Many people in Singapore own pets. Every now and then, we have to ferry them to the vet or simply drive them out to a park for walks. As with children, pets can suffer injury and even death if you do not consider for their safety while driving on the road.
Many people simply command their pets to hop onto the back seat and off they go. Nevertheless they do not realise that their lovely companions can suffer broken ribs or legs and even sustain eye injuries even in a low speed crash. They can also be thrown against the windscreen or out of the car.
If your pets are anywhere near you and are allowed to roam freely, they can climb into the foot well and start interfering with your driving. At best, you could be distracted by all his movements.
Use a harness or seat belt designed for pets
In order to prevent any bad things from happening to your pets, you need a well-designed harness or a seat belt. Such restraints can save the life of your pets, just like the ones you use can save yours.
An alternative is to use a crate. However you have to get one that your pet can fit snugly into. Otherwise an emergency brake or a crash can still send your pets slamming against the sides of the crate. And if you choose to use a crate, make sure it is well secured. Whenever accidents happen, there will be great forces pulling the crate off its fasteners. So be sure this does not happen.
Even though many vets will recommend using a harness or a seat belt, it is really up to you to decide which solution works out for you.
In August 2010, one thousand dog owners were surveyed in the USA and nearly a third of them confessed that they have been distracted by their pets. They either allowed their pets to sit on their laps or were playing with them while driving. These certainly increase the risk of a crash.
Studies have shown that if you look away from the road for a mere 2 seconds, you can double your crash risk. Not knowing this puts yourself, your family, your pet and other road users in danger.
Letting your pets enjoy the ride
Even though you want your pets to enjoy the ride, you also have to make sure their safety is not compromised. Some furry companions love to stick their heads out of the window. While this may be cute, it will not be a pretty sight if his eyes, nose, ears, mouth or face is hurt by flying debris.
If you drive a truck, make sure you do not put your pets on the open bed. He can jump away when frightened or be thrown from the moving vehicle. He can suffer multiple fractures and abrasions because of this. Even if he is restrained, he can become ill after being exposed to the elements of nature. The tropical heat or torrential rain in Singapore can make him ill…easily.
Talking about heat risk, you should remember not to leave your pets in your vehicle unattended. The heat in your car can accumulate quickly, aided by greenhouse effect. This is tantamount to wearing a fur coat inside a car that is exposed to the mid-day sun.
Dogs that are short-nosed, are old, heavy or have heart problems will have more issues with heat than other dogs. Unfortunately dogs that are in heat distress will not show immediate symptoms. However if you find that he is panting heavily, is sweating through his paws or show signs or disorientation, you should bring him to a vet immediately.
As you lead your pets into your car, remember the above points. Just as much as you would not let any of your family members be hurt by a traffic accident, you will not want your little friends to suffer the same. Therefore use proper precaution and seek advice when in doubt.
Finally… Do you know someone who has a pet and drives a car? Do him a favour and share this article with him now.