Try digitalPLUS for 10 days for only $0.99

Unleashed

Unleashed A blog for animals and the people who love them
Lifestyle Pets Unleashed

Sit, Stay: dog seat belt study

On the surface, those doggie seatbelts and car harnesses featured in catalogs seem like a good idea. After all, if we buckle up on the road, shouldn’t our pets? The difference is that while human seatbelts are carefully tested and held to strict quality and design standards, the same is not true for pet restraints, so there’s no guarantee Fido or Fluffy is actually safer wearing one.

That may be about to change. Carmaker Subaru of America, Inc., announced it has teamed up with the Center for Pet Safety to fund testing of car safety restraints for pets.

The partnership was launched after a study by the Center for Pet Safety found that most pet safety restraints currently available do not provide adequate protection for animals in car crashes. In the study, a 55-pound crash-test dummy dog was belted into four commercial pet restraints and sent into 30 mph crashes, mimicking tests conducted on child safety seats by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). None of the four harnesses held up to manufacturer claims, and the center's scientists found they could actually lead to serious or fatal injuries for the pets and their human drivers.

You can watch one of the crash tests on YouTube -- remember that what you see is a crash-test dummy dog and not a real animal.

A 2011 study by AAA found that 83 percent of participants thought driving with an unrestrained pet in the car was dangerous, but only 16 percent said they used car restraints to keep their pets in their seats. Twenty-three percent admitted taking their hands off the wheel to to hold dogs in place while braking. A handful of states, including New Jersey, Hawaii, and Rhode Island, have laws on the books that dictate where and how pets can ride in vehicles.

Subaru’s funding will be used to develop standards for pet harness and seatbelt testing, and then put those products through tests to determine safety ratings for them.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Study says dogs at work lower humans' stress

    Study says dogs at work lower humans' stress

    I work at home most of the time and usually enjoy the Labragator’s close company near my desk (except on rainy days, when she heads upstairs for a snooze on my bed). She’s a great office mate: She doesn’t burn popcorn, play awful music, gossip on the phone while I’m trying to write, or swipe my...

  • Another dog-treat recall

    Another dog-treat recall

    Here we go again. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced another voluntary recall of several brands of pet treats due to possible salmonella contamination, which can be dangerous both to pets and to people who handle the treats.

  • Most popular dog breeds of 2012 [Pictures]

    Most popular dog breeds of 2012 [Pictures]

    Outta the way, pipsqueaks. Big dogs are moving up in the world. The American Kennel Club released its annual list of most popular dog breeds last week and said the biggest trend is the upward mobility of big breeds, which have ousted their pint-sized cousins from some top 10 spots. AKC leaders...

  • Collared - Baltimore Sun readers' pets

    Collared - Baltimore Sun readers' pets

    Read about local pets, or share your own story. We're interested in cats and dogs, but also hamsters, hedgehogs, turtles, horses, chickens -- the whole pet gamut. For more information, email pets@baltsun.com and be sure to put "Collared" in the subject line.

  • Rescue Me! at Harford Mall closing; new shelter on the way

    Rescue Me! at Harford Mall closing; new shelter on the way

    A satellite location of the Humane Society of Harford County called Rescue Me! located in Harford Mall will be closed as of Tuesday after two years of operation -- and nearly 500 cat and kitten adoptions. 

  • Service dog takes brunt of bus hit to protect owner, authorities say

    Service dog takes brunt of bus hit to protect owner, authorities say

    A service dog threw himself in front of a mini school bus to try to protect his blind owner and stayed by her side as emergency responders tended to the injured pair, authorities said.

  • Cat and kitten adoption event this weekend

    Cat and kitten adoption event this weekend

    Four local animal shelters will hold a joint cat and kitten adoption event on Saturday in Towson and adoption fees will be waived.

  • March for the Animals

    March for the Animals

    The Maryland SPCA held its annual March for the Animals Sunday at Druid Hill Park. Pets and their humans got to spend the morning together, beginning with a 1.5-mile walkathon (requiring $40 in pledges or donations), then proceeding to training classes, demonstrations, a "flea-less" market, food...

Comments
Loading

79°