Traveling with dogs: pet barriers

If you have a bigger dog, be it a Golden retriever or a Great Dane, using a car harness or dog seat belt is not a decent option. Your pooch will simply be too big to travel safely and comfortably on the back seat. Your bests options in this case are either a dog crate or a pet barrier, or possibly both. Today I’ll be taking a better look at pet barriers, a kind of metal  or plastic partition between the trunk and the back seat.

Disadvantages

'Universal' plastic pet barrier
‘Universal’ plastic pet barrier

One of the main disadvantages of pet barriers, especially the cheap universal ones, is that they have a bad fit. Because you’re supposed to adjust them to your own car, they will never fit perfectly which means they’re unstable and prone to collapsing. So if you have an energetic dog, or one who really wants to go and sit next to you, these pet barriers won’t hold them back for long.

Another flaw, though a minor one that can be easily fixed, is that when you open the trunk your four-legged family member can easily jump out of the car. To avoid him running off as soon as you open the trunk, it would be best to keep a leash on him when in the car so you can easily grab it to guide Max out.

Advantages

A sturdy and well-made pet barrier, like the vehicle-specific ones from Travall,

Vehicle-specific Travall pet barrier
Vehicle-specific Travall pet barrier

will keep your dog in the trunk where he won’t be able to distract the driver. If you are involved in an accident, it will also prevent your dog from being hurtled through the car and the windshield. This prevents him from hurting you or your passengers.  However, in a serious accident your dog will be liable to hitting the barrier with considerable force which can lead to serious injuries. If you use both a dog crate and a pet barrier this can easily be avoided.

So what does a pet barrier cost?

Well, prices vary depending on the quality. If you go for the universal plastic barriers, which I really do not recommend, you can get them for as little money as $30. A decent custom barrier in metal could set you back $200. Though I recommend you use it in conjunction with a dog crate so you’d have to add the cost of that one on top. But we only want the best for our dogs and for them to safe, right?

What do you feel about using pet barriers? What are your experiences with them? Good or bad, let me know.

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Seat Belts for Dogs

As much as I love drivers who make an effort to secure their pets in the car – meaning well could be the opposite of doing good.

Should you use a seat belt for your dog, your beloved pup might actually be in danger.

dog seat belt

True, seat belts prevent dogs from moving around in the car and thereby reduce distraction. They cannot, however, make sure that your pet doesn’t become a projectile in the case of an accident.

The manufacturers of pet restraints aren’t legally required to crash test their products before launching them on the market. That’s why we, as consumers, can never be sure whether the restraint will actually do its job and keep our pooches safe.

The Center for Pet Safety is the only research and consumer advocacy organization I know of that regularly tests harnesses and seat belts in standardized crash tests. So far, no dog seat belt has been approved. Nevertheless, there’s a harness that attaches to the car’s seat belt and met all safety requirements.

The main problem is the low quality of the dog seat belt that can be ordered online for as little as $ 8. During the tests, they ripped, tore and stretched. Some of the metal tongues could easily be bent and released the dogs, providing no safety at all. Others got stuck in the buckle and thereby damaged the car.

Crash test dummies sit still, of course. Pups that move around on the seat can step on the buckle and thereby release the metal tongue.

dog crash test dummy in a car

 

In a real accident, a dog that is thrown around the vehicle might suffer broken bones, internal injuries and severe trauma. What’s more, the impact of the dog will most probably injure the people in the car, too.

It makes me really sad that consumers are fooled into buying so-called safety equipment that doesn’t deserve its name. There are far better options out there that actually work – for the safety of your two- and four-legged family members.

What’s your opinion on dog seat belts? Have you come across misleading pet safety promises? Please leave me a comment. Thanks! 🙂 Ellie

 

Overview: Car Safety Items for Dogs

Car Crate

Dog Harness

Back Seat Barrier

Booster Seat

Leash and Zip Line

Traveling with Dogs: Leash and Zip Line

Pet Barrier logoHow it works

If you want to give your dog a sense of freedom in the garden, you might have considered a zip line or cable run. More or less the same system can be bought for the car: Kurgo and Solvit sell zip lines that are attached to two points in the car, for instance the ceiling handles or two seatbelts.

The walking leash of your pooch is then secured to the zip line, so that the dog can move across the length of the line on the back seats or the trunk. It can also be used in combination with a pet barrier.

leash and zip line for a dog in the car

 

Advantages

The main advantage of the zip line is that is it directly attached to the leash of your pooch. This way, you won’t have to attach a leash after taking the dog out of the car, as would be the case with a crate or booster seat.

Pet owners can just walk straight to the dog park or into the house. This might even prevent some from leaving their pets in the car on a warm day.

What’s more, the dog can’t get on the front seats and distract the driver, an important issue with regard to accident prevention.

 

Disadvantages

The main flaw with the product is that it doesn’t prevent injuries: there’s enough lead that the dog can jump out of the door when it’s open or even out of the window. In addition, your pup will hit the front seat when you suddenly have to stop or are involved in an accident.

Should you decide to use the zip line, make sure that the leash has a swivel. If not, the leash winds up whenever your dog turns, which might cause the carabiner to release.

The product is not the best option for two dogs. This is because their leashes will get tangled up when the pups move around on the backseat or in the boot, which can cause a dangerous situation.

 

Safer Options

To some, it might look like a good idea to allow the dog some freedom in the car. This, however, isn’t safe in an accident. Instead of a zip line, why not consider a crate for small pups or, for larger pooches, attach the zip line in the trunk and add a sturdy pet barrier?

dog in the car kept safe by a Travall pet barrier and divider

 

Overview: Car Safety Items for Dogs

Car Crate

Dog Harness

Back Seat Barrier

Booster Seat