PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Before you know it, the holidays will soon be upon us. Many families will be hitting the road to visit loved ones, often with a family pet in tow. But as 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan reminds us, there's more to bringing your cat or dog along in the car than just strapping them in.
"I've always been scared of car crashes and the dogs getting loose," says Laura Gillice. Her fears came true when the car that she and her friend, David, and their two dogs were driving in was involved in a serious crash. She says, "The dogs were safe, they were bruised up quite a bit and banged around but they did survive a pretty horrendous front end crash."
Laura and David were glad that the dogs were in crates, but the crates didn't hold up as they'd hoped. One dog named Jade managed to jump out of the crate at the crash scene and was lost in Yellowstone National Park for 43 days!
Most experts recommend pet crates or carriers for car travel. Veterinarian Dana Waldbaum says, "If you slam on your brakes the dog can go flying through the window or jump out the window and get caught in traffic."
But what many pet owners may not realize is that the crates don't have to meet any specific standards. Lindsey Wolko is the founder and CEO of the Center for Pet Safety. She says, "The products we purchase for our pets for travel have never been tested or crash tested." That's why the Center recently put pet crates and carriers through rigorous crash tests, using specially-designed crash test dogs.
It's important that any carrier contains your pet so it doesn't become a projectile in a crash. But the Center for Pet Safety tests showed at least one stuffed test dog thrown out of this soft-sided carrier and into the air! Another test showed a hard-sided crate literally coming apart while the test dog was tossed around inside!
Connections that secure the carriers and crates were examined too. According to Wolko, "The anchor points for the crate are critically important that the product not release if get in crash or an accident." Video of one test showed anchor straps breaking free and the crate itself appears to pose a flying danger.
Of the carriers tested, three received high marks following the Center for Pet Safety tests.
The Gunner kennel with anchor straps, the Sleepy Pod Mobile Pet Bed with a handilock and the Pet Ego Forma Frame Jet Set Carrier with a latch connection
While many manufacturers claim their products are crash-tested and safe, there are currently no federal testing or performance standards.
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