MIMSafe Blog

Puppy in car

Five Tips for Bringing Your Puppy Home in the Car

By | MIMSafe Blog

Bringing your puppy home for the first time can be exciting there are a lot of things to think about to make your pup’s first journey as pleasant as possible! Here are our five tips for ensuring your puppy arrives home as safely and happily as they can.

Puppy in car
1: Safety First

Although it can be tempting to cuddle your puppy all the way home or pop them on the front seat, this isn’t the safest option for you or your puppy, particularly if you’re driving. Not only can your puppy distract you, but in the case of an emergency stop or accident, velocity means they become a projectile weapon. They could be thrown forward, injuring themselves or you. While it’s not necessarily illegal to have an unrestrained dog in the car, in most countries, it’s at least strongly advised against, and may result in a distracted or dangerous driving charge. It may also invalidate your insurance.
So, it’s always best to buy a suitable dog crate before collecting your puppy, preferably one that will accommodate him as he grows up. A crate can provide some protection for your puppy in the case of an emergency stop or crash, and it helps to eliminate dangerous distractions. You wouldn’t bring a baby home without a car seat, so care for your puppy in the same way!
If you don’t have a crate, take someone else along to hold the puppy. They should sit in the back seat, minimising distraction for the driver and ensuring your puppy is in no danger from a deployed airbag.

2: Cuddles and Smells are Important

Give your puppy lots of cuddles before getting in the car. This will help them feel more relaxed and they’ll start getting used to your smell, which is important to start the bonding process.  Sniffing interesting smells will keep them calm and give them something else to think about.
A snuggly blanket in their crate will make them feel more comfy, preferably one that has been left near their mum to pick up her smell.

Adaptil Calm Transport Spray can help to make your puppy more relaxed and less scared.

3: Take Puppy Refreshments

If it’s a long journey home, your puppy will need a drink. Take along some water and a bowl (many dog crates come with a bowl accessory that attaches securely to the side of the crate). Very small, tasty puppy treats might help to distract and soothe your puppy, but don’t overfeed anything new – it’s the easiest way to upset their tummy.

4: Be Prepared for Smelly Messes

Most crates have a waterproof bottom or inner and will contain any puppy wees, but your puppy may also be travel sick. Take a cloth along with you so that on longer journeys, you can stop off, check your puppy and spend time cleaning them up. Give plenty of reassurance and fusses. If this is a problem that persists when you get your puppy home, take a look at our tips on preventing puppy travel sickness. Open a window a little to let in fresh air and keep the car at a comfortable temperature. Remember that your puppy is unlikely to have had his protective inoculations so don’t allow him to walk about outside.

5. Be aware that this is a very scary time

Your puppy has just left his mother, the most important being in his life, and his littermates.  He is going to find the next few weeks very scary but also very exciting.  Remember what he has lost and be kind!  If your journey was a long one and his breeder didn’t take time getting the litter used to car travel, he has every reason to build up a negative association with travelling in the car.  So for the first few weeks when you are home, make the car a nice place to be.  Feed him in his crate (to prevent your car from being messed up), take him for very short rides with nice destinations (but remember that he can’t walk where other dogs have been until he has completed his vaccinations).  Give him chews in the car without the engine running and make it fun to be in there.  This should ensure that he associates his crate and the car with fun and want to be in it.

Good luck with your new puppy!

safe car crate

Five Years After The Accident…

By | MIMSafe Blog

Five years after a terrifying accident, Nadja Andersson describes how a MIMSafe Variocage dog car crate saved her dogs’ lives

In the seconds that she saw the car hurtling towards her on the wrong side of the road Nadja Andersson was convinced that both her own and her dogs’ lives were over.  Nadja says “No, I thought, “it’s over now.”  All memories just flew through my mind, my child, my partner, my family – everything.”

It’s been five years since that terrible day in March 2018.  Nadja did not think for a second that she would survive and it’s this scene that she carries in her mind to this day.  “I hear the dogs howling in the car during and after the crash in my head almost every day.  It is pure torture that unfortunately I don’t think I will ever get rid of.”

“I hear the dogs howling in the car during and after the crash in my head almost every day.”

