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

 

 

 

 

Dog beach: paradise of sand and water

Paradise
Paradise of sand and water

Last week I started the new topic of things to do with your dog by advising you to take your pooch to a new area during the (daily) walk. This will stimulate and motivate them, just like it does humans. Think about it, sometimes you get in a routine and after a while it just starts to feel like a drag. So we go on holiday for a change of scenery and new sights. This is exactly what you’ll be doing for your dog by changing their route.

Today’s advice is pretty close to last week’s, however instead of turning into a new street on the walk, why not go a bit further and take your four-legged family member to the beach. If the new street was like a holiday, then the beach will be like paradise to your dog, a paradise of sand and water.

Making new, somewhat strange, friends
Making new, somewhat strange, friends

For a lot of dogs, the beach is like a foreign place on a planet that is just waiting to be explored. The beach sand will hold thousands of scents from people, various animals, other dogs, and who knows what else. And for the dog who isn’t afraid of water, swimming in the sea will bring exercise to a whole new level. A trip to the dog beach holds numerous possibilities to occupy your dog. From running and swimming to playing fetch, exploring and meeting new friends or just enjoying some sunshine, this doggy paradise has it all.

This Lab want to take the sandy paradise home with him
This Lab want to take the sandy paradise home with him

Before taking your dog to beach, however, you should be prepared. First, look up what is allowed on your local (dog) beach. Are dogs allowed off-leash? Are they only welcome during certain times? Next, prepare yourself for a very dirty dog at the end of the day. After frolicking on land and in the sea, you’ll probably want to wash and dry your dog before heading home, especially if you came by car. Though in that case I suggest you also protect your car by equipping it with some sturdy rubber mats. Also, do not forget to bring plenty of food and fresh water for your pooch. They will get thirsty and should not drink from the salty sea water! Keep an eye out for heat stroke too in summer and make sure there is some shade if you stay for a

longer time. Lastly, do not forget to clean after your dog in case he does his business on the beach. This way everyone can enjoy a nice beach!

Would you be willing to take your dog to doggy paradise? Or have they already been to this magical land of sand and water? Feel free to share your stories and anecdotes in the comments.

Traveling by car with your dog

Last week’s post was about the last of the car safety items: the hammock. Today’s topic is also about traveling but in a more general sense. I’ll be covering some tips and advice about traveling with your dog. Again, my focus will be on traveling by car, though some of it will be valid in other situations too.

Be prepared

Before going anywhere with your pooch, make sure you have packed all the necessary ready to go. This ranges from truly vital stuff such as a leash and food to more trivial things such as their favorite toy animal. The full list of basic doggy travel kit includes, in random order:

dog treats
Bring lots of treats
  • Food and treats
  • Food and water bowl
  • Water bottle for in car and on walks
  • Leash and collar, also a back-up one
  • Towels and blankets
  • Bedding
  • Brushes and other grooming tools
  • Bags to clean up after your dog
  • First aid kit
  • Toys and distractions to keep them busy during the ride
  • Any necessary medication
  • The number of a vet at your destination, and your own vet’s number too
  • crate, barrier or other preferred way of securing your dog in the car

Health

I strongly advise that before you leave you take the dog for a check-up at the vets. This way you can both go on adventure without any worries. It also wouldn’t do any harm to inquire whether your pooch might need some vaccinations to protect him from viruses that are common in your destination. These might not be the same as can be found in your home area, thus your dog could be unprotected against them.

In the car

Make the car ride fun
Make the car ride fun

The day has come and now you’re in the car and en route to your great holiday adventure. Dogs are not people, but when it comes to car travel their needs are similar. Just like us they need frequent stops to stretch their legs and have a pee break. Make sure that water is always available to them at these stops to avoid dehydration.  And just like kids, you’ll need to keep your dog entertained. Some dogs may love just looking at the windows during the whole ride, but most dogs I know get bored and start fussing after a while. So give them a bone to chew on, or play a small game that will stimulate their minds.

Keep all this in mind and your trip will turn out great. What are the thing you do to prepare for a car ride with your dogs. Are there things that you just have to take along Let me know in the comments.

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

Dog Car Harnesses

The most important question is: Are dog harnesses safe?

The answer depends on the dog harness you’ve chosen for your pup. While most harnesses keep the pet from roaming around in the car, they may not be safe in an accident. On the website of the Center for Pet Safety, one of the non-profit organization’s employees tells us the sad story of her Cocker Spaniel Maggie:

I was driving Virginia I-66 during the morning rush hour. A car cut in front of me and I had to slam on the brakes. Maggie was screaming in pain.  I discovered the harness tether had wrapped around her back legs and she was thrown and hit the back of the front seat. She was hurting and scared and I couldn’t get to her fast enough.

Maggie Centre for Pet Safety

The problem is that there are currently no government standards or tests in the pet accessories sector. Even the Consumer Products Safety Commission fails to deal with pet safety items.

Some manufacturers claim their products are crash-tested. This, however, can mean different things: the harness could have been tested in their own facilities, or maybe it was tested but failed.

There’s good news, though: the Centre for Pet Safety developed some testing standards, regularly carries out crash tests and publishes the results online. At the moment, they only recommend one harness: the Clickit by Sleepypod.

What’s important is that dog harnesses can only be used on the back seat, never on the passenger seat. In addition, make sure there’s little movement for your dog to prevent whiplash in the event of an accident.

dog harness in crash test

 

Dog car harness vs. crate

Harnesses won’t work for pups with very slim heads, such as Greyhounds, Whippets, Salukis, Afghan Hounds, Russian Wolfhounds (Borzoi). Thus, a crate would be a safer alternative. Here’s some more info on dog crates.

Which type of dog harness is best?

Basically, there are two designs of dog harnesses, either with a loop for the seatbelt over the dog’s shoulders or a harness with a separate belt and a clip for the seat-belt buckle. The latter design is unsafe as the clips and the stitching of the belt failed in crash tests.

What size dog harness do I need?

The right size is paramount to the safety of the harness and the comfort of your pet. Measure around you dog’s chest just behind the front legs and then around the neck:how to measure the size of a dog harness

The image is taken from: https://sleepypod.com/shop/dog-harness/clickit-dog-harness.html.

 

What’s your opinion on dog harnesses? Which product do you use?

Next week, I’ll take a closer look at mesh partitions for cars. Hope to see you again!

 

Overview: Car Safety Items for Dogs

Car Crates for Dogs