Safety Check List
BreezeGuard® screens are, obviously, our choice for window safety for your pet. With BreezeGuards, your dog can stay safe and comfortable in your car with the windows down. BreezeGuard® screens are custom-made welded steel wire mesh cage panels or “screens,” with a black powder coated finish, that fit your car’s window opening. They install from the inside of the vehicle to allow for free movement of the window glass.
Sold in sets of two, BreezeGuards allow for a cross breeze, keeping your vehicle within a few of degrees of the outside temperature. Easy to install and guaranteed to please!
Crates and Tie Downs
Crates come in different sizes. They are constructed from a variety of materials. And the price range is significant depending on what you are looking at—wire, soft sided, plastic or polymer, Steel panel or heavy duty crates (see examples below). A few things to keep in mind when considering a crate purchase:
- Size matters – the dog should be able to stand up and turn around. Be mindful that the crate is not too big.
- Choose a sturdy polymer/plastic over a wire – wire crates don’t do well in accidents.
- Don’t tether the dog to the inside of the crate.
- Anchor the crate to the vehicle – This is important to get the full safety benefit of using a crate.
Finding the best crate solution for your dog will take a bit of discovery. You’ll need to figure out your budget, check out what’s available for your dog’s size and measure to see what kind of space is available in your car. Not all dogs will tolerate being in a crate but there are restraint systems using harnesses and seat belts that will add to your dog’s safety.
You can use just about any tie down that will work for the crate and your vehicle. Some of the crates have specially designed straps that either come with the crate or can be added as an accessory during the purchase process. The main thing is to make sure the crate stays put in the event of an accident.
Determining Crate Size
First, measure your dog!
Height: Measure from the top of your dog’s head to the ground. If you have a pointy eared dog, measure from the tip of the ear points to the ground.
Width: Measure across your dog’s shoulders
Length: Measure from the nose to the base of the tail
Stretch: Measure from the front leg elbow to the ground.
After taking your dog’s measurements, do the following to choose the correct crate size:
Height: Add 3”
Width: Double your measurement
Length: Add the length and the stretch
So now you have a rough estimate. Take these measurements and apply them to the crate of your choice. Don’t forget to account for any bedding you would like to add to the crate to keep your dog comfortable and warm or cool. Also note, a crate that is too big for a dog will not protect as well as a right sized crate.
A few things to keep in mind when considering a harness purchase:
- Construction material – the fabric or webbing material needs to be very similar to what is used in the seat belts installed in cars or mountain climbing gear.
- Padding – you want good quality padding against the dog’s chest area.
- Tether connection point of the harness to the seat belt restraint system needs to be at the back of the harness.
- Mobility – the dog needs to be able to stand up or lie down with ease.
There are so many different option and brands to choose from. Again, you will need to do a bit of research to see what fits best for your dog. Local pet stores want you to be happy with your purchase and are more than willing to help you.
Caution: A zip line will not restrain the dog in the event of a crash. Zip lines are good at preventing the dog from becoming a distraction to you while driving but they provide no safety benefits in an accident.
Little dogs want access to the window just as much as bigger dogs. Booster seats can help.
A few things to keep in mind when considering a booster seat purchase:
- How the booster fastens to the car
- How you fasten the dog to the booster
- Size: the dog should be comfortable, seated or lying down
Look for a booster seat that allows the car’s factory installed seat belt to pass through the bottom of the booster and buckle. Additionally, look for one that provides some sort of restraining connection to the head rest. We don’t want the force of an impact to flip the booster.
Perhaps the best way to get your dog to use the booster is to have it in the house for a while so that they can explore it on their own. Once they are comfortable with the booster seat in the house, then I would move it to the car.
Shade Covers, Cooling Pads and Fans
You may want to check out some shade covers or fans if you need to leave the dog in the car for an extended period of time. The only proven shade cover that I know of is the Aluminet® Shade Cloth which can provide about a 14 degree cooling benefit. There may be others but this is the one that I often see at dog events like Agility or Nose work.
There are quite a few choices when it comes to cooling pads. The main thing is to know if your dog has a tendency to chew on it or likes to destroy things.
The interesting thing about affordable fans specially built for dog crates is that most use too many batteries, don’t blow hard enough or are poorly manufactured. Exceptions to this would be the Rough Tough Kennel Fan at around $170 and the G1 Fan Kit from Gunner at around $229. The fans that seem to be in the widest use are the Ryobi 18v and the Rigid 18v with rechargeable batteries.
If you have questions or comments, feel free to contact us.