At Stillman and Friedland we pride ourselves both on our professional capability and that we operate as a friendly local business. Our blog readers know we also offer the latest in healing advice for our clients who are recovering from traumatic injuries. Recently, one of our caring paralegals had a conversation with an injured client, and we found out that there was another injured party who was suffering—the client’s dog. Due to its injury, the dog could not jump on and off the owner’s bed. The owner was trying to comfort the dog by sleeping on the sofa (which is lower than the bed)—not an ideal situation for a convalescing human. Our paralegal offered great advice, including the use of pet steps, so the dog could access the bed and everyone could rest better.
Helping both injured parties was important to us, but now we want to share tips for preventing pet injuries, saving money, and getting back on the road to recovery. As pet owners know, pets are family members, and we want to do our best to take care of them.
Our story pointed out that not only people get hurt in car accidents. If you drive regularly with your pet, injury is a possibility. We think pet owners should consider:
- Using a pet restraint in the car to reduce injury.
- Purchasing low-cost pet accident-only insurance which will cover auto and other accidents.
- Consulting with your vet and network with friends to solve pet issues while you also recover.
A number of companies offer pet restraints in different configurations. You can see a sample of the range of products here. Pet restraints, like child safety restraints, need to match the size and weight of the animal. There are several basic types of restraints and an extra safety item to consider. All restraints use the car seat belts to anchor the restraint.
- Strap restraint that clips seat belts onto a harness
- Booster seat and harness so smaller dogs can see out of the window
- A closed carrier with head peeking out, also buckled in to seat belts. For smaller dogs, and may protect your upholstery if you have an excitable dog. (You know what we mean.)
- Cat carriers that can be buckled in as well.
All of these products are available in a range of prices, mostly in the $30-$75 range. As with all purchases, check product specs for correct use, and read online reviews to see how other pet owners rate these products. It is best to know the product’s strengths and weaknesses before you buy.
In addition, there is a barrier which you can install so that if the pet gets loose, it cannot come forward to the front seat. Depending on its strength and specifications, this barrier may also keep a pet from being thrown into the front of the car as well. A product we like less is a seat barrier/seat cover hammock that keeps the dog in the back seat and protects upholstery, but does not restrain the dog. You can add in a cross-bench zip line restraint, but this is less effective than a more limiting harness restraint that keeps the dog in one place.
- Especially if you have airbags, never put a pet in the front seat. Period. Even if you don’t have airbags, or you have deactivated the front passenger airbag, ALWAYS put your pet in the back seat. It is just safer.
In the event that your pet is injured, only pet insurance will defray the cost of medical care for your pet. If you only have regular medical and accident coverage, it is questionable whether insurance will pay for veterinary costs, so pet accident insurance is your best bet. You may like the idea of buying a comprehensive routine care policy for your pet, but that is the priciest way to go. Not surprisingly, there is deluxe pet insurance that covers routine care expenses including chronic care medications, acupuncture, and chiropractic treatment. It is much cheaper to simply buy an accident insurance policy, and the cost is around $120 per year or less. If you have an active and curious outdoor dog, or you drive with the dog often, insurance may be a worthwhile purchase. Again, check consumer reviews to select a company with good service and quick claims turnaround time.
If you need to take care of yourself and a pet in the aftermath of an accident and you are having trouble doing both, ask your vet for tips. The use of pet steps is a great both for an injured pet and for saving you from the back strain of lifting your dog or cat. You can get these online for around $20 and up depending on how fancy you want to go. Or you could ask your vet to post a note on his or her waiting room bulletin board and see if you can borrow a set or buy a used one for less.
Lastly, some solutions work for us and for our pets. In previous posts we have detailed how rebuilding joint cartilage with bone broth and supplements is a key strategy for recovery. You can give your dog or cat plain bone broth for healing joint injuries. While you can add savory ingredients like onions and garlic for yourself, these are not good for pets so just set aside an unflavored portion for them. Another great option is veterinary formula chondroitin and glucosamine. Both for injuries and older pets with rheumatism, this supplement will have your pet back to its normal mobility in about 2 weeks. The human formula works well too.
Take good care of yourself and your pet—that furry affection is also part of your healing!
Because we care…