Safely restrain pets with the PupSaver - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Safely restrain pets with the PupSaver

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CUMMING, Ga. -

Most people treat their dogs just like their children. However, when it comes to dog safety in the vehicle, many drivers are buckling the children up but not safely restraining their pets.

Crash testing is helping to make products on the market better and one Forsyth County family is also working to keep small dogs safe.

14 year old Henry, the Cockapoo loves car rides. "We try to drive a little more cautiously when he's in the car," says Jeanne Dobras. Dobras will be the first to admit though, while her family treats Henry like a child, they don't restrain him in the car.

"We love our kids and we love our dogs but we don't really take care of our dogs the way we take care of our babies," she adds.

Veterinarian Dr. Marcus Smith has seen dogs with anything from bumps and bruises to broken limbs and spinal injuries from car wrecks. "They're part of the family, they're cute and cuddly...you want them to be right next to you, but for safety purposes...it's just not the best thing," he explains.

Dr. Smith says crash testing restraints is a recent step in the right direction. In 2013, The Center for Pet Safety found that only one harness they tested passed their crash test.

Dr. Smith says part of the problem, is the length of the tether. "You're never going to create a human-caliber car seat, per say, but at least we're stopping our guys from going all over the car and in the event of an accident."

Ray Bennett was unhappy with the products on the market and tired of his small dog being put in harms way. "We have an obligation to take care of them," says Bennett.

So with the help of engineers in the car industry and at Georgia Tech, this Forsyth County family designed The Pupsaver--a rear facing car seat for small dogs.

"If you think about a 30 pound bowling ball flying through your car in an accident, that's the kind of thing that can happen if you're not restraining your dog," explains Ashleigh Bennett, Ray's daughter and the V.P. of Sales for Pupsaver.

It took years of hard work, multiple designs and prototypes, but The Pupsaver is now also crash test approved by the same company that tests child car seats.

"Our company's mission is to save as many small dogs lives as possible and that's what we're really trying to do," Ashleigh adds.

The seat works to protect and absorb in the event of a crash, and Dr. Smith likes what he sees. "The actual pod I would say, that they're sitting in is staying stable and then the tether keeps them from going anywhere so it looks promising," Dr. Smith states.

Keep in mind, dogs can be a huge distraction when you're behind the wheel. Some states will even right you a distracted driving ticket for having your dog in your lap. A few states will even pull you over if your dog is not properly restrained.

The Pupsaver is working on a product for medium sized dogs.

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