Copley News Service
Question: I recently read about an accident caused when a small dog riding on the window ledge behind the rear seat obstructed a driver’s view. I think there ought to be laws regarding pets in automobiles. Because such laws will probably not be a reality soon in most localities, what can we do to protect pets and people while traveling in cars and trucks? Maybe a “National Transport Your Pet Safely Week” would bring attention to this issue and save lives.
Answer: Allowing pets to roam freely in moving vehicles might seem like an insignificant problem to many people. However, it can create a dangerous situation. As you have pointed out, free-roaming pets can obstruct the view of the driver and be a distraction. Accidents can occur due to animals moving unexpectedly and blocking views through rearview mirrors. Of course, animals hanging out of car windows and running freely in the backs of trucks can also cause serious mishaps.
There are many ways to safely restrain pets in moving automobiles. Using a crate is the safest. The crate should be large enough inside for the dog or cat to stand and turn around comfortably. Crates placed in the beds of pickups should be securely bolted to the floor or strapped so they cannot slide around during acceleration or sudden stops.
If obtaining a crate is impossible, using a restraint harness designed for pets while riding in cars is next best. Harnesses can be purchased at most pet stores or online. The lead on the harness must be short enough to adequately keep the dog or cat from roaming throughout the car. Animals on long leads can often cause the same problems as animals without restraint devices. There are reports of dogs being restrained on long leads while in the backs of trucks. This could cause falling, serious injury or even death if the dog is dragged.
Another option for vans and station wagons is the use of a divider. It can confine pets to the rear portion of the vehicle. However, even with a divider, the pet might obstruct the rear view of the driver or be thrown against the divider during sudden stops.
There are laws regarding the unsafe transport of animals in some localities. Making these laws uniform and widespread is a worthy cause and could result in reducing the number of serious accidents involving transported pets.
Question: We have noticed that our fat, old dog has some large, soft lumps under her front legs. These lumps do not bother our dog. The lumps seem to be only under the skin. Can these be removed or injected with something to make them disappear?
Answer: You have most likely described a non-life-threatening, fatty tumor called a lipoma. These tumors are most often diagnosed in older cocker spaniels, dachshunds, weimaraners and Labradors. However, this tumor can occur in any breed or mixed-breed. Most lipomas can be removed by simple surgical procedures. You should have your dog examined by your veterinarian to obtain a definitive diagnosis and recommendations for treatment. Hopefully, this will help you feel better about your aging companion.