Nadja still suffers pain and severe migraines since the accident and last time we heard from her she was still absent from work and was doubtful that she would ever work again.

She said: “I’m unable to work with all the pain I have today. It’s the passion for the dogs that has made me strong enough to keep going, despite all the pain and memories that remain. Without the dogs I probably would have buried myself away. Animals help you to heal, they are there and they need you no matter what.”

safe dog car crate
safe car crate

Despite the severity of the impact, Nadja’s German Shepherd Dog Troja and puppy Tara not only survived the impact but did not suffer any injuries.  

“I can only say that my decision to purchase a dog cage from MIMSafe saved my dogs’ lives”.  

“I think it’s terrifying that so many dog owners do not understand the importance of using a crash tested, safe dog crate.  MIMSafe’s crash tests are based on how a crash happens in real life and they are the only ones I trust.”

Most of Nadja’s dog owning friends and family are now fully aware of the dangers of not using a safe car crate and many have chosen to purchase their crates from MIMSafe, to be certain that their dogs will be safe if the worst happens.  They think much more about the safety of their dogs and passengers than they did before.

The Variocage that saved the lives of Nadja’s dogs can be seen here, relatively undamaged, despite the severity of the impact.

Today, Nadja uses a MIMSafe VarioCage in her new car and vows that she will never use anything else while transporting her dogs.

safe dog car crate

Why a strong box design isn’t good enough

By | MIMSafe Blog

Dog car crate safety video image

Our dog crates are THE safest you can buy, but what makes them the safest?
All of our competitors use solid, strong boxes as the basis of their dog crate design. Sounds safe?

That’s what car designers thought in the 1940s, prior to the findings of Béla Barényi, a Daimler Benz engineer, who completely revolutionized car safety design. For decades prior to his work, vehicle engineers had worked on the basis that the stronger and more rigid a vehicle body could be, the better the protection of the driver and passengers in the event of an accident.

Barényi’s studies in the 1940s showed, however, that by designing such solid structures in vehicle body construction, the forces generated in the event of an impact were transferred to the occupants with hardly any prior absorption. This meant that passengers were thrown around in the vehicle, causing injuries, often fatal. The same applies to dog crates, leading to severe injuries or fatalities in the event of a collision.

In order to protect passengers better, Barényi started to design vehicles with crumple zones, areas of a car’s frame that are intentionally designed to deform and crumple in a crash. The crumple zone absorbs the impact of the collision and reduces the amount of force that is transferred to the passenger compartment. Crumple zones are now a key safety feature in all modern vehicles at the front and back of the vehicle, the areas of a vehicle that are most often damaged in a collision, protecting us in the event of an accident.

The principle behind crumple zones is relatively simple. When a car is involved in a collision, the kinetic energy of the moving vehicle is converted into deformation energy as the car crumples. By increasing the time it takes for the collision to occur, the amount of force that is transferred to the passenger compartment is reduced, resulting in less severe injuries to the occupants.

MIMsafe engineers use this information to design dog crates with their own built-in mechanism that absorbs the impact of a collision, protecting dogs from being thrown around inside our crates. We are the ONLY dog crate manufacturer to include this built-in protective feature. But our superior dog crate designs don’t end there – we also ensure that our dog crates work with, rather than against, your vehicle’s crumple zone.

At the rear of the car, where dog crates are typically placed, crumple zones are designed to absorb the force of a rear-end collision. This is typically achieved through the use of reinforced structural elements and energy-absorbing materials such as foam or plastic. By deforming in a controlled way, the crumple zone helps to reduce the severity of the impact and protect the passengers from injury.

However, adding a solid, rigid dog crate into the boot of your vehicle impairs the crumple zone in the event of an accident. A rear impact with something so solid can break or damage the rear seat causing severe or fatal injury to passengers, as the crate is pushed through into the body of the vehicle.

This video demonstrates how this could happen:

This is why it’s so important to choose a crate that:

1. Absorbs energy in the event of an accident to protect your dog
2. Works with your vehicle’s crumple zone to protect passengers

MIMsafe VarioCages are built to ensure that both of these conditions are met, making VarioCages the safest crates worldwide.

dog crates

Dog boot crates – MIMsafe crates are the best option

By | MIMSafe Blog

Dog crates

Dog boot crates, also known as car boot crates or car kennels, are a popular way to transport dogs in vehicles. These crates are designed to fit in the trunk or boot of a car and provide a safe and comfortable space for dogs during car rides.

