In our Phoenix personal injury law firm, we rarely see cases of injuries to a pet dog in a car accident; however, it does occur. I am sure you are aware that dogs are allowed to ride in automobiles without restraint and are often allowed to stand with their heads out window! I am sure you agree that a dog is a beloved family member, whose loss you would mourn just as greatly. I am sure you would agree that medical care for a dog is as expensive as medical care for its master. More often or not, a dog owner will not have medical insurance on the dog for economical reasons.
Reasons for restraining a dog include:
- An unrestrained dog can easily distract a driver
- An unrestrained dog in the front seat can be killed by an airbag
- An unrestrained dog can become a projectile in a crash and become a danger to other passengers
- An unrestrained dog can interfere with the steering wheel, gear shift or gas/break pedals
- An unrestrained, injured dog might present a danger to emergency workers trying to rescue you from a damaged car.
A sturdy metal crate or kennel is probably the safest way to transport your pet as long as there is a way to secure it in place. Before placing the crate, do research on the crumple zone of your vehicle and do not place the crate inside that area. If possible, apply a harness to your dog inside the crate so he will not injure himself by hitting the sides of the crate in an accident.
Safety harnesses that fasten to the vehicle's seatbelt system is the second best method of keeping your dog safe in the car. Research these before buying because there is a wide variation in quality. Make sure the area around the dog's chest is amply padded.
Car and booster seats for smaller dogs offer protection if they are heavily padded, have a means to secure them to the vehicle seat belts and have a harness to secure the dog inside the seat. Research these before buying because there is a wide variation in quality. (Never attach any safety device to a neck collar because your dog could be strangled in a crash.)
Plastic carriers and car barriers provide virtually no protection in a major crash. To obtain more information on this subject, go to http://dogs.about.com/od/safetytips/tp/Car-Restraint-Options-For-Dogs.htm.