Posts Tagged ‘Dogs’

Orlando, Fl – 7/19/2011

2011 survey examines habits of people driving with canine companions and potential distractions

Seventy-eight million dogs reside in more than 46 million U.S. households, according to the American Pet Products Association, and an increasing number of these furry companions accompany their families on road trips, day trips and even local errands. However, in a vehicle this can mean added distractions for the driver and added dangers for all passengers, including pets. A recent survey conducted by AAA and Kurgo, a leading manufacturer of pet travel products, asked dog owners how often they drive with their dog and examined their habits behind the wheel. The survey results indicated that drivers not only love to bring Fido in the car, but often engage in risky behaviors when man’s best friend is along for the ride.

Motorists frequently bring dogs along, engaging in distracting behaviors

Nearly six in 10 (56 percent) respondents have driven with their dog at least once a month in the past year, however, many participate in behaviors that take their attention away from the road with the most common activity being petting their dog (52 percent). Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) have used their hands or arms to hold their dog in place while applying brakes, and 19 percent have used their hands or arms to keep their dog from climbing into the front seat—creating a situation where they remove at least one hand from the steering wheel.

Other distracting behaviors drivers admitted to include reaching into the back seat to interact with their dog (18 percent), allowing their dog to sit in their lap or holding their dog (17 percent), giving food or treats (13 percent) and 3 percent have taken a photo of their dog while driving. These behaviors can distract the driver and increase the risk of a crash. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that looking away from the road for only two seconds doubles your risk of being in a crash.

Drivers admit dangers of unrestrained pets, but most not using a pet restraint

Eighty-three percent of respondents acknowledge that an unrestrained dog in a moving car can be dangerous, but only 16 percent currently use a pet restraint. However, use of a restraint is three times greater among drivers who have heard of situations where unrestrained dogs were injured or caused injury to other passengers in a car crash (32 percent) compared to respondents who were not aware of such a situation and still use a restraint (9 percent). Using a pet restraint, such as those available from Kurgo, can aid in limiting distractions and help protect pets and passengers.

“Drivers should use a pet restraint system for your dog every time their pet is in the vehicle,” said Jennifer Huebner-Davidson, AAA National, Traffic Safety Programs manager. “A restraint like those offered by Kurgo will not only limit distractions, but also protect you, your pet and other passengers in the event of a crash or sudden stop.”

Calm dogs and lack of awareness top reasons for not using a pet restraint

More than two in five (42 percent) respondents stated they do not use a pet restraint because their dog is calm and they do not think he/she needs a restraint. However, a calm dog will be thrown with the same amount of force as an active dog in the event of a crash or sudden stop—a danger for all passengers as well as the pet.

“An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert roughly 300 pounds of pressure, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert approximately 2,400 pounds of pressure. Imagine the devastation that can cause to your pet and anyone in its path,” said Huebner-Davidson.

Other reasons cited for not using a restraint include: never considered it (39 percent); just take dog on short trips (29 percent); and 12 percent want their dog to be able to put its head out the window.

Eighteen percent of respondents who drive with a dog in the vehicle also have children under the age of 13 who ride with them. Seven in 10 of these motorists have driven with a child and an unrestrained dog in the vehicle at the same time.

A variety of reasonably priced products are available to keep pets safe and help dog owners reduce potential distractions caused by pets while driving. There have been many recent innovations in this market from Kurgo and others to make these products more comfortable for the dog and convenient to use for the owner. AAA recommends owners use a restraint system anytime they are driving with their pet—even short trips close to home.

Pet owners who want to take their pet on a longer trip can find all of the information they need to make their vacation easier and safer in Traveling with Your Pet: The AAA PetBook® including pet-friendly AAA Approved property listings and advice on transporting pets.

Fans of AAA’s page on FaceBook (Facebook.com/AAAfanpage) can enter the AAA/Kurgo “Tails from the Road” photo contest for a chance to win a pet travel package including Kurgo pet gear, a copy of Traveling with your Pet: The AAA PetBook and a Best Western Travel Card® usable at more than 1,600 pet-friendly properties worldwide. To enter, dog owners can upload a photo of their furry friend that depicts the excitement their dog shows prior to getting ready to take a ride in a vehicle. Entries must be received by August 7. Any Facebook user may vote for a winning photo via the AAA/Kurgo “Tails from the Road” custom Facebook tab between August 8 and August 21, 2011.

