Father’s day gift ideas dear to a dad’s heart

What do you do when Father’s Day is just around the corner and you’re stumped for a good, original gift idea?   Here at Pet Barrier, we have a couple suggestions that give protection to three things that are dear to a dad’s heart – his kids, his dogs, and his car.

Did you know that the AAA has calculated that the average American driver spends around seven 40-hour working weeks behind the wheel of a car in a year? This means that passengers including our children and our dogs are spending more time in our vehicles than we may realize, so giving extra thought to making vehicles as comfortable as possible is a priority.

Travall_Guard_Child_Safety_01.png

You may already have the best car seat for your child’s age, height, and weight, but there is one addition that you may not have thought about – a Travall® Guard. During a collision items that are unsecured in the trunk can be flung around the vehicle, putting passengers at risk of injury.  This can occur during the smallest fender bender or even when braking hard.  To shield vulnerable infants and young kids from these items, savvy parents are installing vehicle-specific barriers to keep kids protected and maximize valuable trunk space at the same time. Pet parents enjoy the ability to drive with fewer distractions while their favorite pooch is securely positioned to the rear of the vehicle.

Dogs in back of Jeep

Travall has been manufacturing the Travall® Guard for nearly thirty years.  Its use has grown rapidly by Europeans who understand and embrace the benefits of using vehicle-specific barriers in their vehicles.   Thankfully, the Travall® Guard is now available in America, so that we can provide that same level of protection for our most precious cargo.

The barrier offers a snug, precision fit, that can be installed without medication to your vehicle.  Installation takes an average of 30 minutes and unlike traditional, permanently installed cargo barriers, the Travall® Guard can be removed in minutes for use at another time. To give you further peace of mind and confidence in your purchase, the Travall® Guard comes with a limited lifetime warranty. It’s the one essential piece of gear that children and dogs won’t outgrow.

Want an additional suggestion? Consider vehicle-specific rubber car mats to give full-coverage protection against dropped sippy cups and other spills.  We hear Travall has an excellent range…

Visit https://www.travall.com to discover the Travall products available for Dad’s vehicle and make his day.

Happy Father’s Day!

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Home for the Holidays

Thanksgiving is almost here and the Holiday season is just around the corner.  We are therefore approaching one of the biggest travel periods of the year, with 54% of Americans travelling 50 miles or more at Thanksgiving and 23% travelling the same distance over the Holidays. According to AAA (American Automobile Association), 48.7 million Americans will be travelling to visit family and friends for Thanksgiving.  Of those, 89% will be driving and the average length of a Thanksgiving long-distance round trip is 549 miles. The high volume of traffic is replicated globally, as in the UK for example, 6.7 million journeys of 20 miles or more are made on Christmas Day. So how do you transport kids, pets, and luggage safely and comfortably and happily at a time of year when weather conditions can exacerbate the challenge of driving?

Here are some simple suggestions that can help to make the journey as great as the rest of the trip:

Get a Comfy Seat

Kids grow rapidly and what may once have been a very safe and comfortable car seat, may now have been outgrown by your child.  The diagram below shows car seat safety based on recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics. When you have established whether the car seat still meets your child’s needs, ensure that it is correctly fitted in your vehicle per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Car seat recommendations

 

Add a Pet Barrier

Many people use pet barriers routinely to transport a dog locally, but pet barriers become invaluable on long road trips when all your most precious cargo are on board. The barrier itself can ensure that your dog is safely enclosed and cannot distract the driver or disturb passengers.  It also prevents any luggage or loose gifts from shifting from the trunk to the passenger area of the vehicle should the driver need to brake suddenly.  If you add a pet barrier divider to the mix, you also have the perfect separation of luggage and pets.  So, no more chewed gifts before reaching your destination!

Pet barrier and divider

Take Time to Pack and Pack Extras

Aim to load the car with luggage and gifts before putting the pets and children in the vehicle.  Make sure you have a plastic trash bag in the passenger area. Items such as wet wipes, tissues and water bottles are also useful to have to hand.  Some blankets for changing weather conditions can be a useful addition.

Take a Break

When travelling with children and pets, it is always advisable to allow extra time for the journey.  Try to take breaks every few hours, or as required.  These breaks allow kids and pets to have some exercise and visit the restroom, but also allow the driver to take a rest from the intense concentration required during certain weather and traffic conditions.

Grab a Snack

Having a few healthy snacks and beverages available can make a trip pass more pleasurably and keep hunger pangs at bay. Be sure to avoid sugary food and drinks that might increase hyperactivity. It can also be helpful to have a few additional food supplies in the vehicle in case of extreme weather conditions or emergencies.

Snack ideas for kids

On-Board Entertainment

Some vehicles now have in-car entertainment built in, which is ideal for kids to watch their favorite movies. If your vehicle does not come equipped with this, a portable DVD player may be a good alternative. If you prefer to avoid electronic device overload and want a more all-inclusive entertainment approach, an audio book or music that everyone can listen to can be a fun option.  Stickers, felt pieces and pipe cleaners can be great for younger kids to fiddle with and they often love games of I-Spy whether on pre-printed sheets for them to check off or with the whole of the car joining in.  Older children may prefer car quizzes and, if they are truly craving electronics, downloading the Mad Libs iOS app ahead of time may be a good option.

