Pet Wellness Driving Safety - Don't Be Brainless!

Car accidents are caused by many different situations. Some involve unsafe, inconsiderate drivers, others are caused by texting while driving, drunk drivers, and drivers driving unsafely with their dog. You would be surprised as to how many pets, owners, and other drivers are killed or severely injured due to an accident caused by a dog roaming freely in the car. Pet wellness refers to pets and people, so today let us learn how to drive safely with a dog so as to keep yourself, your dog and other people safe on the road.

Who's dog does not like to go for a car ride? I don't believe I am aware of a single dog amongst all my friends that does not like to go for a drive. The one exception I know off is my Saluki, Mystic Moon. He goes crazy for a bike run and not so much interested in driving in the car. However, even if your dog doesn't care much for a drive, there will still be times when he has to go in the car and safety rules, just like for our kids and ourselves, also apply to our dogs.

So what has made me seek out, research, and share this topic? Recently I visited a close friend in the hospital who was severely injured in a car accident that she admits was her fault because of her dog. His head was hanging out the window, which makes my friend nervous that he will fall out so instead of paying attention to the road she was watching to ensure her dog does not fall out of the car. She looked only for a second but that was all it took. The family in the other car, including both parents and their 2 children were severely injured and hospitalized as well. My friends dog was also injured and because the ambulance drivers tended to the people injuries first, her dog died at the scene of the accident.

I listened to my friend cry in the hospital bed at the fact that she was so stupid and insensitive - she knows how much her dog loves to hang his head out the window and she just wanted him to enjoy himself. But this also made her inconsiderate of the safety of other drivers and the safety of her dog.


While in the waiting room of the hospital, I met the parents of the couple in the other car. I went to speak to them to see how the parents and kids were doing and as they cried the mother shouted at me and said, "You people and your damn dogs! It's all you care about even more than children!" At the scene of the accident, my friend had admitted to the police that the accident was her fault and why. The police had communicated this to the parents of the car that was hit. I was gutted, and although an avid dog lover I could understand that woman's anger.

Being pet wellness savvy means knowing it is our responsibility to ourselves and others we share the road with, to ensure we follow the rules for safe driving. Here are some things every dog owner must remember in order to contribute to safer roads, safer driving, and pet wellness.

1. Head hangers and jumpers
Dogs just love to hang their head and often times paws, out an open window and feel the wind in their hair and watch all that goes by. If you are sure your dog won't jump - ever consider thinking again. It has happened many times and the first thing the owner says is, "He hangs his head out the window all the time and he never jumped before!" You think your dog is too intelligent to do something we consider so stupid? Dogs don't think like us. They are not aware of the many dangers and often times they become so interested in something they see they actually think they can make the jump - totally unaware that they can be hit by an on coming car or badly injured once they hit the pavement.

There are four main dangers with head hangers and jumpers.
  • The dog will injure himself in the jump.
  • The dog is likely to be hit by an on coming car.
  • On coming cars, who try to avoid hitting a dog that has come out of nowhere is likely to have an accident with another car.
  • The driver, for fear the dog may fall out the window, keeps one eye on the dog and one eye on the road. This can cause an accident. Or a driver seeing his dog fall or jump out the window, panics and causes an accident.
  • The dog can sustain eye injuries from flying particles in the air. This type of injury can cause corneal and ulcers in the eye. Painful for your dog and heavy on the pocket book for vet care.
2. Driver Distraction
Whether you care to admit it or not, dogs moving back and forth from one seat to another does distract the driver.

Here are some things that can happen when the driver is distracted by a dog jumping around the car.
  • A dog jumping on the drivers lap while driving causes distraction and can limit the drivers view of the road. Struggling to get the dog off the lap and struggling to see the road can cause the driver to have an accident
  • A dog moving freely around the car can cause distraction to the driver if the dog falls off the seat when the car comes to a stop, or if the driver has to stop suddenly. How many times has another driver cut you off and you have to put on the brakes suddenly? Or even if your dog is nicely sitting in the front seat, not moving around, he can fall off the seat and although perhaps not a serious situation, this distracts the driver causing an accident.
  • Your dog could lose his footing due to the movements of the car and slam his head into the dashboard. According to my vet, this is more common than people think.
  • Medium to large size dogs can block the drivers view of the rear and side view mirrors.
3. Car Lap Dogs
As much as you may hate to admit it, when a dog is sitting on the driver's lap while driving, it slows the drivers reaction time. The drivers ability to drive efficiently and act quickly is impaired. It also limits the drivers view of the road and turning the steering wheel is also more difficult.

4. Car Floor Movers
Many dogs and cats like to move around on the floor of the car. Well what do you think can happen if your dog or cat moves onto one the foot pedals? Yes, not something you or your fellow drivers want to experience because this is a solid accident about to happen. When this happens, forget that the driver is not pet wellness savvy - he is just plain inconsiderate and stupid.


5. Airbags and your dog
Airbags and dogs don't do well together. If an airbag is released it will seriously injure your dog. It is for this reason amongst many others a dog needs to ride in the backseat of the car.


Obviously this is not limited to only a car. The same goes for people that allow a dog to sit in the back bed of a truck while it's moving!

Pet Wellness Car Safety Rules

Pet wellness car safety rules say you can make your dog's ride in the car safe for him, yourself and other drivers by simply restraining him properly in the back seat. I know! My friends tell me how hard it is because they like to pet their dog while driving or enjoy him sitting next to them or on their lap. But, we don't let out kids drive unrestrained do we? They are in car seats or seat belts. Your dog, no matter how small, must be given the same rules when driving in the car.

To properly restrain your dog in the back seat use a seat belt or car seat specially designed for dogs and come in various sizes. Your dog can still feel the wind from an open window but the window should not be down so far that he can hang his head out. Dog owners who like to pet their dog while driving can still do so by reaching to the back seat - but this should be done only when the car is at a complete stop.

Pet wellness while driving advices safety first and pleasure later. Do not allow your precious pet to be the cause of an accident- because at the end of the day, when the accident or injury happens it will not be your dog's fault it will be yours. If your anything like my friend, you won't recover from knowing you were responsible for taking a life.
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Visit Health and Fitness Fairy to learn more about healthy living, healthy eating, and the most recent findings of health professionals in the world of people and pets.










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Tags: Canine, car, care, cat, dog, driving, pet, safety, wellness

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