I personally do not use a seatbelt for any of my dogs, instead I have a grille that goes across the back of my 4x4 keeping the dogs firmly in the back of the car when out driving.
However, for some of us I accept this is not an option, be it because you don't have a 4x4 but rather you own a saloon (sedan) or maybe even a 2 seater sports or pick-up. Which leads me to ask, how do you restrain your dogs?
Now in Ireland it is now being considered making it a requirment in law to restrain your dogs by seatbelt or the like, however, are they really that safe?
While we all accept the need to fasten our seatbelts when travelling in a car, there are currently no laws to govern dogs, cats – or any other pet for that matter. And with some dogs weighing up to 60kg, this could have serious consequences in the event of an accident.
But Irish Transport Minister, Leo Vardadkar is in talks with the Road Safety Authority following a comment received from a member of the public. There are no plans to make the use dog seatbelts compulsory at this stage, but opinions are being gathered.
Vardadkar told the Irish Independent, “The general advice is that neither people nor objects should be unrestrained when travelling in vehicles”.
The plan has received the backing of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA), which said:
“If you have a child in the car, even a reasonably sized dog can come through like a missile and you have 30kg, 40kg, 50kg or 60kg going around the cabin. It could cause terrible damage”.
The ISPCA's Chief Executive, Noel Griffin went on to say, “Nobody's trying to be a spoilsport, but ultimately losing the family pet could be the consequence”.
There's been a decidedly lukewarm reception to the idea on twitter, with @BenFlanagan2 rolling out a #SoStupid hashtag.
Similarly, @upraxis produced a damning verdict, claiming, “Country falling apart and they want to give dogs seat belts”.
@PetLawNews urged caution by tweeting: “They must not have read the reports that dog restraints do not protect injuries to dogs”.
Law or not, from a welfare perspective alone, surely it makes sense to insist that your canine friend buckles up when travelling in the car. The risk of the dog literally flying through the car in the event of an accident is plain to see, but a loose animal could be enough of a distraction to actually cause the incident in the first place.
We found dog seatbelts and harnesses on the internet for around the £10 mark. Not a huge price to pay to keep man's best friend safe?
Or is this another case of the nanny state taking things too far? You decide.
After some research I came across this site. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012pe...web9612738.htm
which shows a study of a test group of randomly chosen seatbelts for dogs from which I have taken extracts...
A pilot study conducted by the Center for Pet Safety has shown that pet safety restraints used in cars may be unsafe, leaving the animals to become projectiles, possibly causing severe injury or death to the animal and potential injury to human family members if an accident occurs. The Center for Pet Safety is located in Haymarket, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC.
Currently, animal restraints are not held to specific safety standards and testing by the manufacturer is not a requirement.
There are currently no official standards to measure performance success, nor are manufacturers required to test their products for this category of pet product. So who says 'safe' is safe?"
While Wolko agrees that tethering or containing your pet may help reduce incidents of distracted driving, any other safety claims must be proven through the development of performance criteria and test methodologies. "Saying that these products prevent your pet from becoming a projectile in an accident is a potentially misleading statement. In our pilot study, the harnesses tested failed to keep the dog from becoming a projectile in a standardized crash simulation."
The pilot study conducted by the Center for Pet Safety in 2011 indicated a 100% failure rate of a set of four popular animal travel harnesses crash tested according to the conditions of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 for child safety seats. FMVSS 213 was selected as it is commonly referenced by some pet product manufacturers and pet safety advocates as a general standard.
A total of 12 restraints from major brands within the pet product industry were purchased from online vendor/manufacturer websites and delivered by independent carrier (UPS, USPS,etc) to the test laboratory. The restraints were received in new, unused condition with intact packaging. The restraints were handled only by laboratory personnel. Out of an initial sampling of 12 brands, four harnesses were selected as a "control group". Selection of the control group was based on perceived strength of the materials and design, associated marketing materials that indicated testing had been completed by the manufacturer and the reputation of the manufacturer in the pet travel product marketplace – similar to the way the consumer would select a product for purchase. Although not identified in the study, the control group harnesses are considered quality brands within the pet product industry and are widely marketed as safety devices for companion animal travel.
"We have re-sampled these products and performed follow-up testing to confirm our initial findings," says Wolko. "While we did not test all brands of harnesses in our initial pilot study, our sampling was broad enough for us to gain better insight regarding the expected performance of these products when tested to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 conditions. Their safety is not guaranteed and the buyer should beware."
Obviously the report goes into greater depth than what I have placed within the excerpts/quote boxes, but I think you will agree that this subject is somewhat concerning.
If I buy a harness that is marketed as being suitable to protect my dog from injury/becoming a projectile in the car during a crash I surely expect it to perform without problems. Yet despite being marketed as being capable it would seem that a good many are not?
How does one know which seatbelts work and which don't if the findings of this report (failures) are not made public, why havent they been made public?
How safe is your dog wearing one a seatbelt?