New Crash Tests Designed to Keep Dogs Safe in Cars

The video proves quite disturbing for pet lovers, showing crash test dummy dogs flailing about inside or thrown from cars used in accident simulations. Some show just what can happen to an unrestrained pet in the event of a crash, while others reveal serious performance flaws in multiple products purported to keep our four-legged family members safe in cars. The aim is to help pet owners identify the products most effective at protecting pets while on the road.

Consider these statistics:

  • 78 million dogs reside in more than 46 million US. households according to the American Pet Products Association.
  • Some 56 percent of respondents to an AAA survey say they've driven with their dog in a vehicle at least once a month over the past year.
  • Unfortunately, just 16 percent of dog owners who have driven with their pet use some form of restraint while their dog is in the vehicle.
  • A full 84 percent of survey respondents admit to not using a restraint when they bring their dogs along on road trips.
  • Looking away from the road for only two seconds doubles your risk of being in a crash, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
  • An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at 50 mph will exert roughly 500 pounds of force, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert approximately 2400 pounds of force.

Results of the crash tests show that an unrestrained pet can suffer devastating injuries in a car crash.

"If the car comes to an abrupt stop, or some sort of injury like that where they're actually thrown into the dashboard, into the window, it can result in a lot of head trauma, spinal injuries, or broken bones," Veterinary Specialist Dr. Emily Davis told reporters recently.

When it comes to crash tests involving pet protection products, it's important to note that there currently are no safety standards for such products. That's why the Center for Pet Safety (CPS) set up the tests.

"We talk to pet owners all the time," said the CPS's Lindsey Wolko. "They've used ineffective products or they have just thrown their dog in the back seat of the vehicle and they're facing tens of thousands of dollars to reclaim their pet. And in some cases their pets are paralyzed, and some cases they don't get their pets back. And it's devastating for these people."

A few top performers among tested products are Gunner Kennel's G1 intermediate crate with eight-foot tie-down straps, the Pet Ego Forma Frame Jet Set carrier and the Sleepypod Clickit Sport Safety Harness. Low performers were those with extension tethers and zipline-style products. These actually boost injury risks.

We here at E3 Spark Plugs are automotive buffs and pet lovers, too. Before choosing a pet restraint product, be sure to check it out. Have you had a positive or negative experience with a particular product? Post your stories on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook Fan Page.

See video of the Center for Pet Safety's crash tests on mulitple pet retraint products.

Related post: See just how quickly a pet can overheat in a locked car - even in the shade.