The Best Seat Belts For Your Dog

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All dog are not created equal. Just ask Lindsey Wolko.

“I had to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident, and was tangled in the tether,” said Wolko, who is the founder and CEO of the Center for Pet Safety. Maggie is a 30-pound English Cocker Spaniel. “She launched off the back seat into the front seat, and she was injured.”

That crash—Maggie made a full recovery after sustaining a strained spine and hips—got Wolko thinking. If Maggie had such a rough time in the car during a relatively minor crash, imagine what other dogs might endure in a serious collision. The worst part? Companies who make automotive pet restraints aren’t legally required to test their products before putting them to market.

“It’s so intuitive for us to just reach over and strap a seat belt on, but people don’t think about using these products for their pets,” Wolko says. “It’s incredibly important.”

So in 2011 she conducted a pilot study of four seat that seemed to be the highest quality offered on the market. Not even one passed basic safety criteria.

“We had a 100-percent failure rate,” Wolko said. “The dogs were flying off the seats.”

That’s where Subaru came in. Executives there say two-thirds of its drivers own dogs (AAA reports that nearly 90% of U.S. pet owners say they travel with their pets)–so canine safety is particularly important to the brand. And after seeing Wolko talk about the crash test failures on morning talk shows, the automaker commissioned a full CPS report that tested for small, medium and large dogs in simulated crashes.

… Continue reading here.
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