AAA members also can save on services for their pet by taking advantage of the Show Your Card & Save® program, including discounts on pet restraint products from Kurgo at AAA.com/specialoffers or entering purchase code AAADog11 at Kurgo.com.

Additionally, members save 10 percent on pet supplies at Target.com and 10 percent on pet sitting and dog walking services at home or on the road with Fetch! Pet Care. Prescriptions for family pets that can be filled at a traditional pharmacy may also be eligible for a AAA discount. For more information and to obtain a free Prescription Savings Card visit AAA.com/prescriptions or call 1-866-AAA-SAVE (1-866-222-7283). Visit AAA.com/discounts for more information and a complete list of retailers and offers.

Survey Methodology

The online study was conducted among a sample of 1,000 dog owners who have driven with their dog in past 12 months. The study results have an average statistical error of +/- 3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

About Kurgo

Kurgo® (Motivation Design LLC) creates innovative, stylish and high-quality pet travel products that allow families and pets to travel comfortably to their destination together. The Kurgo® product line currently includes convenient products for traveling with your dog such as the Backseat Barrier, Skybox Booster Seat, Collaps-a-Bowl, Wander Hammock, Tru-Fit Smart Harness, and the Auto Zip Line, named as a Consumers Digest Best Buy. More information about the ever-evolving line of products can be found at http://www.kurgo.com/.

About AAA

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.

ORLANDO, FLORIDA., August 18, 2010

New survey examines habits of people driving with canine companions and possible distractions

Heather HunterMillions of Americans recognize that dogs are wonderful companions and bring their favorite furry friend along on road trips, day trips and even day-to-day errands. However, in a vehicle this can mean added distractions for the driver. A recent survey conducted by AAA and Kurgo asked dog owners how often they drive with their dog and about their habits behind the wheel. The survey found that drivers not only love to bring Fido along, but they also often engage in risky behaviors when man’s best friend is along for the ride.

Drivers distracted by dogs, many don’t realize it
Thirty-one percent of respondents admit to being distracted by their dog while driving, however 59 percent have participated in at least one distracting behavior while driving with their dog. More than half (55 percent) have pet their dog while driving, and one in five allowed their dog to sit in their lap (21 percent). Other distracting behaviors drivers admitted to include giving food and water to their dog (seven percent) and playing with their dog (five percent). These behaviors can distract the driver and increase the risk of a crash. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that looking away from the road for only two seconds doubles your risk of being in a crash.

Unrestrained dogs dangerous to driver, passenger and man’s best friend
An overwhelming 80 percent of respondents stated that they have driven with their pets on a variety of car trips including day trips, local errands and leisure trips, the pet store, dog parks and to work. However only 17 percent use any form of pet restraint system when driving with their dog. Use of a pet restraint system, such as those available from Kurgo, can aid in limiting distractions and help protect your pet.

“Restraining your pet when driving can not only help protect your pet, but you and other passengers in your vehicle as well,” cautioned Jennifer Huebner-Davidson, AAA National, Traffic Safety Programs manager “An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at 50 mph will exert roughly 500 pounds of pressure, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert 2,400 pounds of pressure. Imagine the devastation that can cause to your pet and anyone in the vehicle in its path.”

There are a variety of reasonably priced products available to help dog owners reduce distractions their pets might cause while driving while keeping them safe. There have been many recent innovations in this market from Kurgo and others to make these products more comfortable for the dog and convenient to use for the owner. AAA recommends owners utilize a restraint system anytime they are driving with their pet—even close to home.

Pet restraint products, such as those from Kurgo, are available at local pet stores nationwide. To find a dealer near you, visit Kurgo.com.

Pet owners who want to take their pet on a longer trip can find all of the information they need to make their vacation easier and safer in Traveling with Your Pet: The AAA PetBook® including pet-friendly AAA Approved property listings and advice on transporting pets. The book also features information on how to enter the annual AAA PetBook Photo Contest sponsored by Best Western. Entry deadline is Nov. 30 and winning pets will appear on a cover of the next edition. To enter, visit AAA.com/petbook.

AAA members can save on services for their pet by taking advantage of the Show Your Card & Save® program. Members save 10 percent on pet supplies at Target.com and 10 percent on pet sitting and dog walking services at home or on the road with Fetch! Pet Care. Prescriptions for family pets that can be filled at a traditional pharmacy may also be eligible for a AAA discount. For more information and to obtain a free Prescription Savings Card visit AAA.com/prescriptions or call 1-866-AAA-SAVE (1-866-222-7283). Visit AAA.com/discounts for more information and a complete list of retailers and offers.

