As dog-loving outdoor enthusiasts, many of us don’t see the harm in allowing our furry friends to hang out of the side of our cars or in the beds of our trucks with the wind in their faces. But this is a far more dangerous practice than many might suspect.
Drive through any mountain town and it’s easy to see that the current standard is pretty free range, with a lot of dog owners allowing their pets to lounge across the back seat, call shotgun or even ride on their laps.
But in an accident, practices like these stack the odds against our pets. Like a child, an unrestrained 60-pound animal becomes a 2,700-pound projectile in a 35-mph collision, according to the Bark Buckle UP advocacy group.
In that instance, the laws of physics are not in your dog’s favor, and the consequences are often fatal. The Humane Society reports over 100,000 canine fatalities a year resulting from auto accidents where dogs are riding in truck buds. (Trucks aren’t the only issue – those statistics don’t include injuries like that of my friend’s Blue Heeler, who lost her footing around a freeway off-ramp and went tumbling out the car window, sustaining a broken leg and hip.)
The American Pet Product Association estimated there to be 84.6 million household dogs in 2017, and AAA reports that 84 percent of dog owners travel with their pets. Only 16 percent of those dogs are restrained while traveling, leaving the other roughly 60 million at risk.
Some owners solve for this by installing dividers between the main cabin and the rear of the vehicle mimicking a large kennel; however, this does not restrain a dog in the event of an accident. For sporting dogs and adventure pups, kennels have always been the preferred method of travel, but also leave a lot to be desired in the safety department. Flimsy, single-walled construction puts your pooch at risk on impact.
Gunner Kennels Founder Addison Edmonds funnelled his dissatisfaction with standard dog kennels into the genesis for his patented G1 kennel, the only pet travel crate to earn The Center For Pet Safety’s first and only “5-Star Crash Test Rating.”
The G1’s double-walled rotomolding is the key component to its security; the kennel has been tested to withstand 4,000 pounds of force, a 200-foot cliff drop and even a 12-gauge shotgun blast at seven steps away. Integrated stress-tested tie-down pins and custom tie-down straps keep the crate from turning over, and an “escape-proof,” aluminum-reinforced door prevents your dog from busting out of the crate mid-drive.
Beyond crash safety, Gunner Kennels boast even more features to keep your dog safe from weather, and from themselves. Rain- and sleet-repelling windows, kayak-grade carry handles, stainless steel hardware and back-up safety latches are all on a long list of bulletproof standard features. Add-on accessories like the all-weather kit or the attachable fan make it possible to use this kennel in most climate situations. Sporty dogs also get dirty, so each kennel comes with a drain plug and recessed flooring, making clean up easy.
The Gunner Kennels’ price tag isn’t cheap ($399-$699), but think of it as an insurance policy for your four-legged best friend. If the cost is too much, consider a safety harness, like Ruffwear’s Load Up Safety Harness. And help spread the word on safe pet travel – it’s a conversation that has the potential of saving a life, and also guarding against a pet owner’s broken heart.
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