 

With a little careful planning, what the kids (and even adults) may perceive to be a long and boring journey, suddenly becomes a lot more appealing. If you have any fail-safe tips that your family uses on long road trips with kids and pets, why not share them with other readers?  Whatever your plans during the Holidays, I wish you safe, pleasant travels and a happy and healthy 2017.

Happy Holidays

 

 

 

 

Distractionless driving with children and dogs

This week continues the posts about driving safer by avoiding distractions. Last time, I encouraged you to keep your attention on the road by ignoring your cell phone and not fiddling with the entertainment system or GPS. As promised, today I’ll be touching on tips for driving safer with children and dogs in the car.

Both children and dogs can be a pretty big distraction when you’re driving, but in different ways. Dogs generally form a distraction when they are free to run around in the car, unrestrained. When this is the case, they can startle the driver by nudging them or suddenly licking them. Even a dog who suddenly starts breathing right next to your ear because he wants to see out the windshield, can take you by surprise.

Suddenly seeing this in your mirror will startle you
Suddenly seeing this in your mirror will startle you

But maybe your pooch does none of this and sits politely on the backseat. Even then, you might get distracted as you are likely to be tempted to look back and see how your dog is doing. Taking your eyes off the road for even a second is potentially dangerous. Luckily, there is a simple solution: keep your dog restrained in a safe manner when he is in the car. This way, he cannot reach you and you will know without having to look that he is safe. There are several ways to achieve this, some like a kennel or a pet barrier are better than for instance a special seat belt or harness for reasons I have explained before.

Sleeping child: a rare sight
Sleeping child: a rare sight

Keeping your young children from distracting you can be a harder task. They too will seek your attention but instead of nudging you, they are more prone to shouting and screaming. Whether it’s demanding sweets or fighting with a sibling, it’s hard to ignore and the urge to look back and intervene will be strong. However, this would endanger you all. Instead, when going on a trip make sure you are prepared and have different ways of keeping

Trouble ahead
Trouble ahead

the kids occupied. This can take many forms, from having plenty of (preferably healthy) snacks to bringing toys, books, films and such. Of course, the good old fashioned ways of playing games such as I spy and singing songs works too, as long as you can still pay enough attention to the road while participating.

Next time when going somewhere with your dog or child, try to keep these simple tips in mind and try to focus on what’s going on outside the car and not what’s happening inside. Take measures to avoid distraction or just leave it to your co-pilot to handle it, if you are lucky enough to have one. Safe driving!

 

Activities: Dog Sports

This week’s activity is aimed at people and dogs with a lot of energy who like being active. So all the two- and four-legged couch potatoes can stop reading right here. If, however, your pooch is a bundle of energy and you are looking for a way to let him blow off some steam, why not try out a dog sport.

dog sports agility

There are a lot of dog sports out there. You’ll probably have heard of agility and flyball before, but what about dock jumping, hound trailing or scootering?  There are too many sports to list here, but you can see the list over here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dog_sports

There are a lot of advantages to doing sport with your pooch:

  • Exercise is healthy for both of you
  • It will stimulate your dog’s mind as well
  • A good way for your pooch to release some of that energy
  • It will strengthen the bond with your dog
  • A way of meeting new human and doggy friends
  • It’s just fun
Strengthening the bond
Strengthening the bond

If now I have you thinking that you’d like to try this, good! However, before jumping into this recklessly, do your research. Not every sport is suited for your dog’s breed and, especially, his or her personality. If you have found a sport suited for you, look up what it entails and how much time and effort you have to invest in it. If you are not willing to commit, you can save a lot of time by not starting it in the first place. If all this information hasn’t dissuaded you yet, you can start looking at clubs and schools in your area where you can learn the ropes and to guide you in the whole process.

Also, and this goes without saying, but make sure your dog is healthy and fit enough to participate in any of these activities. And when driving to the club or venue, make sure your dog is properly secured in the car with a crate or pet barrier.

But now, go out and have fun!

Is there a dog sport you’d be interested in? Are you and your four-legged friend active in a dog sports? Let me know in the comments and tell me what you like about it.

Car hammocks for dogs

The last car safety item for dogs I mentioned on my list in this post is the car hammock. The idea behind the car hammock for dogs is simple: it’s like a big backseat cover that runs between the top of the backseat to that of the front seat. This way the cover forms something resembling a hammock. It looks like this:

The Petego Car Hammock
The Petego Car Hammock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advantages

Car hammocks are made of waterproof materials and because they cover the entire backseat, your dog will not get the chance to dirty your seat with muddy paws. It also keeps your dog from shedding hair all over your seats. The hammocks can be easily removed for cleaning to get rid of the stains and the hair.

Most of the hammocks are equipped with slits that allow you access to the seat belts. This way you can use the hammock even when the dog has to share his seat with a human passenger. For those who are so inclined, it also allows you to combine the hammock with a car harness or seat belt for your pooch.

