As we get older, we often feel that we need extra companionship. Our spouse or partner may have passed away, our friends may have moved into retirement communities, or we may just want the extra company. Whatever the case may be, having a pet can add a lot of enjoyment to life. Many senior citizens decide to get a pet for companionship and to be able to nurture their animal. Small dogs are a natural choice as they are often protective, intelligent, and enjoy cuddling.
If a senior citizen is active, he or she may want to take their dog with them on small errands, out to a dog park for a walk and romp with other dogs, or even on a longer trip or vacation. This begs the questions, is it dangerous for senior citizens to drive with their dog in the car? If so, why, and what can be done to abate the danger?
Many people oppose the very idea of senior citizens driving at all, citing reasons like impaired eyesight and slower reflexes. These are facts of life that we will all experience as we age. Taking precautions such as keeping eye prescriptions up to date and avoiding distractions, senior citizens can still be considered very safe drivers.
Dogs in a car can be a danger to any driver regardless of age. Even five minutes in a car with a dog is a possible cause for a wreck. Although some dogs will sit quietly on the seat in a car, if your dog roams in your vehicle while drive, there are several dangers to this behavior:
- A dog roaming the car can become a visual and audible distraction to you.
- A dog loose in the car can distract other drivers.
- An unrestrained dog can become a projectile in case of quick stops or crashes.
- When dogs are hurt they can become dangerous. In the case of an accident, unrestrained dogs may snap at those trying to help them or their owners.
Senior citizens and drivers of any age should be sure to employ one or more of these safety precautions before driving with a dog in the car:
- Consider using a dog crate.
- Do not let your dog sit in your lap or near the gearshift.
- Do not let your dog hang its head out of the window.
- If your dog barks incessantly, consider using a muzzle or putting a blanket over his crate.
- Practice driving short distances and train your dog to lie quietly.
The answer to the question “Is it dangerous for senior citizens to drive with their dog in the car?” can really only be answered on an individual basis. It can be dangerous. It can also be considered very safe when all precautions are taken to ensure safety.