Dog boot crates, or dog car crates, dog car cages, dog transit boxes or dog carriers, are designed to fit in your car boot and are known to be the safest way to transport dogs. It’s part of the highway code that dogs MUST be restrained while you are traveling and not doing so can lead to a hefty fine, invalidation or your car insurance, and, even worse, cause an accident. But why are dog boot crates the best option for restraining your dog?

1. Safety.

Dogs that roam free in cars can be a distraction to the driver. Dogs can demand attention, bark at other road users or passers-by, be destructive and chew the vehicle, or be otherwise distracting. Knowing that your dog is safe and contained makes it easier to concentrate on the road and other road users.
MIMsafe crates, sold worldwide, are THE safest dog boot crates. They work with your vehicle’s crumple zone, to ensure that everyone in your vehicle stays safe in the event of an accident. You can read more about how we keep our customers safe on our Safety Design page.

2. Comfort

Some people believe that dogs don’t like to be restrained while traveling. In most cases, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Dogs like to feel safe and secure in a vehicle and most dislike having a harness put on and being restrained by straps. They enjoy having their own space, even more so when provided with lots of comfy bedding and water to drink while traveling.

3. Calming

If your dog barks at other vehicles or dogs while traveling, having their own crate with a cover over it, so that they can’t see the trigger that makes them anxious, means that they can relax while traveling instead of becoming stressed and over-aroused, meaning that they are over threshold before they arrive at their destination.

4. Convenience

Dog boot crates are very convenient. Our crates are depth adjustable so they can be adjusted to fit any vehicle and can be removed when not in use. Just being able to pop your dog in the boot of the car, without worrying about putting them in a harness and getting them strapped in, is so much easier. Even if they are muddy and dirty after a walk, they have their own space so will not wreck the back seat or inside of your car.

If you’d like to know more about our dog boot crates, please get in touch.

Summer months

Keeping you, your passengers and your dogs safe when driving in summer

By | MIMSafe Blog

Summer monthsAs dog owners, the summer months can be the best, with longer nights for dog walking after work, more dogs shows and activities, beach days out and dog-friendly holidays. However, driving during the summer months can be dangerous for a number of reasons:

1. An increase in traffic.

More people travel for holidays, days out and other summer activities, meaning more road users, more congestion and more hazards on our roads. This can lead to a higher number of accidents simply because there are more people on the roads.

2. The weather

Even though summer is typically associated with sunshine and clear days, it can also bring thunderstorms, heavy rain, and hail which can make driving hazardous.

3. Rain on roads after a dry spell

Sediment, oil, and grease build up on roads when there are no frequent showers to wash these away. Over time, this builds up to form a greasy layer. When it rains, this greasy layer rises to the top because it’s less dense than rainwater, which then creates a slippery layer that can cause drivers to lose control.

4. Roadworks and construction projects

Many local authorities choose summer months to carry out road maintenance and construction, leading to road closures, detours and other disruptions. These can increase congestion and cause frustration and a lack of concentration in drivers as they navigate unfamiliar routes.

5. Fatigue

Longer days and shorter nights mean many drivers are up later at night and wake earlier in the mornings, meaning they have less sleep. Drivers may also enjoy long but tiring days out for outdoor activities or social events, causing tiredness on the drive home. Fatigue can impair a driver’s judgment, reaction time, and ability to focus on the road, leading to an increased risk of accidents.

6. Younger, inexperienced drivers

Over the summer holidays, when schools, colleges, and universities are shut, the number of young and inexperienced drivers on the road increases as they drive to summer jobs or enjoy leisure activities. Their inexperience and lack of skill can mean that they are involved in more accidents.

