The 6 Best Auto-Tech Features to Keep Your Dog Safe

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Whether it’s a quick errand or a hike across the country, you know how nerve-wracking it can be to worry about safety if you’re traveling with your dog. From sudden stops to dog theft, the threats are real.


Here are six safety technologies to consider before taking your dog on a trip.


1. Back seat reminders

Every summer we hear horror stories of children left inside cars in sweltering weather. Manufacturers are trying to stop these dramas with recalls to the rear seats. Although originally designed for humans, back seat boosters can also save canine lives.

Automotive recall technologies vary by manufacturer, but most rely on door sequencing. For example, if the driver’s door is open and one of the rear doors is open, the vehicle assumes that someone is in the back seat.

Once the driver arrives at their destination and switches off the ignition, the vehicle waits to see if they open the rear doors. If they don’t, it concludes they’ve left valuable cargo behind and alerts them via a series of sounds, lights, and sometimes phone notifications.

Other rear seat reminders are more advanced. For example, Hyundai’s Rear Occupant Alert system uses ultrasonic sensors to detect movement inside the vehicle. The only downside to this kind of technology is that it can be triggered by something you have no interest in keeping, like a fly.

2. Smart glass

Smart Glass is a new technology that allows you to customize and change the tint of your windows. Opt for an inspection sticker? Dial it. Leaving your dog in the car for a few minutes while you run an errand? Turn it until opaque.

While smart glass won’t stop your dog from barking at other passing dogs, it does have benefits besides making your car interior invisible.

Smart glass can help cars stay cooler in direct sunlight, offer rapid defrosting, and may one day contain photovoltaic cells capable of recharging your electrical system. It’s easy to imagine a world where this would be the new standard for automotive glass. The new $300,000 Cadillac Celistiq EV features smart glass which allows each passenger to adjust the levels of aerial transparency.

3. Tesla and Rivian: dog mode

It’s one thing to leave the air conditioning on for your dog; it’s another to let the world know you made it. Dog mode lets passers-by know your dog is enjoying a room-temperature cabin.

It’s legal in some places to break windows if a dog is in a moving car, so it’s important to get the message across that yes, your dog is fine. The technology is not without its detractors, such as those who point out that the air conditioning system or the battery could fail. As with all new technologies, it is possible. For example, in 2019, a Tesla owner tweeted:

Elon Musk replied within a minute that Tesla was working on the issue.

4. Window and child safety locks

While these features aren’t new, it’s easy to forget to use them to keep dogs safe.

Window locks can prevent your dog from accidentally opening or closing the window. Although the windows should automatically retract to prevent them from hitting their heads or legs, Tesla’s recent window problem reminds us that technology doesn’t always work as expected.

Child safety locks are another child-friendly technology that can also complement canine security. Although your dog is unlikely to open a car door, it’s an easy precaution to take and one that could prevent a horrible situation.

5. Live Dog Cams

As you wait in line at the store, anxiety kicks in: what if your dog eats those chocolate cupcakes in the backseat? You think how nice it would be to watch your furry friend in real time.

However Tesla’s Sentinel Mode will activate alarms if it detects someone trying to break into your vehicle, it won’t tell you if your dog is about to ingest something toxic.

While factory-integrated dash cams are becoming more common in luxury vehicles, interior cameras remain primarily the domain of aftermarket manufacturers.

In the future, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) may catch up and turn the camera eye inward to enable cabin monitoring. This technology is said to be popular with dog owners and parents who install rear seat cameras such as Itomoro Mirror Crystal so they can check on their babies without having to turn around.

Until there, many canine clothes to choose from allow you to keep an eye on your dog and track his health. Associated to apps that make canine parenting easieryou will do your best for your pet.

6. Harnesses and Restraints

Newton’s laws: a weight of 60 lbs. dog transforms into a force of 2,700 pounds in a collision at 35 miles per hour.

Advances in harnesses and restraints can help keep dogs and humans safe in an accident, but it all depends on your vehicle and where your dog likes to hang out.

For example, if you have an SUV or station wagon and your dog sits in the cargo area, install a mesh divider like the Bushwhacker Deluxe Dog Barrier is cautious. Not only does this ensure that your dog won’t wander around the vehicle and distract you, but it could also prevent him from flying forward into the vehicle in the event of a rear-end collision.

While there are a plethora of dog restraint products out there, some don’t live up to their claims. Of course, it goes without saying that a Yorkie and a German Shepherd need different restraints, so researching and finding the best harness or restraint for your dog is imperative.

The Pet Safety Center tests dog restraints with crash test dogs and shares the results to help consumers make informed decisions.

The future of canine technology

There are many opportunities for entrepreneurs interested in creating new dog safety technology. Statistical reports that 470 million dogs were kept as pets worldwide in 2018, and the number is likely higher after COVID.

Argo AI, a company whose investors include Ford and Volkswagen, has developed its own rover puppy. This little robot moves around in test conditions to help self-driving cars learn to detect and avoid dogs. While we don’t know when self-driving vehicles will become commonplace, it’s reassuring that researchers are exploring ways to make the roads safer for our four-legged friends.

Protect the puppies

Whether you are transporting humans or dogs, safety is a primary concern. While it’s best not to leave your dog unattended, sometimes it’s unavoidable. The good news is that automotive technologies can help keep them safe.

In addition to features designed for children, such as window/door safety locks and rear seat reminders, new features such as smart glass, dog modes, live cameras and innovative restraints will offer new levels of protection.

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