Experts Speak Out on How to Travel Safely with Your Four-Legged Friends
We’ve all seen them, the drivers dawdling along distractedly, and as we go around to pass them, notice a small dog either sitting in the owner’s lap, or scurrying excitedly around the passenger compartment, and sticking its head out the window. Perhaps you’re that person who likes the cuddly companionship of your pet while you’re driving. Although driving with your pet in your lap may seem trendy and cute, it’s very dangerous for the both of you, and experts discourage the practice.
The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends a crate for long-distance travel, and a harness for short trips. Gordie Spater, president of the popular pet product company Kurgo, also discourages the practice of dogs riding unrestrained. "Dogs riding in the laps of drivers is on becoming more commonplace, as more people bring their dogs with them around town and on longer trips. This is a distraction, just like texting, and has the potential for multiple negative outcomes. First, the dog can cause an accident. Second, in an accident, the airbag will go off at about 200 mph which can easily injure a small dog even in a low-speed accident which humans would easily survive. Finally, in an accident, an unrestrained dog can be thrown with force and even be ejected from the vehicle. These problems are easy to avoid with a harness or booster seat, which will improve the quality of the trip for the dog and the owner."