Dear Porky & Buddy,
My next door neighbor has started to criticize me for taking my dog Pluto for rides in the car. She says I should have Pluto in a crate or a harness, but that would totally spoil the fun for him of hanging his head out the window and enjoying the wind.
I would like to tell her to mind her own business, but what if she’s right? What do you think?
Obviously, what would totally spoil the fun for Pluto (not to speak of the guilt you would feel) would be if you had an accident and Pluto was injured after flying around the inside of the car or out of the car.
Car seats are no safer for pets than they are for babies or toddlers, so you need to use some sort of reasonable restraint to keep Pluto safe, just as you do for your kids.
The best option is a well-ventilated crate or carrier, (kept inside the car, obviously, not on top of it, but we digress…).
Make sure the carrier is large enough for Pluto to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. If instead, he will be riding on the seat, outfit him with a harness and safety belt to keep him secure in case of sudden stops or changes in direction.
Most injuries in car accidents are caused by bodies (human or animal) flying around the inside of the car. Not only that, but, according to the ASPCA, unrestrained pets actually cause more than 30,000 auto accidents each year.
And please, we know he probably likes it, but don’t allow him to ride with his head outside the window. He could be injured by flying objects. Crack the window open just a little so he can enjoy all the fabulous smells, the sweat, the hot tarmac, the manure spreaders, but keep his head inside.
And speaking of busy bodies, while we’re at it, remember to never leave Pluto alone in a parked vehicle! On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked automobile can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop. In cold weather, your car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing Pluto to freeze to death.
We know you want to have fun with Pluto and we are all about that, but do it safely. And thank your busy body neighbor for her helpful advice.
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter assistance, information and referral, adoption assistance to pet owners, humane education programs, foster care and adoption for pets in urgent need, assistance with lost and found pets.
Our administrative offices and spay/neuter clinic are located at 265 W. First St., Oswego, NY.
Check our web site at www.oswegohumane.org or call (315) 207-1070 for more information or to be placed on our mailing list for our newsletter.
Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other.