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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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Travel safety

I moved this to a new thread, because I think the subject of travel safety is way too important to get lost in a fun photo thread.

In another thread, KarMar wrote:

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Originally Posted by KarMar View Post
I hate to be that person, but the picture makes it look like he is in the front seat. I would strongly advise against that. While it might be fun to have him up there with you, a small bump could cause the airbag to go off, something that has caused the death of many dogs, including a family friend's of ours.
You are also absolutely right... if the airbag can't be disabled, it will almost certainly kill a small dog in even a low impact crash, if it deploys. Even if the dog is properly restrained.

But Kodi rode in a crash tested harness in a donut bed in the front seat with me until we got Pixel. A lot of model cars have a shut off on the passenger side airbag if there is less than 50-70 lbs (depending on the make/model) on the seat. I agree that good quality travel crates (NOT wire crates) are the safest place for a dog to be in the car, but I also think that as long as the airbag can be disabled, and the dog is in a quality, crash tested harness, attached DIRECTLY to the seatbelt (no tether) they are relatively safe in the front seat too. No method of restraint is perfect, but ANY form of restraint is better than none.

The first photo is my arrangement for travel now. I would prefer a Variocage, but it won't work in the car I have. I may be getting a Subaru Forester before long, in which case, I WILL upgrade from my RTK's to the Variocage.

The second photo is from a recent car crash reported to: https://www.facebook.com/groups/DogSportVehicleIdeas/ (a great page to learn more about vehicle safety for dogs, BTW) The O.P. has given permission for people to share her story so that others can learn from it. The GOOD news is that the humans and dogs in the vehicle all survived. The bad news is the shape these crates are in. It COULD have not ended so well. There have been other people who have shown photos in the past of crashes with wire crates. The crates and the dogs inside them sustained much more damage than in this crash.

Another important, easy and INEXPENSIVE thing that people overlook is to have information on your dog(s) easily seen and accessible in your vehicle. The PVC tube that you can see between my crates is one way of doing it, but another easy way is to get a clear pencil holder meant to go on the rings of a 3 ring binder. You can put all your dogs' emergency information in that, and attach it to your crate with a zip tie. We tend to forget that in a serious crash there is a possibility that we won't be conscious. We need to have the information available so that first responders know what to do with our dogs.
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File Type: jpg 2016 04 19 Crates in car (2 of 2).jpg (69.0 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg 12993417_1724716231099976_5162559660887235842_n.jpg (67.0 KB, 5 views)
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Last edited by krandall; 04-21-2016 at 08:43 PM.
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 07:48 PM
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Good information Karen. I just saw on Facebook a couple days ago that forum member Suzi Bowden was in a serious car accident with her two Havs, Maddie and Zoey, in the car. Thank God all three of them are ok. Both dogs were in a single crate in the back of her vehicle. Luckily the crate kept them safe. What a frightening situation for all of them.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 08:10 PM
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I saw those pictures. I can't believe that happened in an accident. They just cracked, it looks like. Which is NOT what I expected them to do in a crash. For some reason, I thought they'd be able to stay intact. Now, if you tell me it was less than 25 mph, then WOW is all I can say.


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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Molly120213 View Post
Good information Karen. I just saw on Facebook a couple days ago that forum member Suzi Bowden was in a serious car accident with her two Havs, Maddie and Zoey, in the car. Thank God all three of them are ok. Both dogs were in a single crate in the back of her vehicle. Luckily the crate kept them safe. What a frightening situation for all of them.
I read about Suzi's accident too. I agree... i'm SO glad that she and Maddie and Zoey are all OK,


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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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I saw those pictures. I can't believe that happened in an accident. They just cracked, it looks like. Which is NOT what I expected them to do in a crash. For some reason, I thought they'd be able to stay intact. Now, if you tell me it was less than 25 mph, then WOW is all I can say.
Yes, the plastic clamshell crates do very poorly in crashes, though the crate itself is less likely to harm the dog than a wire crate. There are a couple of brands of solid construction plastic crates, but as far as I know, Ruff Tough Kennels (RTK) is the only company that makes crates small enough for Havanese and other toy breeds. And the problem with larger crates is that if you put a dog in a crate that is too large for them, they can be seriously injured by being thrown around inside the crate.

The other very safe option if you have a smaller Havanese is the Sleepypod carrier, mounted on the seat, and secured with the seatbelt. Unfortunately, the Sleepypod is definitely not big enough for Kodi, and I'm not sure it would be comfortable for Panda once she's full grown. (Pixel is my little one, and would easily fit in a Sleepypod)
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-21-2016, 11:17 PM
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Great idea about the information for the dogs I am going to do that too.

I cringe when I see dogs in a car seat TIED to the seat with a collar...gads can you imagine what would happen to that precious little neck in a wreck???

I would love a ruff tough crate or a variocage but with my set up I really need a door at each end and neither of these makes them like that.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-22-2016, 07:21 AM
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Dee Dee, I did some research on your 2009 DC. The airbag is not active unless there is a certain amount of weight in the seat which we all knew. There is no way to disable it unless you take the glove box out and find the yellow wire underneath that connects to the airbag. You need to disconnect the battery for about 15 minutes to let the bag discharge before doing this so it does not read a fault and go off unexpected. If you really want to 100% disable it this is the route to go.

Krandall, I like the set up in your car. When we take Tucker on very long trips his small metal crate is strapped to the back seat from the top and around the base to the kiddie seat hookups. I'm think it is better secured than we humans are in our belts. The pic I posted was a run to the bank in town. We have very wide roads to there and a school zone and its only 1 mile away for me. Never seen a wreck there in my 48 years here. Too slow an area. Anything other than that and he is secured in the crate for the duration of the trip except for stops. Been taking him with me to town so he can get more used to riding. Want to get the car sickness thing cleared 100% before the beach if possible. He is going but cannot stay in our condo this trip due to the rental policy. Once we buy ours down the road he can stay with us. He will be at a killer Bed and Breakfast in Murrell's Inlet that even has a doggie friendly cafe onsite and we can pick him up for the day at the beach and bring him back in the evenings.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-22-2016, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dee Dee View Post
Great idea about the information for the dogs I am going to do that too.

I cringe when I see dogs in a car seat TIED to the seat with a collar...gads can you imagine what would happen to that precious little neck in a wreck???

I would love a ruff tough crate or a variocage but with my set up I really need a door at each end and neither of these makes them like that.
RTK just started making two door crates!

And you're right, Variocage wouldn't work any better for you than for me. It HAS to be mounted against a bench back seat... which I don't have! (at least for now.

As far as the neck injury is concerned, this is actually what made me decide that NO harness was safe enough for my tastes. The safety testing "passes" a harness that doesn't break and contains the dog. But if you WATCH the videos, and see the deformation of the test (dummy) dog's neck, I cannot see ANY dog surviving a crash like that, They may stay int heir harness, which protects passengers from impact with the animal, but I don't see how they could withstand that impact with out breaking their spine. Especially our little dogs!
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-22-2016, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M&J View Post
Dee Dee, I did some research on your 2009 DC. The airbag is not active unless there is a certain amount of weight in the seat which we all knew. There is no way to disable it unless you take the glove box out and find the yellow wire underneath that connects to the airbag. You need to disconnect the battery for about 15 minutes to let the bag discharge before doing this so it does not read a fault and go off unexpected. If you really want to 100% disable it this is the route to go.
Anyone doing that should understand that once an airbag is permanently disabled, they will NEVER be able to have a person ride safely in that seat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by M&J View Post
Krandall, I like the set up in your car. When we take Tucker on very long trips his small metal crate is strapped to the back seat from the top and around the base to the kiddie seat hookups. I'm think it is better secured than we humans are in our belts.
I really REALLY urge you to get something other than a metal crate. Positioning it on the back seat is a good place, if you don't need that space for people. The weak point in your set-up is not how and where you are securing the crate, but the crate itself. As I posted before, wire crates are about the most dangerous form of confinement. They take very little impact before deforming and breaking apart, even if the "impact" is the body of a small dog inside the crate, or even your attachment straps. Even a plastic clam shell crate is a better option than a wire crate. The plastic crate may break in a crash and need to be replaced, but it is far less likely to injure the dog when it breaks.

We do use plastic varikennels when we travel with our dogs with our travel trailer. I'd love to use the RTKs, but they are semi-permanently mounted in my car (they CAN be moved, but it's a big project!) and I only have two of them, and three dogs.

We put the varikennels on the floor of the back seat of the pick-up truck. They are wedged in quite tightly, and bungeed for extra stability. They are out of the crumple zones in this area of the truck, so I feel this is an acceptable compromise.

In my little car (Mini Cooper Paceman), there is no place for crates EXCEPT the hatch, which is clearly in the crumple zone. So I have the crates strapped as far forward (away from the hatch) as possible, and I feel better with the increased sturdiness of the RTK's.

There is no ONE best answer for everyone... You have to make decisions based on your vehicle, the size of your dogs, your budget, etc. I just think people should think it through carefully and make decisions that are as safe as they can make them.


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Last edited by krandall; 04-22-2016 at 09:37 AM.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-22-2016, 10:09 AM
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I will look into those crates. As for the airbag....I agree to just leave it like it is and not disable it 100% but airbags are not the cure all fix in an accident either and also how many years did you and I and many others ride in a car with no airbags growing up or jump in the back of a truck bed for a ride. I still do when I drive the old cars.

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