Following these tips can help you to stay safe while driving during the summer months:

  • Plan your journey in advance and allow extra time for roadworks
  • Reduce speed during heavy rain or hailstorms
  • Reduce speed and be aware that roads may be slippery when it rains after a dry spell
  • Leave more space between you and the car in front during adverse weather
  • Be aware of fatigue and do not drive when tired. Take regular breaks and stay hydrated.
  • Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings

By taking these precautions, drivers can enjoy the summer months while staying safe on the roads.

dog car cages

Dog Car Cages or Harnesses?

By | MIMSafe Blog

Dog car cages and car harnesses are both popular options for pet owners who want to keep their dog safe and secure while travelling. At MIMsafe, we supply both. However, there are some significant advantages to using dog car cages over car harnesses, which we will explore in this blog post.

Firstly, well-built dog car cages, such as our VarioCage, offer more protection and safety for your pet than car harnesses. Car cages are designed to provide a secure and comfortable space for your dog during travel. In the event of an accident, the cage will protect your dog from being thrown around in the car and will prevent them from being ejected from the vehicle and running into traffic in terror. An additional advantage with the VarioCage is that the crate is designed to absorb the impact and protect your dog further. In contrast, car harnesses only restrain your dog to a limited degree and do not offer any significant protection in the event of an accident.

Secondly, dog car cages help prevent driver distractions while driving. Drivers can be easily distracted by dogs misbehaving or seeking attention while traveling in a car, which can cause accidents. By using a dog car cage, you can keep your pet in a secure and comfortable space, preventing them from jumping around or barking at passing cars. This can help you stay focused on the road and reduce the risk of accidents caused by driver distractions.

Thirdly, we have a wide range of VarioCages that are designed for different types of car.  Our Compact model, for example, is designed for hatchbacks. To find out which MIMsafe crates you can use in your vehicle, visit our model selector. Always ensure that any dog cage you buy for your vehicle is crash tested and ask for details about HOW it has been crash tested. This article about crash testing can tell you more. Additionally, you can choose from different sizes to fit your pet comfortably, from small cages for toy breeds to larger cages for larger breeds. As a guide, ensure that your cage is 5cm taller than your dog’s shoulder height.

Fourthly, dog car cages provide a comfortable space for your pet to rest during long car trips. Dogs can become tired and restless during long journeys, but a comfortable cage can provide them with a safe and secure space to relax in. Many dogs are much more able to relax and feel safer in their own space, and if they get distracted by people, other dogs, or vehicles while traveling, you can cover the cage to help them to stay calm.

Lastly, dog car cages are easier to clean and maintain than cleaning the seats that may become soiled or stained when using a car harness. You can easily clean VarioCages with a damp cloth, and cut bedding, such as vet bed, to shape. It is then super-easy to remove dirty bedding and replace with clean bedding, while the dirty bedding is washed ready for next time. Car harnesses, on the other hand, can be difficult to clean and maintain, as they are often made of fabric and can trap dirt and bacteria.

In conclusion, dog car cages are a better option than car harnesses for pet owners who want to keep their dogs safe and secure during car trips. They offer more protection and safety, prevent driver distractions, provide a comfortable space for your pet to rest, and are easier to clean and maintain. With a dog car cage, you can enjoy a worry-free journey with your pet, knowing that they are safe, secure, and comfortable.

Dog crates for cars

Dog Crates For Cars

By | MIMSafe Blog

Dog crates for cars are essential for dog owners who love to travel. The highway code states that we should keep dogs restrained while we are driving, and not restraining your dog while driving could land you with a fine of up to £5000, invalidate your insurance and lead to a prosecution for dangerous driving. Our crash tested crates and tailgate guards are the safest way, for dogs and passengers, of restraining your dog. They provide a safe and comfortable space for dogs to ride in while also helping to prevent distractions while driving. Our crates come in various sizes and materials to fit different breeds and types of vehicles, making it easy for you to find one that suits your needs.

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a dog crate for your car is size. The crate must be large enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. We recommend measuring your dog’s height from floor to shoulder, then adding 5cm. This is the ideal size for your dog. A crate that is too small can be uncomfortable for your dog and may cause them to become anxious during car rides. Additionally, a crate that is too large may not be secure and could cause your dog to move around too much while in transit. If your dog is then involved in an accident, and is able to be shaken about in his cage too much, his injuries would be worse than in a cage that fitted him better.

