If you’re a dog owner, a new study says that your canine may be the newest target blamed for distracted driving. A survey conducted by AAA and Kurgo pet stores states that, “Sixty-five percent of dog owners admit to engaging in at least one potentially distracting activity while driving with their dog.”

Only 16 percent of dog owners surveyed use some form of pet restraint in the vehicle.

To put that figure in perspective, the survey says that there are 78 million dogs that reside in 46 million U.S. households, and that 56 percent of the survey’s respondents have driven with their dog in the car at least once a month over the past year.

Additionally, 29 percent of those surveyed admit that their dog has distracted them while they’re behind the wheel. The survey says 52 percent of owners admit to petting their dog, while another 29 percent say they’ve used their hands or arms to restrain their canine companion while braking.

With such a high percentage of owners interacting with their dogs while behind the wheel, they could be targeted by new distracted driving programs. “The federal government has waged a high-profile campaign against distracted driving, highlighted recently by two pilot programs that created a ticket-writing blitz for cops in two U.S. cities,” writes Inside Line. “The doggie-distraction study would appear to give proponents of the distracted-driving crackdown lots of ammunition, especially since there are 78 million dogs in the U.S., according to a 2009-'10 national pet owners survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association.”

Shopping for a new car? Check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars. Then, look for a great deal on a new car by checking out this month’s best car deals. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter.