Most of us spoil the heck out of our dogs. We feed them the best food, buy them fun toys, and provide them endless love. We enjoy taking them on outings in the neighborhood or to dog-friendly areas. Further, we look forward to taking them places with us, whenever possible. That means that they travel in the car with us. Did you ever think it’s odd when you fasten your seatbelt and your dog roams free? If seatbelts keep humans safe, why would we leave our fur babies to fend for themselves? Maybe you never thought about that. Read on to find out how to keep your dog safe in the car.
Dog Car Safety
We love to travel in the car with our dogs. And our dogs are happy to travel along with us. They love car rides. After all, car rides usually lead to somewhere exciting; parks, wooded trails, stores, dog parks, vacations, etc. Although they sometimes end at the vet’s office, most dogs are still eager to jump in to your car and go on an adventure!
And even though they really enjoy sitting on your lap as you drive, it is a very dangerous way to travel. Think about this, would you consider driving with your small child on your lap? No way! Dogs are really no different when it comes to this situation. When you keep your dog off your lap and contained in their own space, it reduces distractions. Thus, you are able to keep both eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel.
When your dog is inching his way towards the front seat, it is hard to keep them back. Therefore, it is best to contain your dog before you start the engine. There are many ways you can safely contain your dog in the car. Keep reading to decide which car safety option is best for traveling with your dog.
5 Car Safety Tips For Dogs
There are many ways to keep your dog safe in a car. However, I’m going to focus on 5 car safety tips that are easy to implement.
Dog Car Barrier
Keep Windows Up
Lock Window Controls
A dog seatbelt might sound silly. I used to think they were silly anyway. However, throughout the years as a dog walker and pet sitter, I have had excited dogs who want to romp around the car, inch their way to the front seat, and try to jump out the door when we arrived at our destination. All of those instances can be stressful.
Of course, many dogs sit in the car and enjoy the ride, but for the dogs who have ants in their pants (so to speak), a seatbelt is not so silly. In fact, it is a great way to stop the unwanted romping in the car, climbing into the front seat, and it deters them from jumping out of an open car door. It really alleviates those stressors. Further, the dog seatbelt not only keeps your dog contained, it also keeps them safe from being thrown around the car, if you were to get into a car accident.
With a dog seatbelt, one side clips directly into the seatbelt mechanism in your car. The other side has a clasp that attaches to your dog’s harness or even their collar (although that is not recommended). The seatbelt is long enough that your dog can turn around and get comfortable. However, it is short enough that your dog cannot roam around the car. Further, your dog will not have enough slack to jump into the front seat, back seat, or out the door.
Dog Car Barrier
A dog car barrier is another great option for keeping your dog contained safely in a car. If you have an SUV or hatchback and prefer to keep your dog in the cargo area, a dog car barrier keeps your dog back there. No more jumping back and forth over the seat! The dog car barrier attaches to the back of the second row seat and provides a fencing at the top of the seat and goes the entire width of the car. Even sneaky dogs aren’t able to squeeze through a good dog car barrier. They are easy to set up and strong enough to stay up.
You can even use a dog car barrier behind the front seat. Therefore, ever if you decide to keep your dog in the backseat, you can install a dog car barrier behind the front seats as a way to keep your dog in the back. There are a variety of dog car barriers to choose from. Make sure you choose the one that you prefer – front seat barrier vs. cargo barrier.
A dog crate is a way of life for most dogs these days. They are great for potty training puppies, keeping them safe from hazards in the house, and providing your dog a safe space to relax. Did you realize that a dog crate is also an excellent tool for dog safety in the car? After all, a dog crate contains your dog. Meaning, they are not able to move freely around a moving vehicle and cannot jump out of a car as soon as the door opens. For these reasons, a crating your dog in the car is a great way to keep your dog safe in the car.
The one listed below is the crate I recommend. I have used these for years. And they are listed on the Forbes 2020 article: 12 Best Dog Crates.
Keep Windows Up
While good ventilation is important when it comes to dog safety in cars, that doesn’t mean you should roll the windows down all the way. Keeping your windows rolled up all the way or with just enough room for air to flow is best for your dog.
Yes, your dog might love putting their head out the window and letting the wind blow in their face. And while I think it is adorable that a dog can experience this, allowing them to hang out of a car window is dangerous. Your dog could see something exciting (a squirrel, another dog, a person, almost anything!) and decide to jump out of the car window. That would not be safe. Keeping your car windows up provides safety for your dog while traveling in a car.
Lock Window Controls
Once you get your car window to a safe height, make sure to lock the windows. Don’t take the chance that your dog might step on the window controls. If the window lock is not locked, they can open the window themselves and potentially jump out of the car without you knowing it might happen.
Also, keep in mind that if the window is not in the lock position, your dog could step on the control and shut the window. This would be extremely dangerous if they have enough room to stick their nose/head out the window and the window suddenly closes on them.
Additional Car Tips For Dogs
Keeping your dog safe in the car can be done in a variety of ways. And now that you know some of the most popular options, it’s good to further your knowledge on how to keep your dog comfortable in the car. The reality is, if your dog is comfortable, they are relaxed. And a relaxed dog will not want to jump around or try to break through a seatbelt or car barrier. Keeping your dog comfortable is another important aspect in dog car safety.
Easy ways to keep your dog comfortable in the car
Dog Bed/Dog Car Seat
Dog Bed/Dog Car Seat
If you are choose a dog crate to contain your dog when traveling in a car, you might want to consider adding a comfortable dog bed in the crate. Thus, making their ride to and from places cozy and, therefore, enjoyable. If you have a smaller dog, you might consider getting them a doggie car seat. The car seat is like a combination of a dog seatbelt along with a dog bed, but combined into a handy dog safety tool.
Dogs always welcome food and water. If you are traveling longer distances, you might consider bringing along some snacks to keep them happy. Maybe you don’t need a big bowl of kibble, but a good dog bone might be a suitable option to keep your dog entertained and relaxed. And once he finishes chewing that dog bone, he might need some water.
Further, if you are traveling on a warmer day, water will keep your dog hydrated. Accordingly, this will cool your dog down as well.
Finally, whenever you are traveling with your dog by car, an important safety tip is to make sure the automobile is well ventilated. Of course, you should make sure your car is not too hot for your dog. Additionally, you want to make sure your car is not too cold for your dog. And lastly, make sure the ventilation is allowing clean air to circulate. Don’t park your car in an enclosed space with the engine running.
More Pet Health & Safety Resources
Muddy Paws was established in 2007 as a dog walking and pet sitting company. We have walked thousands of dogs. Experience has brought knowledge and we are happy to share that information with pet owners.
I highly recommend the following articles that can help you keep your pets happy and in good health:
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