How to Keep Your Dog Safe in the Car

By May 19, 2021 May 20th, 2021 Dogs
Dog sticking its head out the window of a moving car

When we think of the image of a dog in a car, we picture a playful pup joyfully sticking its head out of an open window and enjoying the rush of air as the car drives down the road.

Dogs love going for car rides and, since your dog is a member of your family, you want to let your pet do something that it enjoys.

However, the safety features of cars are designed to protect humans, not animals. Fortunately, there are ways you can keep your dog safe in the car.

Reflection of a dog in rearview mirror

Don’t Let Your Dog Hang out the Window

While a dog enjoys the breeze that ruffles its fur as the car drives down the road, hanging out the window is dangerous.

For smaller dogs especially, there’s a risk of the dog jumping out of the car. For larger dogs, you could still open the window slightly so that their heads fit outside, but not the rest of the body.

However, you don’t want to let them stick their heads out for too long, as the air can dry out your dog’s eyes.

Don’t Feed Your Dog in the car

You should feed your dog several hours before you start the car trip. For longer trips, make frequent stops so your dog can relieve itself, stretch its legs, or maybe even get a treat.

You definitely shouldn’t feed your dog or give it treats while the car is in motion. The movement of the car makes it more difficult for the dog to chew, thus presenting a choking hazard.

Keep the Air Conditioner Running

Dogs have thick fur that keeps them warm. As a result, they can get really hot in a car, even while it’s moving.

Make sure you run the air conditioner for the duration of your trip so that your dog stays cool, comfortable, and -most importantly – doesn’t overheat.

Dog with long fur standing next to a parked car

Buckle Your Dog in

Seatbelt laws protect human lives by requiring us to wear seatbelts at all times while in a moving vehicle. Similarly, it is important to protect your dog while driving. An unrestrained dog can get seriously injured in the situation of an accident.

The seatbelts that come with the car may not be designed to protect canine occupants, but there are other ways to protect your pet. From dog hammocks to seat belt harnesses, here are some available products that secure a dog’s safety in a moving vehicle.

Dog Hammock for the Back Seat

One option for keeping your dog safe in the car is to install a hammock in the back seat. These dog hammocks anchor to the back seat and the headrests of the seats in front.

Not only do they prevent your dog from falling off the back seat if the car has to stop suddenly, but they also prevent your dog from climbing into the front seat and distracting the driver.

Back Seat Barrier

Similar to the hammock, a back seat barrier prevents your dog from climbing into the front seat. A front seat is an incredibly dangerous place for a dog to be.

Not only could the dog interfere with the driver’s safe operation of the vehicle, but the dog could also be injured by the airbag deploying in the case of an accident.

A back-seat barrier attaches to the front seats and prevents your dog from being able to climb out of the back seat, where it is much safer and more secure.

Dog Guard for the Trunk

A dog guard is a mesh guard that attaches to the ceiling and floor of your car. You install it in the trunk of the car on the back of the rearmost seats.

Your dog can still see you in the front of the car, but won’t be able to climb over the seats. Additionally, if there is an accident, the guard will prevent your dog from being thrown forward.

Crate

Beagle sitting in a crate

A crate can help to keep your dog safe in the back of your car. The crate needs to be big enough so that your dog can stand up and move around easily.

A good tip: put a blanket and toys in the crate with your dog so it’s more comfortable during the trip.

Zipline Harness

A zipline harness is similar to a seatbelt harness in that it attaches a dog’s harness to the car. The zip line stretches across the back seat of your car and then attaches your dog’s regular harness to it.

This zipline keeps your dog secure but also gives it the freedom to move about the back seat.

Seat Belt Harness

A dog seat belt harness has a strap that can plug into the seat belt clasp of your car. This harness is best suited for well-behaved dogs. However, ff your dog chews through the harness, it will be ineffective in keeping your dog safe in the car.

Carry Box

A carry box is best suited for small dogs, especially those that are anxious. The box allows the dog to see its owner, so the pet never feels that the owner is too far away.

You will need to use a harness in conjunction with the carry box. Attach the harness to the box to keep your dog secure while driving.

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