PhotoMost dogs love to ride in cars and it's a common sight to see canine ears flapping out the window or a pooch perched on the driver's lap of a car rolling down the highway.

Neither of these practices is even remotely safe, of course. In a collision or even just a sudden stop, the dog and the car's occupants could be severely injured or killed when the dog becomes an unrestrained projectile.

But figuring out how to safely transport a pet isn't easy. There are no federal safety standards, as there are for humans, and not much reliable information available from private sources.

A Washington, D.C.-area organization, Center for Pet Safety, is trying to change that. Working with Subaru, who has partly sponsored the project, it has been trying to come up with standards based on recent tests of pet crates and carriers that it has commissioned.

Top safety picks

In its latest tests, the center selected three products that it says provide the greatest degree of safety -- the Gunner Kennels G1 Intermediate with 8’ Tie Down Straps as the 2015 Top Performing Crate and both the PetEgo Forma Frame Jet Set Carrier with ISOFIX-Latch Connection and Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed with PPRS Handilock as the 2015 Top Performing Carriers.

The top performers surpassed all competing products in the CPS-designed studies, which included testing of crate connections and rigorous crash testing to examine crate and carrier structural integrity, the organization said.

"We recommend that owners choose the right sized crate for their dog, which is generally six inches longer than the body of the dog. We are also pleased that our crossover vehicles, which are award winners themselves for safety, accept most crate and carrier sizes,” said Michael McHale, Subaru's director of corporate communications.

More information about the tests is available on the CPS website.

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