Car Safety and Your Pets

car ridingWinter is here, bringing with it slushy roads and hazardous driving conditions! While car safety for ourselves and our human family members is common sense for most people – seatbelts and car seats are standard practice and (in Ontario) the law – it is easy to overlook our pets.  At Guelph Animal Hospital, we know that we have amazing clients that go above and beyond for their furry family members, and we would like to share some information to help you better protect your pets in the car!

The Dangers

Driving with our pets presents some unique safety challenges – for us and them.  Some of these dangers are obvious. For instance, if an accident occurs with our pets in the car, they may be injured by the impact or thrown from the vehicle if they are not properly secured with a safety harness or crash-tested carrier. However, many do not consider that having an unsecured animal in their car during an accident poses a danger to the other passengers in the car, who may be struck by the animal during a collision. In addition, a pet that is free to move about a vehicle can become a visual distraction and physical impediment to the driver.  Pets should NEVER be allowed to travel in the front seat of the vehicle, both to ensure they do not present a distraction to the driver and for their own safety. Much like small children, pets in the front seat can be seriously injured by air bags during an accident.

puppy driverOutside of safety, legal complications are also a concern. If an accident occurs due to a loose pet distracting their owner, sitting on their lap or impairing their vision by blocking side mirrors, the driver can be charged with distracted or (depending on the severity of the case) careless driving.

If convicted of distracted driving, a fully licenced driver will receive:

·        A fine of $400, plus a victim surcharge and court fee, for a total of $490 if settled out of court

·        Fine of up to $1,000 if you receive a summons or fight your ticket

·        Three demerit points applied to your driver’s record

If you endanger others because of any distraction you can also be charged with careless driving. If convicted, you will automatically receive:

·        Six demerit points

·        Fines up to $2,000 and/or

·        A jail term of six months

·        Up to two-year licence suspension

You can even be charged with dangerous driving (a criminal offence), with jail terms of up to five years.

As you can see, there are many reasons to ensure your pet is safely secured in the backseat of your vehicle. Now that we have discussed the why, let us tell you the how!

The Solution

Sleepypod makes a wide range of carriers and harnesses to help keep your furry friend safe and secure while riding in your car, and we are proud to carry many of these products here at Guelph Animal Hospital. All of Sleepypod’s award winning products have been independently safety tested and have passed baby seat crash testing requirements!!!

*Interested in prices, colour or size options? Simply click on any of the product photos to be directed to our online store!!!*

Clickit Sport Harness

ClickIt Sport is Sleepypod’s next generation dog safety harness. The unique Infinity Loop design, in combination with an energy absorbing padded vest, is engineered to work together to distribute and reduce damaging forces in an accident without the need of additional hardware or attachment straps. Sleepypod Clickit harnesses are the only harnesses to have passed independent crash and safety testing. When it comes to keeping your furry family members safe, only the best will do!


Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed

Sleepypod mobile pet bed is three products in one: it’s an everyday pet bed, a stylish carrier, and a safe car seat.

While many cats and dogs associate travel with negative experiences such as a trip to the vet or kennel, Sleepypod mobile pet bed reduces stress by allowing a pet to travel safely in the comfort and familiarity of his or her own bed.

When at home, Sleepypod’s Ultra Plush padded base can be easily positioned in a favorite corner, on a table top with a view, or even in a dark closet providing your pet a comfortable space of their very own.

Crash-tested Sleepypod transforms into a cozy and safe car seat with velcro positioning points that secure a seat belt in place. Your furry friend can now remain safely in his or her own bed throughout the entire journey.


Sleepypod Atom

Sleepypod Atom is a modern pet carrier for everyday living that is consistent with the innovative design features for which Sleepypod has built its reputation. In designing Sleepypod Atom, Sleepypod took ideas from its multiple award- winning Sleepypod Air and applied them to the smaller-sized Sleepypod Atom.

The included a strap on both sides of the crash-tested Sleepypod Atom transforms the carrier into a safety car seat. These straps position the seat belt around the Sleepypod Atom to prevent the carrier from leaving the seat during an accident or sudden stop. Just like all of their carriers and harnesses, Sleepypod Atom was crash-tested to assure your pets safety when traveling by car.

Traveling by air with your petite pooch or kitty has never been easier! Sleepypod Atom’s ergonomic and sleek design fits comfortably below most airline seats.

sleepypod atom

Sleepypod Air

The Sleepypod Air offers an innovative solution to the many conflicting airline size restrictions put on pet carriers by providing size versatility through flexibility. Sleepypod Air’s design also keeps with their strict safety standards and high quality material and color selection.

Sleepypod Air’s unique design allows it to contract in size to fit in the space below most airline seats during the restricted times of takeoff and landing. Once the plane is in the air, the Sleepypod Air can be expanded to allow a pet the largest possible space below an airline seat.

Sleepypod understands that car safety is a must when out driving with your pet. Sleepypod Air includes straps on both sides to secure a car seat belt in place around Sleepypod Air. This positioning keeps the carrier in the seat in the event of an accident. Sleepypod Air was put through the same safety testing that continues to position Sleepypod among one of the safest pet product manufacturers on the market.


We hope that you have found this blog informative!!! Please come down to see us and we would be happy to help you choose which of these amazing products is best for your furry family!

 Krystal Luscombe

Dr Smolkin’s AHA Moment-Car Safety with Dogs

Dr Smolkin’s Winter AHA Moment- Car Safety with Dogs

I must admit, I do at times practice “do as I say not as I do”.  I own Sleepypod seat belts for both my dogs which I use religiously when my daughter is in the car.