Dog crates for cars come in different materials, including metal and plastic. Plastic crates may be easier to move from car to car but may splinter easily and can fall apart in an accident, causing injuries to your dogs and passengers. Metal crates can be more durable, but the most important thing that you need to ensure is that any crates you consider are crash tested. Because the term “crash tested” is not regulated (see our blog post “What does crash tested actually mean?”), anyone could claim that their crates are crash tested, so look into how they were crash tested and by whom. Many crate manufacturers “crash test” their crates using simulated computer models, and others may crash test themselves in an inadequate setting. All MIMsafe crates are crash tested independently in situ in a vehicle by RISE research institute in Sweden. They are tested for front impact, rear impact, side impact and rollover, and all our crates have passed these tests. These are the most rigorous tests carried out by any car crate manufacturer.

Safety is another crucial factor to consider when selecting a dog crate for your car. Look for crates that have secure latches, doors and ideally locks to prevent your dog from escaping or being stolen while in transit. You should also ensure that the crate is safely secured in your car and does not move around while driving. Additionally, ventilation holes are essential to ensure that your dog gets enough air during the ride. MIMsafe crates and tailgate guards are all fitted with integral lock and key with the option for adding padlocks if required.  They are supplied complete with strong, crash tested fitting options and are built to protect passengers as well as dogs.

If you have a dog that gets anxious during car rides, choosing the right crate can help alleviate their stress. A solid-bottom crate can provide a sense of security for your dog, making them feel more comfortable during travel. If your dog enjoys looking out the window, choosing a crate with windows or ventilation holes can help keep them calm and entertained during the trip.

Another benefit of using a dog crate for car travel is that it helps prevent distractions while driving. Dogs can be easily distracted by outside stimuli, such as other cars or people. By using a crate, you can keep your dog focused on the ride and prevent them from jumping around or barking at passing vehicles.

Cleaning and maintenance are also important considerations when selecting a dog crate for your car, particularly if your dog suffers from motion sickness. You should choose a crate that is easy to clean, with parts that can be washed and sanitized. Additionally, consider the durability of the crate and how well it will hold up over time with regular use.

In conclusion, dog crates for cars are an essential requirement for pet owners who need to travel with their pets. They provide a safe and comfortable space for dogs to ride in while also preventing distractions and keeping them focused on the ride. With the right size, material, and safety features, a dog crate for car travel can make any road trip more enjoyable for both you and your dog.

Why can the wrong dog crates make accidents more dangerous?

By | MIMSafe Blog

Fortunately road traffic accidents are not common, but when they do occur, they can be horrific for everyone involved. The team of experts at MIM understand this, after working with some of the major car manufacturers on all aspects of safety in their earlier careers before setting up MIM. They saw over and over again how customers compromised their safety by transporting large, unsuitable items in vehicles, which could break up, becoming lethal missiles or remain a solid, in-car mass, causing dreadful, life-threatening injuries, in the event of an accident.

Dog crates were one such problem, and one which the founders of MIMsafe set out to rectify. Dog crates built by other brands are either:

  • Flimsy, easily smashed structures that merely held the dog in one place while travelling but provided no protection whatsoever in the event of an accident. They would fall apart, often leaving exposed bits of metal or other material that would cause injuries and leaving dogs free to escape during an accident, often to run into oncoming traffic.
  • Solid, strong boxes that can withstand an impact, but have no flexibility. This means that they do not absorb any of the energy of an impact and work against, rather than with, the vehicle’s crumple zone, often causing serious or life-threatening injuries to back seat passengers.

They therefore set out to make something safe not only for dogs, but also for passengers. The Variocage will compress in a controlled manner in the event of an accident, absorbing some of the impact of the collision and working with, rather than against, the vehicle’s crumple zone. The back of the crate that is secured against the back seat of the car, is angled away from back seat passengers, protecting heads and necks from hitting the crate during an impact, and the crate will not fracture or fall apart.

They also observed that other dog crate manufacturers do not invest the considerable expense required in performing actual, real-life crash testing. All other dog crate manufacturers of whom we are aware, only “crash test” using computer simulation and mathematical models.

