Dogs are members of our family, which means it isn’t odd to find canines hitting the road with their humans.
Unlike humans, canines can’t safely ride in a car with just a buckled seatbelt, they require a little more protection before taking a drive.
Unfortunately, a new study from Volvo Car USA and Harris Poll has revealed that many devoted dogs parents are unaware of the precautions they need to take to ensure their pet is safe while they are on the road.
Titled “Volvo Reports: Dogs, Cars and the People Who Love Them,” this study first explores the undeniable bond an increasing number of individuals feel towards their pooches. In a poll of U.S. pet owners, 69% considered their dogs to be part of the family, with 23% going as far as saying they consider their canines to be children. In the same poll, 38% of dog owners said they do not go on vacations when their pups can’t join them.
This means lots of car travel for lots of dog owners, since air travel options for dogs can be limiting, especially larger canines. And while 94% of the pet parents Volvo Car USA polled said they felt protective of their pets, 84% admitted they don’t think enough is being done to safely protect pooches in cars. The numbers back up this belief.
Volvo Car USA found that while 97% of pet parents said they drove with their dogs, only 23% try to safely buckle their dogs in. Overall, 48% didn’t even own any dog safety driving gear and 41% let their dog ride in the front seat often, which is not a safe place for a pet.
Believing that car manufacturers might be part of the problem, Volvo Car USA examined recent advertisements by vehicle manufacturers that include dogs and found that many recent commercials show canines in unsafe positions, like with their head out the window or sitting unbuckled in a front seat.
This could be part of the reason many pet owners don’t know the steps needed to ensure their pet’s safety on the road. Only 28% of pet parents polled had a crate or harness for their dog to use in the car and only a small 5% had a built-in pet safety system. These same dog owners are looking for change; 71% of the pet parents polled said they would like to see car manufacturers proactively build and offer more dog safety features in their cars.
Volvo is already ahead of the curve (or curb, as the case may be). The car company introduced dog gates for its v70 wagon in 1998, which are now available in all Volvo SUV and wagons. Volvo is confident this product will work for pet owners and their dogs since the pet safety system it created is integrated into its vehicles and has been crash-tested by the company.
To learn more about the pet safety features Volvo offers and how the company is helping homeless pets, visit Volvo’s website.
This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.