A Vancouver woman whose dog was killed in a car crash wonders if her pet would still be alive if for a simple precaution.

Elisha McCallum’s 12-year-old dog Radar was sleeping in the passenger seat of her dog walker’s vehicle when the car was T-boned two weeks ago.

The small Jack Russell terrier died instantly after hitting the dashboard.

McCallum says she feels responsible for what happened because she never asked the care giver to secure the pup inside her car.

“I myself always have my dog secured inside the vehicle,” she said.

“I wish I’d reinforced that with her. I wish I’d made that clear that was my expectation.”

Veterinarian Kathy Kramer sees the terrible injuries pets can suffer if left unsecured in vehicles and says “tragedy can strike in a heartbeat.”

She recommends transporting dogs in a crate or with a safety harness.

"People take the extra minute to buckle themselves in, they do it for their children, it takes another minute to do it for their pet,” she said.

Kramer acknowledges harnesses aren't perfect and some can even harm an animal in a crash, but she believes they're better than nothing.

There are no laws specifying how to safely transport pets. The Animal Cruelty Act only says they have to be inside a vehicle, or safely secured if they're outside, like on the deck of a pickup truck.

McCallum is hoping that her story makes other pet owners think, plan and discuss safe transportation options for their four-legged companions.

“Radar was a great companion, she travelled everywhere with us,” she said. “This isn’t something I’d wish upon anyone.”

With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Penny Daflos