a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Killing Your Dog in an Auto Accident

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Killing Your Dog in an Auto Accident

SUMMARY: (Repost from my Facebook page) Have I mentioned why you should find a good system for securing your dog in your car?

Bay Teamer friend Holly Newman evaluated some dog seatbelt harnesses and gave good feedback here.

Now there's a german study, with photos, of what happens to dogs and humans in front-impact accidents given various means of restraint. As in: dogs seriously injured or killed, in the process seriously injuring the driver or passenger. Interesting to note that their chosen harness restraint fails in one of the ways that Holly suggests; would be interesting to know how the one she suggests for big dogs (which I purchased and use occasionally when I can't use crates)) would hold up in the same situation.

Dowload the study's PDF from this page at wachusett.pssweb.net to read it and view the photos (they used dummies so no gore); it's not very long but it's very scary. (Or you can google "test report securing pets in cars" and they usually have a "quick view" that lets you see it in HTML right in your browser, like this.

My dog's crates currently are aligned front to back, at the back of MUTT MVR. It's very convenient for me and they fit well, but I've known for a long time that that's not optimally safe. It was confirmed when i was rear-ended a year ago just after a stop sign (so fairly low speed) and the rear door was jammed shut. Fortunately the dogs weren't in the car at the time, so I didn't have to try to extricate the crates from inside the van.

I'm now going to have to figure out how to arrange them transversely (perpendicular to car's length) behind the front seats instead, for maximum security.


  1. Hey Ellen, thanks for this information. I've been thinking for awhile that I need to do something different. She's in a crate in the back of the SUV, but I'd rather have her in the back seat. I'll start investigating...

  2. Dawn, did you look at their photos of how a dog in the back seat can also be a disaster?

    I was out measuring my van and crates yesterday and fretting over how to do something different. Yes, I can *fit* the crates behind the front seats, but (1) I then can't fit my canopy easily anywhere, (2) there's no easy way to tie the crates down there, and (3) I'd always have to get the dogs out from opposite sides of the car, what a pain! So I'm still pondering--

  3. No I didn't go to photos....I probably should. I was thinking back seat without a crate...with the seat belt thingy...

  4. Ahh...now I remember why I didn't look at the photos, while I'm "up north" I can't download PDF's...too slow a connection.

    Katie's currently riding around in the back of the SUV in a wire crate and I'm concerned that the wire crate could cause her more harm in any collision. Also I have this image after my Dad's crash of what the back of his car looked like and I thought she'd be safer in the "people" part of the car. What's your thought?

  5. When you can get to where you can read/look at the report, you'll see that in a wire crate in the back is almost undoubtedly better than in a harness on a seat in the middle. Best would be a tied-down crate on the floor immediately behind the front seats.