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Doggie seat belts: For pet health and safety?

Posted on: July 12th, 2010 by

By: H.R.
Pets Best Insurance Editorial Manager
A dog rests his head on the passenger's side of a car.
When it comes to strapping your pup into a car, pet owners are split. Some think doggie seat belts are a great idea to protect pet health and ensure safety, while others think the devices could be problematic or just another restraint they’ll have to teach their dogs to tolerate.

There are many versions of the doggie seat belt, but the most common is a harness-type device that can be secured with the vehicle’s seat belt. Another style looks more like a child’s booster seat and can also be fastened with the vehicle seat belt.

When we recently asked on the Pets Best Insurance Facebook page whether our pet-owning friends used a doggie seat belt, about two-thirds of the 25 respondents said “yes.” Some even shared personal stories about what happens during accidents (or even sudden stops) when dogs aren’t restrained.

Whether or not a pet owner decides to use a doggie seat belt is up to him or her—but here are both sides of the debate so you can determine whether you’d feel safer with Fido secured in the car.

PROS:
According to dogseatbelt.net, doggie seat belts are an excellent idea for pet health and safety when you’re roaming around town with Rover in tow.

“In the case of an accident, a quick turn or a sudden stop, your dog can become a missile and can… severely injure not only themselves, but also the people in the vehicle.”

The site goes on to say that in the case of a serious accident, the doggie seat belt can keep your pooch from attacking workers who are there to help assist if there’s an accident.

“Also, [without a doggie seat belt] your dog could get out of the vehicle and run into traffic and could get hurt or killed, cause another accident or run away.”

Drivers should also be aware of the distractions that can be caused by a free-roaming dog in the vehicle. A doggie seat belt will likely ensure that the driver’s vision isn’t compromised and will keep the pooch from getting in the driver’s way of operating the vehicle—which will ultimately ensure pet health and safety, as well as the driver’s.

CONS:
According to dogtime.com, it might be hard to train your dog to use the doggie seat belt—especially if you have an energetic dog or one that is used to having free reign inside moving vehicles.

“If your dog has previously had freedom in the car, and she likes to hang her head out the window or tell the drive-through bank teller she’d like a biscuit, she’s probably not going to be a happy camper,” the website says.

Another problem, as one of our Facebook friends posted, was that owners may go through lots of seat belts if their dogs like to chew.

Overall, it seems that once dog owners have a close call or think about the seat belt topic, they’re sold on the idea. Others may take a little longer to come around. If you’re still in the consideration phase, talk to your veterinarian to see which styles and brands they recommend.

And finally, if you have a pet insurance plan with Pets Best Insurance, any injuries sustained in a car accident will be covered at 80% after the deductible.

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