The reason why dogs enjoy riding in the car so much may always be a mystery of the canine brain. It could be the wind in their face as they hang out the window, it could be the rumble of the car or maybe the passing sights. Whatever the reason, many dog owners know their furry friend loves a ride in the car. When we take our dogs in the car we want them to be safe, so many owners use a device like a dog harness to strap their pet to the vehicle incase of an impact. However, a recent study shows that these devices are not as safe as we think, with only one of the harnesses tested earning a "top performer" rating.
This study shows the intersection between injuries that can occur during a car accident and what happens when an unsafe product is involved. Unsafe products can take a car crash that might cause only minor injuries and create a much more hazardous situation, particularly those which we are relying on specifically for safety.
In this case, it might seem trivial to focus on a dog restraint system as an issue in car crash safety. However, pet owners know that the dog is very much a part of the family and losing their pet during a car crash could result in serious emotional harm, particularly for children in the car. A dog being projected from their seat also has the potential to harm human occupants a well.
One problem that the study identified is that like many other new products on the market, there are no set standards for dog harnesses in terms of testing or restraint systems, so each manufacturer is creating their own device. As is clear from other dangerous product cases, manufacturers may choose a cheaper material or less solid construction in the interest of increasing their profit margin. The problem is that consumers have almost no way to know which device is the safest until they must rely on it and it is often too late at that point.
Source: Wired, "See What Happens When Your Dog's Car Harness Gets Crash-Tested," Damon Lavrinc. Oct. 8, 2013.