Keeping your dog safe on the road

ABC 7 New York

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QUEENS — Everyone knows the importance of wearing a seat belt. They are the most effective way to save your life or the lives of your loved ones in case of a car accident.

However, you may not be protecting all of your loved ones, in particular, your dog.

It may sound a little extreme, but buckling up Fido is part of a growing trend.

A proud pug named Zena struts what looks like an ordinary dog harness and leash.

But it’s actually a life-saving accessory her owner straps on her every day.

“You hook them up to a seat belt. So the idea is when you hit the brakes, and the seat belt tightens you up. It keeps them from launching,” said Dr. Mark Levy, of NYC Veterinary Specialists in Forest Hills, Queens.

Pets can be ejected from convertibles and pickup trucks without them. Dr. Levy has treated it all.

“We see a quite fair number of injuries, whether the dog gets launched into the windshield, or into the seat. I’ve seen back fractures, facial trauma, hip trauma,” Dr. Levy said.

Some carmakers, like Volvo, can come factory equipped with three-point rear seat belts for pets.

According to the website,, 98 percent of dogs are not restrained while riding in vehicles.

This story originally aired July 27, 2010 on WABC-TV New York.