Pooches need to clunk click too!
Seatbelts for dogs – The Cuddly Killer.
It’s impossible not to smile at the sight of a dog with its head out of a car window – hair and gums blown back in the wind, but the Highway Code is clear that drivers must ensure "dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so that they cannot distract you whilst you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly". Failure to comply can lead to hefty fines, as a motorist with a Chihuahua on his lap recently found out.
We are all rushing around trying to battle through the traffic to get from A to B as quickly as possible with the kids and dog herded into the car. It wouldn’t occur to any of us now to set off without making sure our passengers have their seatbelts on – but an unrestrained dog is not only a huge distraction but also capable of causing considerable injury to the passengers if an accident occurs (as well of course to itself!). A medium sized dog, such as a spaniel, can weigh 45 to 50lbs – so that is 45 to 50lbs of unrestrained weight being catapulted around the car in an accident.
During a 30mph accident a dog’s body weight also increases by more than 30 times. So that spaniel now weighs nearly a tonne.
As fun as it is to see a dog with its head sticking out of the window, ears and lips flapping uncontrollably, make sure that your dog is properly restrained for its own safety and the safety of everyone else in the car. There are all sorts of products on the market to include a dog seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or guard.
It’s worth adding that insurance companies are also very keen to look at where a dog was in a car at the time of an accident. If an insurer believes that a dog was roaming freely around the vehicle and could have contributed to the accident then the insurance company could refuse to pay out - which wouldn’t be a Happy Dog Story ending.