When she isn’t?  Well, that’s another story.  The extra time, literally less than a minute I feel I can’t spare.  So this morning, running a little late, my daughter had a rough night so lack of sleep and up again at 3 am.  We have one of our doctors out sick so I knew I was in for a 12+ hour day and balancing with my husband’s schedule (who was also supposed to put in a long day at work today, however needs to sacrifice once again for our family) and of course like you all know dinner needed to be prepped and put into the slow cooker.   “Yikes, Honey please pack-up Robyn’s bag for daycare.”  We make a great team!

So this is where my “AHA” moment happened, we had quite a snowfall overnight and I still rushed Kenzie and Nacho into the car and didn’t take the extra time to secure them into the seatbelts.  We took off into the wintery weather. As we were driving along, we skidded.  We skidded a lot. My poor dogs were loose in the back seat and shifting about as I needed to focus on my defensive winter driving skills turning my wheel to regain control.  WE were lucky! My dogs are OK, I am OK….. we stopped a foot shy of the car in front of us.

I know better, I researched what seatbelts to buy my dogs.  We carry them at Guelph Animal Hospital as they have the best crash testing rating.  I use them to protect my daughter because I know that a crash or even a sudden stop could result in her injury when the dogs are in the car.  BUT what about them? Kenzie just turned 12 this week and I hope to keep her aging body around for a few more if I can.  What about me??  Through all my interactions with people over the years, I have seen first-hand the devastating effects a concussion can have.  What would happen to me, my brain, and therefore my career and mothering ability if a dog flew from the back seat and hit me in the back of the head?

On the CBC last week, I was listening to a story about reactions of people when seat belts became mandatory for people, you know the “good old days”! How did we ever survive.  That is in our lifetime and I personally remember being very young, in the front seat, maybe or maybe not clicked in.  Now, we would all think it careless for someone not to do up their own seat belt the moment they enter a car.

Needless to say, my dogs will have their Sleepypod seat belts on EVERY trip in the car from now on. Even in good weather, an accident can happen in the blink of an eye.  I want to know that I have done everything possible to keep my furry kids safe and maybe take better care of myself as well. 

Written by:  Dr Ilana Smolkin


Meowy Christmas from Guelph Animal Hospital

Meowy Christmas from Guelph Animal Hospital

Christmas has arrived at Guelph Animal Hospital! Here are some pictures of the team’s pets dressed for the season! Season’s greetings from the team at Guelph Animal Hospital!

Buffy I think I hear reindeer on the roof!

Buffy belongs to our Boutique Specialist, Sara. Buffy is a Jack Russel Terrier crossed with a cattle dog. She is wearing an adorable FouFou Dog Reversible Santa-Reindeer Suit that can be found in our boutique.


Is it too late to try out for Santa’s reindeer team?

Cali belongs to one of our RVTs, Rachel. She is a 6 year old domestic long-haired cat who loves her share of liver treats! She is wearing a cozy FouFou Dog Reversible Santa-Reindeer Suit that can be found in our boutique.



Meowy Christmas from Santa Paws!

Eleanor belongs to our RVT, Meaghan. She is a 3 year old Persian who practically purrfect! She’s wearing a pretty FouFou Dog Reversible Santa-Reindeer Suit that can be found in our boutique.


Move over Rudolph!

Emmy-Lou belongs to one of our clients. She is wearing a FouFou Dog Reversible Santa-Reindeer Suit that can be found in our boutique.


Dear Santa, I have been a very good dog this year…

Forrest belongs to our Vet Assistant, Erica. Forrest is a 12 year old Golden Retriever who doesn’t look a day over 2! He is wearing a warm Chilly Dog Hand Knit Wool Sweater that can be found in our boutique.


Is Santa here yet?!

Kenai belongs to our Client Care Specialist, Meg. Kenai is wearing a dapper Chilly Dog Hand Knit Wool Scarf that can be found in our boutique.


I’m not naughty…I’m nice!

Reese belongs to our RVT, Diana. Reese is a Doberman pinscher who is a ninja when it comes to snagging a treat from the boutique every now and then.


I spy with my little eye, a one-eyed kitty in a tree!

Sir Odin belongs to our Client Care Specialist, Katie. He is a one-eyed domestic short hair kitty who clearly loves getting into trouble.

Written by: Katie Kullman, Client Care Specialist

Why We Love Chilly Dog Sweaters

chilli dog logo


One of our favourite apparel lines in Guelph Animal Hospital’s Boutique is the Chilly Dog Sweaters. With beautiful, fun designs and an ethical manufacturing process they have become a huge hit with dogs everywhere!


Chilly Dog Sweaters is an American company started in 2001. Each sweater is hand made in South America by local Inca Artisans who follow fair trade guidelines. They use 100% wool and plant based dyes to ensure a safe product both for the workers and for your dog!


We have sizes to fit all breeds and a great variety of styles so come in to try one on today! $32-$48


dog in sweater 1 dog in sweater 3 dog is sweater 2

Doggy Paddle Away!

It’s finally summer and warm enough to enjoy the water! Does your dog swim or boat with you? Even if they are strong doggy paddlers it’s important that they wear proper protective gear in case of an accident. The Ruffwear Float Coat is a top of the line dog lifejacket designed with comfort and safety in mind. It’s lightweight, durable design makes it easy for your dog to wear and the sturdy handle provides you with a quick way to grab them out of the water. Available in the Pet Boutique at Guelph Animal Hospital for $79.95.

ruggwear lifejacket


Sara, Boutique Specialist