At MIMsafe, our scientists understand that computer simulated models are not always reliable or valid and utilise their experience of working alongside car brands. We therefore invest in an additional, much more reliable and valid crash testing strategy of positioning the crates in situ in the vehicle. This enables us to see not only how the crate will actually perform during an impact, but also how it performs in conjunction with the existing safety features of the vehicle, ensuring that the crates complement, but never impede, the inbuilt safety mechanisms.

We really are the experts in animal and human transport safety. …Read more about our crash testing.

Winter driving

The dangers of Winter driving

By | MIMSafe Blog

Winter drivingWith Winter just around the corner, road hazards increase, and we are statistically more likely to be involved in a road traffic accident. Data from insurance company Admiral reveal that we are 25% more likely to claim on their motor insurance in November compared to April, and their surveys show that 23% of UK motorists have been involved in an accident when driving in severe winter weather conditions.

So why is winter driving more dangerous?

Days are shorter and driving in the dark poses more challenges than daylight driving:

  1. Decreased visibility: our ability to judge distance decreases, and our eyes take time to adjust from bright lights to darker roads. This is particularly an issue for older drivers, whose eyes take longer to adjust. Between the ages of 15 and 65, the speed at which our eyes are able to adjust from light to dark conditions increases from 1 second to 9 seconds.
  2. It’s more difficult to see other road users in the dark and pedestrians are often not aware of this, meaning that they behave in a manner that puts them more at risk.
  3. It is more difficult to judge the speeds of other road users.
  4. Young drivers can be particularly vulnerable due to a lack of experience of driving in the dark.

The weather also has a strong influence on road safety during the winter months and it’s not just ice and snow that create hazards:

  1. On clear sunny days, the low angle of the sun can affect visibility. It’s imperative to ensure that windscreens are kept clean in winter, especially during wet weather conditions leading to mud and water on the roads.
  2. Ice and snow can cause obvious problems, affecting our ability to steer and brake as needed. It can take 10 times longer to stop when braking in ice and snow.
  3. Condensation on the windows due to the colder temperatures, and ice on the windscreen both affect visibility. The highway code stipulates that, when driving in icy conditions, we must be able to see out of every glass panel in our vehicle.
  4. While flooding isn’t limited to winter months, it can still cause problems with dangers such as aquaplaning.

The RAC and AA both provide great advice for safe driving during the Winter, and Leicestershire Fire and Rescue include a great video for how to safely drive on the ice. But, regardless of how safely we drive ourselves, we can’t assume other road users will do the same. It’s important, therefore, to control the things that we can control.

MIMsafe Variocages protect dogs and passengers. We know from our extensive crash testing that in the event of an accident, they compress in a controlled manner, absorbing some of the impact, and decreasing the amount of space in the crate, decreasing injuries to dogs by stopping them from being thrown about.
The crates are strong and will not crumple or fall apart during an impact, meaning that dogs remain safe and protected, not crushed or thrown out of the vehicle. Crates all feature an emergency exit door in case the main crate exit is compromised, ensuring that dogs can be easily released.

Our crates work in conjunction with the crumple zone of vehicles, keeping rear seat passengers safe. This video demonstrates how:

Our crates provide optimal safety for passengers and optimal security for your dogs whatever the season.

Variocage Protects Dog & Owner

By | MIMSafe Blog
MIMsafe Variocage protect owner & dog in road traffic accident

On 20th September, a dog owner from the US who had bought a VarioCage for her dog had a lucky escape. She fell asleep at the wheel doing over 70 mph and rolled her car 4 times.

Although the owner had severe injuries including a bruised lung, lacerations to her head & hand and limited ability to move her neck/head, Avila, her dog, did not have a single scratch on her.
Karis Lyn Rosenow, the owner’s friend, reporting the accident said:

"I fully believe that the vario cage not only saved our dogs life but I truly believe it helped keep the back end of the car intact enough so that the entire car wasn’t flattened during the rolls thus saving Lauren’s life as well".

Karis Lyn Roseknow

Thank you Karis Lyn Rosenow for letting us share this terrifying story – we’re sending all our love to Lauren and Avila, and hoping for a speedy recovery.