What is the Best Way to Keep a Dog Safe in the Car

what is the best way to keep my dog safe in the car

Dear Hindy,

My 50lb dog Jasper is a bit naughty in the car. He starts off sitting nicely in the back seat, but sometimes he tries to get in the front with us. I’m worried about him causing an accident, but I’m not sure the best way to keep him safe. Thank you, Gladys

What is the Best Way to Keep my Dog Safe in the Car

Dear Gladys,

I’m so glad you brought this subject up because it’s an important one. I’ve been guilty of driving with a dog in my lap, there I said it!! Okay the dog weighed about 5lbs and stayed draped over my leg the entire time, but it still wasn’t a smart thing to do. What if I stopped suddenly and she fell? What if she ended up under the brake pedal? You’re dealing with a much bigger dog!!

A dog can so easily distract a driver and as we all know, it takes a split second for things to go terribly wrong.

I don’t know what kind of car you have, but if you have an SUV, station wagon or something similar you have a few options. A metal barrier will keep Jasper secured in the back so he can’t jump around. A crate is another option, as it will keep him safely contained. A third possibility is a seat belt, just like we wear. It has a clip at one end to attach to his collar or harness, the other end fits into the seat belt buckle in your car.

If you have a sedan type car, a seat belt is your best bet, and there are vest harnesses that come with a seat belt tether attached. Hope this helps!

Good luck.

 

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Hindy Pearson
I am a dog trainer and behaviour consultant, specialising in working with first time dog owners. Whether you're thinking of getting a dog and aren't sure if it's the right time, or you've been sharing your life with one for awhile but there are issues you can't resolve, I am here for you. No matter where in the world you live I can help.

10 Comments

  1. Ruth Epstein

    I do not drive so do not have that problem but when I go in a car with a friend and Layla I normally sit in the back with her as I feel it safer for all of us. We mainly use public transport and then she is in her backpack on my back

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      I agree, I think being in the back seat is safer, and I put Jack’s seatbelt on. I bet it’s so much more comfortable for Layla to travel in the backpack, and I imagine she feels more secure. You must be a real hit where you live!!

      Reply
  2. Chirpy Cats

    Back in the days when our two senior cats were travelling cats, my older cat loved sitting at the back of the car looking out enjoying the view. I know, this was a dangerous thing to do and luckily nothing ever happened, but these safety tips cannot be stressed enough! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      My cats were always so fearful, I’m amazed when I read about such relaxed cats!! I had a 5lb poodle (if she even weighed that much!) a few years ago, and I used to drape her across my leg when I drove and she never moved. Like you I’m thankful nothing happened, but what if I had to stop suddenly and she fell on the floor and got hurt, or prevented me from braking? Always better to be safe.

      Reply
  3. Kamira

    Nice suggestions. I was thinking the same thing about the safety vest for a pet in the car. There are a few options so people shouldn’t have to feel there is no solution. Just like humans, pets need to be safe and secure when riding in the car. You just never know what can happen, even if you are the best driver.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Thanks Kamira and I agree about options being important. Even the most chilled out dog could suddenly jump off a lap and cause an accident. Best to keep them secure and not take chances.

      Reply
  4. Beth

    I was disappointed to learn that most of the harnesses and clips for dogs aren’t actually crash tested. I always restrain my pets, but I need to get something so they will have a better chance of survival if we are in a crash.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      You’re right because when you think about it, if the car was involved in an accident, a harness or seat belt may stop them from flying but wouldn’t necessarily stop them from getting hurt. I did see a very heavy duty crate once that was crash tested but it was crazy expensive and none of my animals would have been happy in it from the way it looked.

      Reply
  5. Dorothy "FiveSibesMom"

    Such an important post. We use both crates and seat belts, depending on the when and which Husky. Travel safety is so important, yet I get so upset to see so many dogs loose in cars and trucks, and I think, my gosh, what if they ever were in an accident? At the very least, the dog(s) could escape into the road, get lost, or worse. Safe pet travel awareness is so important.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      I was driving on the highway one day (not a huge busy highway but still not a side road) and I saw a dog in the back of a pick up truck. He was just standing, not secured in any way and my heart just dropped. What an irresponsible owner, I felt so sad for the dog. He could have fallen out and gotten hit by a car, or jumped out and taken off. He wasn’t wearing a collar, and I’m going to guess he wasn’t microchipped either!

      Reply

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