29 July 2009

Dog Poking Head Through Car Window is Dangerous

Tongue flailing, ears pushed back by the wind and its tail wagging happily. Driving down the highway with a shaggy dog poking its head out the car window is an iconic American image.

However, like the 70-mph lap-child, it’s an image that should be relegated to times gone by. People who would never consider Junior riding in anything less secure than a state-of-the-art child seat will still allow a 75-pound dog to roam free at highway speeds within a car’s passenger compartment.

Properly securing a pet while riding inside a moving vehicle not only makes it a safer ride for an animal, it helps keep the interior clean and avoids potentially hazardous situations. It may be exciting to see a flying squirrel or flying fish in the wild, but within the confines of an automobile, a soaring schnauzer is a danger to both man and beast.

According to pet safety Web site barkbuckleup.com, when driving 35 mph, a 60-pound unrestrained dog can cause an impact of 2,700 pounds, slamming into a car seat, windshield or passenger. Keeping the animal restrained is the first step toward the comfort and well-being of all living things within your automobile.

For small dogs and pets, purchasing a portable kennel is the simplest answer, particularly a carrier that’s already familiar and comfortable to the pet. These can easily be securely strapped down in the back of a station wagon, minivan or SUV or, with appropriate fastenings, in the backseat of a passenger car. “In-vehicle pet restraints should be part of every dog owner’s safe travel practices,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States.

Going several steps further, Honda recently showed a concept version of its boxy Element crossover wagon that’s purposefully dedicated to hauling the family dog, right down to paw-print logos on the fenders. “In an interesting turn of events, cars are now chasing dogs,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda. “Factory integration of a cushioned pet bed, restraint systems and other components are intended to transform the Element into the ultimate dog car.”

With its concept vehicle, Honda has paid dogged attention to canine comfort and safety. Older dogs, particularly those too big to be carried, can enter via a ramp into the rear cargo area.

Other features in the dog-friendly concept Element include a cushioned pet bed in the cargo area with an elevated platform, a rear ventilation fan, second-row seat covers, rubber floor mats and a spill-resistant water bowl.

[Source: Daily News]