Safety Equipment for Your Dog

For decades, there have been products invented and laws made to ensure the safety of our children (and rightly so), but not until very recently has the issue of dog safety been addressed. Luckily, there are now products available to keep your dog safe, although the laws are still to come.

Dog Safety in the Car

Restraining a dog in the car has several benefits. A dog seat belt keeps the dog from distracting you while you drive and allows you to open the windows wider during warmer weather without the worry that your dog may jump out when the car is stopped. In the case of an accident, a dog seat belt can not only protect your pet but also keep the dog from running away in fright or, in the event that you are injured, prevent the dog from getting in the way of emergency personnel.

Dog crates are another option, but do not fit in most cars. Also, many dogs get carsick if they can't see out the window, so a dog crate might not be the best choice. A dog safety harness is an easy-to-use, comfortable way to keep your dog safe in the car. The harness fits around the chest of your dog and attaches on the back, with a very short leash, to your car's seat belt. There are some models that attach directly to the seat belt mechanism. The harness allows for limited freedom of movement so that your dog can sit, lie down or even turn around. Small dogs can use a booster seat to lift them up so they can see out the window while still being secured to the car's seat belt via the harness.

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Dog Safety on the Water

It is a myth that all dogs are good swimmers. Some breeds, like basset hounds and boxers, with their short legs and muscular bodies, have trouble swimming. Other dogs are afraid of water and never learn to swim well. Young dogs and especially elderly dogs tire easily. Even a good swimmer cannot swim indefinitely, so if the dog cannot get itself out of the water, it could be in real trouble.

If you take your dog boating or are often with your dog around bodies of water or swimming pools, a dog life vest is a must. A dog life jacket holds your dog in the swimming position and gives it buoyancy to keep its head above water and save its energy while swimming. There are many different kinds of dog life vests. Ask around and read product reviews to find the right one for you and your dog.

There are no industry standards or standard sizes for dog life jackets, so it is best to take the dog with you when you buy one to ensure a good fit. Most of the models snap under the chest and belly with straps or mesh. Make sure the straps are positioned comfortably for your dog so that it doesn't scratch and chew at them. Most dog life jackets come with a handle on top to make it easier to grab your dog out of the water. Choose a vest that will be highly visible in the water. Some vests come with reflective strips for better visibility.

Other Dog Safety Accessories

Blind dogs, epileptic dogs and other handicapped dogs prone to bumping their heads are good candidates for a dog helmet. Dogs who ride on motorcycles or in bicycle baskets can also use a dog helmet. Most dog helmets come with optional padding for comfort on dogs with stand-up ears.

Some dogs are sensitive to the sun's rays and could be helped by dog sunglasses. Sunglasses provide protection from UV rays and glare. Dog sunglasses are also good for a dog with an eye infection or other eye condition to protect its eyes while it's outside.

Dogs that ride with their heads hanging out the car window or ride on motorcycles or in the bed of a pickup would benefit from dog goggles. Goggles provide not only protection from UV rays, but also from windblown items or flying dust and debris. Even a dog that is forever chasing rabbits into the bushes can use goggles to protect its eyes from getting scratched.

As a good pet owner, you want to keep your dog safe, and now, with the help of these and other innovative dog products, you can.