The car is often a polarizing issue for dogs of all breeds and sizes – they either love it or hate it! We’ve already discussed how to help your dog love car rides. While a dog that loves the car is easier to cart around then a pup that hates it, there is no doubt that safety is extremely important in every situation! The following tips apply whether you’re taking a quick ride to the vet or getting ready for a trip to the beach… Here’s how to keep your dog safe in the car no matter the destination.
Why to Use Car Restraints
Your dog should never be left loose to run around your car. It’s dangerous for you, your dog and any passengers you have with you. While there are no Connecticut laws dictating proper pup transportation (except for this one forbidding driving with a dog unsecured in the back of a pickup truck… but we think that should be a no brainier!), properly restraining your dog is crucial.
There are many different types of restraints out there that can be used on their own or in combination with one another. We are going to highlight some of our recommendations here but there are countless options on the market. We always recommend you do proper research and consult with your veterinarian if you have questions about a particular product.
What works for your pet may not work for someone else’s and it may take a number of tries to find the right combo to keep your pet comfortable. The size of your car, your dog’s size, temperament, age, weight and preferences are all contributing factors to finding the “right fit” to reduce movement of falling, slipping and running and prevent escape and buffer impacts in the case of an accident.
The ideal situation for dog transportation is in a crash-tested crate on the floor behind the passenger seat of the car or secured in the back seat. A crate will ensure your dog is restrained and is not slipping around the car, falling off the seat or jumping into the front to help you drive. The Center for Pet Safety can help you identify the safest crate for your dog’s size.
A Harness and a “Seat Belt”
Another option that some dogs do very well with involves a harness and a short leash that clips right to your car’s seat belt. This gives your dog a little more freedom than a crate, the ability to look out the window but will still keep them securely in the back seat. This can also be done by looping the leash around the headrest of the back seat or using a specially designed pet car seat.
It’s extremely important to note that your dog should never be secured to the seat belt clip with a collar instead of a harness. A properly-fitted harness will help distribute the impact of a crash whereas a collar can potentially snap your dog’s neck.
There are a variety of different car dividers available to keep your dog from diving in to the front seat or being throw forward in the case of an accident. These can be found on your common websites such as Chewy and Amazon. While this may be a good fit for your family, we still highly recommend keeping your dog in a harness and seat belt clip set-up for their protection.
Back Seat Hammocks
“Hammocks” for the back seat of your car can help keep your dog secure in the backseat with the added benefit of protecting your back seats. These come in a number of different colors, materials and sizes to suit your car’s size and your pet’s personality. Some come with pockets for storage of treats, leashes, water bowls and more.
Just like with the car dividers mentioned above, consider coupling your back seat divider with the harness and “seat belt” method to keep your pet from becoming a projectile in the case of a car accident.
Find What Works for You
There are so many possibilities when it comes to finding the best way to keep your dog safe in the car. Whether they prefer a crate or a harness, each of these options will keep your pet secure and may help prevent a tragedy on the road. Try different combinations to see what you and your pet prefer and be sure to speak with your veterinarian if you have questions or concerns!