers and sent through an automotive crash test. This helps dog carrier manufacturing companies ensure that their carriers are safe for a variety of breeds.
Fortunately, the advent of doggie crash test dummies has served to make pet restraint products safer and to identify important gaps in the overall functionality and security of these products. Crash testing for dog carriers has also raised standards in the industry and resulted in more stringent requirements for all carriers on the market. Thanks to the invention of so-called “indestructible dogs”, real dogs are safer in cars across the country.
How to Keep Dogs Safe Inside of Carriers
While the results from the NASA, Subaru and Center for Pet Safety partnership were promising, there are many things pet parents can do to ensure their dogs stay safe in the car. First, dogs should always fit properly inside of a pet parent’s carrier of choice. The carrier should be snug enough to constrain the dog and prevent her from slamming against walls in the event of a crash while also being large enough that the dog can turn around, lie down and stand up.
Additionally, the carrier should always be secured inside of the car with anchor straps rather than bungee cords. This is important because bungee cords will allow the pet carrier to move or become a projectile in the event of a crash. Store-bought anchor straps, however, are sturdy and designed to hold the carrier in place in the event of a crash.
When shopping for a dog carrier, make sure the ones you consider have been crash-tested and proven safe for dogs. Check out the 2015 top performing crate carriers for more information.