Dr Smolkin’s AHA Moment-Car Safety with Dogs

Dr Smolkin’s Winter AHA Moment- Car Safety with Dogs

I must admit, I do at times practice “do as I say not as I do”.  I own Sleepypod seat belts for both my dogs which I use religiously when my daughter is in the car.

When she isn’t?  Well, that’s another story.  The extra time, literally less than a minute I feel I can’t spare.  So this morning, running a little late, my daughter had a rough night so lack of sleep and up again at 3 am.  We have one of our doctors out sick so I knew I was in for a 12+ hour day and balancing with my husband’s schedule (who was also supposed to put in a long day at work today, however needs to sacrifice once again for our family) and of course like you all know dinner needed to be prepped and put into the slow cooker.   “Yikes, Honey please pack-up Robyn’s bag for daycare.”  We make a great team!

So this is where my “AHA” moment happened, we had quite a snowfall overnight and I still rushed Kenzie and Nacho into the car and didn’t take the extra time to secure them into the seatbelts.  We took off into the wintery weather. As we were driving along, we skidded.  We skidded a lot. My poor dogs were loose in the back seat and shifting about as I needed to focus on my defensive winter driving skills turning my wheel to regain control.  WE were lucky! My dogs are OK, I am OK….. we stopped a foot shy of the car in front of us.

I know better, I researched what seatbelts to buy my dogs.  We carry them at Guelph Animal Hospital as they have the best crash testing rating.  I use them to protect my daughter because I know that a crash or even a sudden stop could result in her injury when the dogs are in the car.  BUT what about them? Kenzie just turned 12 this week and I hope to keep her aging body around for a few more if I can.  What about me??  Through all my interactions with people over the years, I have seen first-hand the devastating effects a concussion can have.  What would happen to me, my brain, and therefore my career and mothering ability if a dog flew from the back seat and hit me in the back of the head?

On the CBC last week, I was listening to a story about reactions of people when seat belts became mandatory for people, you know the “good old days”! How did we ever survive.  That is in our lifetime and I personally remember being very young, in the front seat, maybe or maybe not clicked in.  Now, we would all think it careless for someone not to do up their own seat belt the moment they enter a car.

Needless to say, my dogs will have their Sleepypod seat belts on EVERY trip in the car from now on. Even in good weather, an accident can happen in the blink of an eye.  I want to know that I have done everything possible to keep my furry kids safe and maybe take better care of myself as well. 

Written by:  Dr Ilana Smolkin


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