Victor, my little black dog, travels by car a lot. He willingly hops in and hunkers down in his Solvit Car Cuddler, sometimes for the afternoon, sometimes for the weekend, and sometimes for a week or more journey through the highways and byways of North America, as we did this summer to South Carolina.
This trip, we’re heading to Knoebels dog-friendly amusement park in Elysburg, Pennsylvania, America’s largest free-admission family-fun facility of its kind and family includes Fido.
We’ve been there before – check it out. However, this time we’re going back for a very special reason.
First, I have a confession.
I rarely if ever anchor Victor in the car. That’s right: no crate, harness or seat belt. He’s remarkably good on road trips, preferring the back seat and rarely moving around. Windows don’t tempt him. But rural Elysburg is about a six-hour drive from my home and we’re powering down there – with one stop at Target, of course.
Barreling through potentially stop-and-go highways might warrant a little security for Victor. EzyDog award-winning dog gear convinced me to beef up Vic’s safety by sending me a EzyDog Chest Harness and seat belt restraint (affiliate links) to try.
Along with that came a list of convincing reasons to give dog car safety a second, and even third, thought. According to an AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study done in 2011 (and cited by EzyDog) the results are in:
- An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at 50 mph will exert roughly 500 pounds of force.
- During a similar crash, an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert approximately 2400 pounds of force.
- Similar to a young child, the front airbag system in a vehicle can be deadly to a dog during a crash if sitting in the front seat, even if restrained.
(Read the entire article, Driving with Your Dog, here).
Ok, ok. I’ll give it a try.
Victor is an odd size – part cocker spaniel, he has a wide chest. I opt for a red Medium EzyDog Chest Plate Dog Harness for walking around because the chest plate is a little narrower than the size up.
However, while in the car, I adjust a size large EzyDog harness to the smallest setting because the chest plate is wider and hugs him into the car seat better.
Not to mention, a second harness in ‘Bubble Gum’ colour – pink, green and purple stripes – looks stunning against his black fur and dapper personality. Work it Vic!
Admittedly, I’m engineering-challenged so figuring out the seat belt restraint takes a bit of effort but I get it – slip it over both the waist and shoulder straps at once, snap the seat belt, then clip the restraint’s other end to the D-ring on the harness.
“Victor is going to hate this,” I think.
He doesn’t. There’s enough give in the seatbelt to allow him to lie down shift easily and he spent the first three hours of the trip dozing in and out, anchored during any slight or sudden breaking.
I’m a bit surprised … but relieved.
An added bonus of this harness? It’s a walking harness and unlike our first love (affiliate link), this one is easy to step into and adjust one strap around the neck area and the other behind the front legs then click each in place quickly with the quick-release plastic snap. No more fussing with buckles.
Honestly, EzyDog might be our new favourite travel gear. Victor pulls, so comfortable harnesses easy to install are mandatory in our world.
Second, why we went to Knoebel’s dog-friendly theme park.
Victor wanted to get in touch with his inner Cocker Spaniel. (It’s there somewhere, according to a DNA test). He wanted to join his fellow Club Cocker WiggleButts for a Wigglebutt Warrior fundraising day benefiting the San Diego Spaniel Rescue.
It just so happens, I declared 2017 as my year of saying yes, so when Victor declared ‘let’s go,’ I bought a ticket then packed the car September 9, 2017 and headed to Danville, Pennsylvania to stay at the dog-friendly Red Roof Inn (affiliate link).
Early September 10, we harnessed ourselves up and drove about 20-minutes to Knoebels, ready to ride the train (yes, dogs too) and even the antique cars on a track, though we skipped the third dog-friendly ride: the antique Carousel. (Watch for a post about the museum on horsetrotting.net)
A ticket raffle, goody bags and a dog group train ride – all for donations to a good dog cause. What more can you ask?
Well, a safe ride home for one. We headed back that night, harnessed into our EzyDog and fielded questions from border security as we crossed into home: “A dog-friendly amusement park? Cool. Where?”
What else did we test at the park? A dog backpack – not for him, for me. K9 Sports Sack is a backpack you wear to carry your dog along when necessary. Watch for that review soon….
How do you ride with your dog in the car? Let us know in the comments below…
Find EzyDog Chest Harness on Amazon.com (affiliate link):
EzyDog Chest Plate Custom Fit Dog Harness (Large, Bubble Gum)
Or, Canadian friends, on Amazon.ca (affiliate link):
EzyDog Chest Plate Custom Fit Dog Harness, Medium, Red