Survey Methodology
The online study was conducted among a sample of 1,000 dog owners who have driven with their dog in past 12 months. The study results have an average statistical error of +/- 3.1 percent at the 95 confidence level.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides nearly 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Kurgo® (Motivation Design LLC) creates innovative, stylish and high-quality pet travel products that allow families and pets to travel comfortably to their destination together. The Kurgo® product line currently includes convenient products for traveling with your dog such as the Backseat Barrier, Skybox Booster Seat, Wander Bowl, Wander Hammock, Tru-Fit Smart Harness, and the Auto Zip Line, named as a Consumers Digest Best Buy. You can see more about this ever-evolving line of products at www.kurgo.com.

ORLANDO, FLORIDA, August 18, 2010

AAA list includes vehicles for a variety of lifestyles that will keep drivers, passengers and canine companions safe and comfortable on the roadway

Christie HydeWith more than 80 percent of dog owners taking their canine companions along in their vehicles on errands, leisure rides and day trips, many drivers are taking the

safety and comfort of man’s best friend into consideration when shopping for vehicles. To aid in motorists quest to find a vehicle that meets both their needs, as well as their dogs, AAA has released a list of its top vehicle picks for dog owners.

“More than 45 million households in the U.S. have a dog, and many are taking Fido along for the ride on a regular basis,” said John Nielsen, AAA National Director of Auto Repair and Buying Services. “There several vehicles with features that can help keep pets safe, comfortable and easy to clean-up after while also addressing other driver desires such as sportiness, adventure or luxury.”

AAA Auto Buying’s team of experts, who test drove and reviewed hundreds of vehicles for the AAA AutoMaker vehicle research web site (AAA.com/AutoMaker), have compiled a list of their top vehicles picks for dog owners based upon a wide variety of factors such as crash test ratings, safety features, fuel economy, ease of animal ingress and egress, cargo area size, availability of tie-down hooks and easy-to-clean interiors.

The list is divided in six categories to help motorists with a variety of lifestyles identify a vehicle that best meets their needs.

Luxury

BMW 3 Series Wagon – This wagon offers handling and agility that rival some sports cars along with a comfortable, if firm, ride and quiet cruising. Owners will find a wide range of accessories available to make the car more suitable for pet transport including rubber mats for the cargo area and sturdy dividers that can keep a dog comfortably confined to the cargo area and away from distracting the driver. Some available dividers even have an added division to transport two dogs while keeping them apart. The interior is cozy, so the BMW 3 Series wagons may be a better choice for medium to smaller breeds.

Volvo XC60 – In addition to refined and well-performing engines, this is the first vehicle in the U.S. with “City Safe,” a safety feature that will compensate for driver inattention by automatically applying the brakes in traffic situations at speeds up to nearly 20 mph in an effort to eliminate or mitigate a rear-end collision. The Volvo XC60 has a roomy cargo area ideal for transporting most canines in comfort and a nicely finished interior. Accessories include rubber mats for the cargo area and a pet barrier that fastens securely above the raised rear seats to keep pets from distracting the driver.

Active Lifestyle

Subaru Forester – This Forester offers roomy, comfortable accommodations for people and their pets. The ride is stable and comfortable, the handling is predictable, and the all-wheel drive delivers reassuring traction under all conditions. This wagon is even up for mild off-roading treks that can get the dogs into the country. The Forester’s cargo capacity with the rear seats folded is an impressive and inviting (for pets) 68 cubic feet. The floor, at just over 27 inches off the ground, also is lower than many sports utility vehicles making it easier for many dogs to get in and out. There are ample tie-down points to secure a kennel.

Hyundai Santa Fe – This SUV features a nicely finished interior, a choice of new engines for 2010 and competence both on and off road. The third row seat option is no longer available, but the cargo space is good for even some larger breed dogs. Buyers will find that both Hyundai and aftermarket suppliers offer many accessories to make rides with the family pet easier and more comfortable. These range from sturdy rubber mats for the cargo area to beds and pet dividers that will keep the dog in place. As an added the bonus, the ride and handling should be agreeable to both people and their canine passengers.