The car hammocks for dogs have one big advantage over say, a simple towel or blanket. Because they cover the footwell between front and back seat, your dog has more space. It also means you don’t have to worry about Fido falling in the footwell and possibly hurting himself.

Disadvantages

While they do keep your car clean, they do not keep your dog safe in the car. That is because car hammocks do not restrain your beloved pets in any way, instead allowing them to roam free in the back. Because it attaches to the top of the front seat, it does form a barrier between front and back seat. However, the hammock is in no way strong enough to actually contain your dog when it’s catapulted through the car in case of an accident. In fact, even in normal circumstances the hammock probably offers very little resistance to active and persistent dogs.

A box-like car hammock

Another downside of the hammock is that with the high side your dog might not be able to see you anymore which might cause anxious dogs to panic. Also, some hammocks are almost box-shaped which means that smaller dogs could also be unable to look out of the window, causing car sickness.

Conclusion

Car hammocks for dogs are a great and easy way to keep your back seat clean, but I cannot truly consider it a way of keeping a beloved four-legged family members safe while traveling by car. What do you think? Would you use a hammock to transport your dog in the car?

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.

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

Traveling with Dogs: Booster Seats

Pet Barrier logoIf you have a small dog like a Dachshund, a Chihuahua or a Yorkie, you might have considered an elevated seat for your pup. After all, our pets need to be restrained AND comfy at the same time, don’t they? And doesn’t a dog in a booster seat make us feel like we have a cute little baby in the car?

Booster Sets for Dog in the Car

Unlike seats for kids, however, booster seats don’t have to fulfil any safety requirements, nor do they undergo crash tests. Thus, if you can bent the frame with your hands, the seat won’t be sturdy enough to keep the dog safe in an accident, so stay away from these products as they might hurt your pup.

They main function of a seat is to keep the dog restrained. That’s why the seats come with a safety strap or clip for your pet’s harness. Never use collar as it may cause your dog to choke if he or she tries to get out of the dog car seat. In addition, very energetic pups will jump and hang themselves from the safety strap if they wear a collar.

 

How safe are car seats for dogs?

This depends on how the seat is fitted in the car. Pulling the seatbelt through the back of the booster seat is a lot safer than attaching straps to the car seat and the headrest. If your dog’s weight is 10lbs or more, the straps will stretch under the weight and, in an accident, the booster seat might be tossed around the car. There are also dog booster seats for the center console, but these are only held in place with elastic straps.

 

How NOT to make your own dog car seat

Do a quick research online and you’ll find booster seats made of an old plastic drawer and duct tape or a laundry basket. Seriously? Would people also use DIY booster seats for their kids just to save a couple of dollars?

make your own dog booster seat

Like kids, pets are family members and it’s our duty to protect them from danger. Even if I had small dogs, I wouldn’t go for a car seat. The seat might prevent your pooch from sitting in your lap or escaping through the open window. In an accident, however, the frame of the seat might bend out of shape and injure your dog. A crate is a much safer option.

 

Overview: Car Safety Items for Dogs

Car Crate

Dog Harness

Back Seat Barrier

Back Seat Barriers for Dogs

Do your pups love riding shotgun? Do they climb on the passenger seat or maybe even in your lap while you’re driving?

One way to prevent this is the fitting of a back seat barrier, which is a mesh partition attached to the front seats.

back seat barrier for dogs in the car

Admittedly, a back seat barrier prevents some – less artistic – pups to get into the passenger seat or climb into the driver’s lap. Transporting pets in the back seats or the trunk is a much safer option as it reduces distraction (looking away from the road for only two seconds doubles your risk of being in a collision).

What’s more, your dog might be killed when the passenger airbag deploys. Airbags are made to protect an ‘average person’ of 165lb; the force of the impact is too strong for animals and children.  By the way, this is the reason why the passenger airbag must be switched off when there’s a baby carrier on the passenger seat.

 partition for dogs on the back seat in the car

On the flip side, back seat barriers have many disadvantages. First and foremost, the mesh is not strong enough to prevent the dog from becoming a projectile in case of an accident. An unrestrained 10-lb dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert about 300 lb of pressure, while an 80-lb dog at only 30 mph will exert approximately 2,400 lb of pressure. Neither the mesh itself nor its fastenings are sturdy enough to deal with such a force, so mesh barriers aren’t crash tested!

It’s no secret that dogs like chewing, and the nylon mesh might be just their thing. Should the thick nylon threads get stuck, they might cause peritonitis (an infection in the abdomen) and need to be removed surgically.

If you’ve already got a back seat barrier and want to keep your pooch safe, restrain them with a harness. A high-quality product will prevent them from climbing over the partition and, more importantly, from hitting the front seats in a crash.

Back seat barriers are sometimes referred to as “safety partitions”, but this is misleading. If you want to keep your pups safe in the car, you simply don’t buy a mesh barrier. There are far better alternatives, for instance a car crate or a Travall Guard, which will be discussed in a future post.

 

Overview: Car Safety Items for Dogs

Car Crates for Dogs

Dog Car Harnesses