Yes, Chevy has officially gone to the dogs. It’s all in celebration of National Pet Day, April 11. Today, at the 2012 New York Auto Show, Chevrolet showed off not only a pack of pooches thrilled to cavort in and about new Chevy products, but also gave show attendees a few tips on how to make their vehicles more pet-friendly.
Charlotte Read, a pet lifestyle expert, and her dog Hannah, a Golden Retriever (shown in the back seat of the Chevy Equinox crossover wearing a safety harness), teamed up with James Bell, the head of General Motors’ consumer affairs – and a few other captivating canines – to deliver safety tips and advice on making any vehicle more pet-friendly.
The safety tips couldn’t come at a better time. According to the 2011/2012 AAA/Kurgo survey, there are currently 76 million dogs in the U.S., among 46 million U.S. homes. That’s slightly more than two dogs per household. Among dog owners surveyed, on average, 56 percent said they do bring their dog with them in the car at any given time. Going into the summer travel season, 17 million identified themselves as definitely planning to bring their dog with them on vacation. Yet the survey showed that 84 percent of pet owners do not use safety restraints for their pets.
While it was tough tracking down Bell post-event, FamilyCarGuide did get to spend a few minutes with him in a phone interview. In essence, he was dog-gone impressed with the goings-on.
Chevrolet at NYAS pet dayEnlarge Photo
Between 30 and 35 dogs and their owners were in attendance, proving that the invitation to a dog day at the New York Auto Show was definitely a hot-ticket item.
The focus of the event was to provide an awareness and understanding of what happens to a dog, especially a larger dog, that’s not tethered down in a moving vehicle. “We’re all very focused on keeping our kids safe, our passengers and ourselves – all the humans are well cared for,” said Bell, “but then we call Fido into the car and let him run around a little bit, jump on our laps and hang his head out the window.”
Bell said it was important to call out that not only are there products out there that can help keep your dog safe in the car, but to recognize that this is a bit of a dangerous maneuver, “not just for you as the driver, because of the distractions that can happen, but for the animal as well.”
Accessories to keep dogs safe
Prevention is the best way to keep dogs safe while riding in a vehicle, and there are a number of available accessories that can help do just that.
- Special harnesses that attach to the Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) in the back seat of a vehicle
- Ramps that enable dogs to climb into the vehicle
- Special soft-sided crates that can hold dogs in the back of an SUV
- Bumper protectors so that when dogs are jumping in they don’t wind up scratching the plastic
Safety and convenience technology
Bell also talked about the safety technology available in many of the vehicles from General Motors and Chevrolet that helps to minimize distraction and protect occupants, including dogs. Lane departure warning and forward collision mitigation systems, for example, alert drivers that they’re veering out of their intended lane or could be dangerously close to colliding with another vehicle, all as a result of driver distraction possibly due to Fido’s antics. Stability and traction control also help heighten driver awareness to potential dangers.