Kids, Dogs & Everything Else

Honda Element – Originally designed for males in their late teens and early 20s, the Element seems ready to handle anything. The interior features surfaces and upholstery that can be hosed out, if necessary. The clamshell side doors also can make getting pets in and out easier. The Element offers a pet lovers’ accessory group that includes a ramp, which is ideal for helping older dogs get in and out, second row seat covers that are even easier to clean than the standard upholstery and a soft-sided kennel that can be secured to the vehicle. It features a spill-resistant water dish and an electric ventilating fan. Debits include a busy, choppy ride and higher than average noise levels. Handling is good, however, and the utility factor, including the height of the cargo area, makes this relatively small car suitable for larger breeds, even those dogs that like to get muddy while romping in the wild.

Toyota Venza – Somewhere on the team that developed the Venza is at least one pet lover. Consider the long list of pet accessories that Toyota offers for this cross between a station wagon and a crossover utility vehicle. Among the items are a ramp to ease getting in and out through the rear tailgate, waterproof seat covers, an adjustable harness/booster seat pet restraint system, an adjustable pet barrier and a dog tether to keep canines from jumping into the passenger area.

For the driver, Toyota offers a choice of V-6 or 4-cylinder power and front- or all-wheel drive. Handling is predictable and cruising is quiet, though the ride can turn busy in the V-6 model with its 20-inch tires. Also, styling takes a toll on rear visibility. A backup camera is available and recommended.

Efficient and Fun

Mazda3 5-Door: Among compacts, the Mazda3 is a standout. Handling is sharp, the ride is very good and the interior, if on the small side, is very nicely done. The hatchback is exceptionally flexible, though its suitability for larger breeds is in doubt. Still, the wide opening rear doors, tailgate and robust interior makes this yet another vehicle that would be attractive to many pet owners. These buyers, however, will have to go to aftermarket suppliers for many pet accessories. Fortunately, there they will find a wide range of mats and kennels that both fit and enhance the Mazda3’s utility. The 2.0-liter engine is peppy and the 2.5-liter engine is even more powerful. The Mazdaspeed3, with its turbocharged motor, could well be a match for the fastest hound around, though the ride in this performance version is abrupt and noise levels are higher than average.

Mini Clubman – Consider this the Maxi of Minis, at least until the Countryman arrives. The longer body structure, foldable rear seat and rear barn doors all contribute to making it easy to get even a larger breed in and out of the vehicle. And once in, dogs will find more than 33 cubic feet of space with the rear seat folded. Most kennels will fit with ease and, once in, can be secured using the factory-installed tie-down points. As for the driver, this maxi Mini is great fun to drive. Its handling is crisp and immediate, acceleration is brisk and braking secure.

Green

Ford Escape Hybrid – The large and squared-off SUV cargo area is perfect for dogs of nearly all sizes, while the hybrid drivetrain delivers fuel efficiency that few SUVs are able to approach. Ford actually promotes the cargo area as being ideal for “…a big, wet dog…” and offer photographic evidence that even the largest canines fit here comfortably. The company goes on to note that the hybrid’s battery pack is completely sealed, so there is no need to worry about wet pets or wet cargo causing a problem. Accessories are available from many sources, including Ford. Floor mats and a pet divider head the list of items that make the Escape more “pet friendly.” The ride is a little choppy but, for overall practicality, the Escape Hybrid is hard to beat.

Economical

Kia Soul – It’s roomier than its exterior dimensions suggest, which makes the Soul a good choice for transporting smaller and mid-size breeds. Aftermarket accessories to make the trip easier on both the pet and its owner are also easily acquired. These include thick, heavy-duty mats and pet-resistant seat covers. Some owners also have gone for vehicle-specific pet cages and dividers, often imported from Europe. The ride is decidedly firm, but the handling is good and the engine is both reasonably responsive and economical. Noise levels are higher than average, but the larger than expected windows make for a good view to the sides.

Nissan Cube – This vehicle casts a small shadow at noon, but its height and boxy design more than compensate. The interior is surprisingly roomy and should be good, with the back seats down, for even larger breeds. Note, however, that when folded, the rear seat does not form a flat load floor, so owner supplied padding to level the cargo area would probably be necessary. Buyers will find many aftermarket accessories that can be used to enhance this car’s utility as a pet hauler. These range from cargo area mats to hair-shedding seat covers. As you would expect from an entry level vehicle, the ride and handling won’t equal true sports and luxury cars but , its ride is comfortable and secure.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 51 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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