5 Expert Tips on Dog Car Safety
Going on car rides can be very fun for the whole family, including dogs. We have all seen a puppy hold their head out the window, smiling and enjoying the wind in their face — it’s an image that brings delight to any pet lover. But car rides can also be a very stressful situation for some dogs, especially those who have had bad experiences in a car and those that need training. Therefore, it's best to implement some dog car safety guidelines.
Whether it’s a dog that dislikes getting in a car or one that has a short attention span, driving with your pet can be tricky. Here are some dog car safety tips to keep everyone safe, happy and distraction-free on the road.
Use a crate
Using a crate for your dog is a great choice among dog car safety options. Not only does it help prevent them from distracting you, it keeps them from being distracted from the outside world.
This is also beneficial for families with multiple dogs. It prevents dog siblings from getting into tumbles with each other or squishing one another when the car makes a sharp turn.
Soft crates are best for travel because they are light and easier to pack compared to full metal crates. Make sure to pad the floors of the crate generously with either blankets or a mat for older pets.
Avoid the front passenger seat
While we would like to have our pets sitting next to us, it’s not a safe choice and goes against dog car safety. If a crash were to happen, your pet would get seriously injured by the airbags if they are heavy enough to activate them. This is especially true if you have a human sitting in the passenger seat with the dog in their lap. Furthermore, your pet would more than likely not be wearing a seatbelt, which brings us to the next point.
While we are already warned about the dangers of riding in a car without seatbelts with “click it or ticket,” pet owners should also be warned about the danger of their dogs riding without being properly restrained. There are several different types of seat belts for our canine companions. The designs vary between a short leash to a full harness ensemble.
The simplest version is a very short leash that attaches to your pet’s harness and gets secured in the seat belt by looping around it as it's clicked in. This confines the dog to that side of the car and allows them to look out the window or lay down as they please.
Have a barrier between the driver and back passenger seats
For those with bigger dogs, a great option is putting up a barrier between the back and front of the car to keep them out of your way while driving. It keeps your canine companion from panting in your ear or trying to get in the front passenger seat.
There are multiple designs with various functions and sizes to fit into most cars. Some are flat mesh panels that have handles slipping over the headrests to be held in place. Others are metal barriers for extended use and for those with larger, stronger dogs that like to get as close as possible to their owner.
Child lock the windows
A final tip for dog care safety refers to those who have a dog that loves hanging their head out the window. While this is great for them, it’s a precarious situation. A dog outside or a smaller animal could catch your pet’s attention, causing them to jump out of the car and start a chase. Now, not only do you have a loose dog, but they will be injured from jumping out of a moving vehicle.
Securing your pet in their seat and turning on the child lock is the best way to keep that scenario from happening— especially for dogs who have learned how to roll down windows.
Being in a vehicle that makes unpredictable movements is disorientating for dogs that do not have a lot of experience riding in a car. But following any of the above safety precautions should help make their time in a vehicle more bearable for them and less stressful for you.