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Designated Drivers Needed for Dog Owners

August 4th, 2011

It seems, according to an article published yesterday in The Vancouver Sun, that dog owners are creating a safety risk due to dogs loose in vehicles.

Once upon a time the greatest snort of disgust was given to those women who applied make-up while driving.  In our high-tech world we have made gender a moot point.  Smart, phones may be, but smart people may not be.

One of my pet peeves is people who text while sitting at a stop light.  They are unaware of what’s happening and often you have to honk to get them to return to the world and notice the light has changed.

Those who text and drive are a menace, also.  The weave across the lines, can’t maintain speed, and are generally a problem on the road.  AAA states that taking your eyes from the road, for even 2 seconds, doubles the crash possibility.

However, it now seems as if dogs in the car can be dangerous.  It seems we have numerous driver-owners that have not taught dogs how to behave in cars.  These owners have failed to teach Fido to sit and stay seated while the car is in motion.  As a matter of fact, owners polled admitted to petting, even being forced to push Fido back over the seat while driving, thus creating a danger to other motorists.

I know we’ve all seen this or something similar:

'Jack' and Jill

What amazes me is that there is so little thought given to the dog.  I know the pet industry talks dog restraints for cars, but the truth is humans and dogs are at risk in cars—period.  It is the speed with which we travel that creates the increased danger level, along with the sheer mass of metal involved in any crash. (Not to mention all the junk we carry in cars that will go flying around and bean both dog and owner in a crash.)

Still, I won’t disparage dog restraints for safety.  I will, however, tell you if you teach your dog to behave in the car you’ll have lessened the chance that he will be the cause of an accident.


We see the above photo and think, “He’s having fun.”  He probably is, but his owner isn’t thinking.  A dog, of any size, is at risk from road debris being flung up into his face and eyes when they hang out like this.  I’ve seen the back-wash from a semi-truck pull a dog out of a car.  Not to mention a sudden swerve or mishap and this pup will go flying.

Of course, people being people, tend to up the ante of danger for their dogs simply by not thinking, as these next two photos will clearly show:

Top down, dog gone

Easy Riders?

I cringe when I see things like the two photos above, be it in real life or in pictures, as I know how little it would take to have disaster strike these dogs.  Are these owners not thinking?  I can be fairly certain the driver of the car is unaware of what his dog is doing.  I can’t even find words for the motorcyclist.

For those of us who live in ranching areas and communities, the following pics are daily sights:

On the freeway

Cold out there

I always worry about the temperature and windchill the dog is suffering.  I wonder if the owners even think about it?

Along for the ride

I know the ranch dogs want to go everywhere with us.  I’m all for it.  Most of the time we’re going out into the pastures and fields and there’s not a thing wrong with the dogs being in the back of the trucks.  We aren’t doing 70 mph.  It’s when I see the boys driving into town with dogs  standing on the tool box or roof of the cab that I feel like going “Old West” on them.

It’s important to think of their safety as we don’t want to leave man’s best friend at home.  Yet humans will always want to take their dogs with them, because taking our dogs along for the ride crosses all races, creeds, and religions:

All Dogs Love to Go For A Ride




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  1. From Karen, August 4, 2011:

    Good Point my friend…VERY GOOD point! I second those thoughts…I ESPECIALLY hate seeing those dogs riding loose in pickup beds! Makes me crazy.

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