Dog car safety is just as critical as child safety when they ride with you…It is so easy for all of us to say “Load up!” when your doggie wants to tag along on a car trip. But be aware that even if your trip is just to the corner store, there are huge dangers when your four-pawed passenger is not restrained. Never think, “It won’t happen to me” when allowing your dog to ride along on any car trip! Where your pup should ride, how to restrain them and what can happen if you don’t are major considerations next time you take that precious cargo for a ride!
Where your pet should ride
Tiny to mid-sized canines may fit easily into the passenger seat right next to you. However, if they are allowed to simply ride along without an enclosure designed for them, such as a dog purse carrier or crate, then they are left with the ability to roam around the vehicle. When your dog stands up in the seat, they can easily lose their balance when you turn or put on the brakes. Or maybe your car is configured so they can jump over the console and go to the back seat at will. Or what if they want to distract you by getting in your lap or worse yet, under your feet, as you drive?
The back seat for larger dogs may seem to be a perfect way to let your tail wagger enjoy the ride. Yet, there is also a chance they may decide to stand up, turn around or even help themselves to the passenger seat, pushing you over while they climb over the seat!
No matter what size your precious fur pal happens to be, the back seat is the best place for them to ride. In the passenger seat or your lap, they are subject to sudden moves throwing them around the dash and floor of the car. Plus, in the worst-case scenario, they will be crushed by the airbag in case of a fender bender.
How to restrain your dog in a car seat
Car seats come in the form of crates, kennels and carriers for dogs, so you do have many ways to be sure your furry friend is restricted in their space. But, that is still not enough restraint, because with a larger object that contains a movable creature, the impact of a sudden screech on the brakes, a hit from behind or (heaven forbid) an all-out accident, will send that container flying with your helpless dog inside!
Pet Purse carriers usually have straps or built-in hardware so you can lasso the carrier to a car seat belt. Larger crates and kennels should be hooked to seat belts and even fastened to the floor of the rear compartment to provide ultimate stability.
Very large dogs can be trained to your seat belt when you put them in the car. There are also manufactured seat belts made specially to add to your car’s seat belt that will prevent moving around and give limited protection in case of a crash.
What is the worst that could happen?
You never expect the worse to happen when you get in your car; however, being prepared is always a good process when your passenger is a child or your fur baby. When left unrestrained, your dog can:
- Fly through the air hitting the seat, window, door or dashboard
- Be thrown through a window or out of a damaged door
- Panic and jump into the driver seat keeping you from making corrective maneuvers
- Get car sick or anxious if you have to make sudden stops or take evasive action
- Be a danger to you when an impact crash sends their weight flying forward
- Distract you just as much as texting while you drive
- Run away or get hit by a passing vehicle when they try to escape an accident
- Be injured and become aggressive to first responders trying to help you
Doggie Diva would like to acknowledge and appreciate the following resource:
“5 Reasons Your Dog Should Always Be in a Safety Harness or Secured Carrier in the Car” by Jackie Brown, Dogster Magazine, 2/27/17, www.dogster.com