How to Safely Secure Your Dog in the Car

Dog safety harness with tether that attaches directly to auto's seatbelt webbing.

Driving with your furry friend can be a joy, but it’s crucial to ensure their safety while on the road. Whether you’re headed to the vet or taking your dog to daycare, properly restraining them in your car is of utmost importance.

Importance of Proper Restraints

It’s vital to note that not all restraints are created equal. While some may be suitable for day-to-day driving, others have undergone rigorous crash tests to ensure maximum safety. Remember, always position your dog in the backseat or the cargo area of an SUV.

This Beagle has a leash attached which can prevent an escape into the parking lot, but is not protective in an accident.

Any restraint is better than no restraint at all. A dog that is free in the car can easily distract the driver, jump out when a door is opened, or become a projectile in the event of an accident. This poses a danger not only to your dog but also to everyone else in the car.

Let’s explore some different options for properly restraining your dog in the car.

1. Good: Leash Tied to Headrest or D-Ring

One option is to tie your dog’s leash to the headrest, leash buckle, or d-ring on the floor. While this method provides some level of restraint, it can be challenging to tie the leash at the correct length to ensure comfort and proper confinement. Additionally, the leash may become unraveled during travel.

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2. Better: Seat-Attached Restraints or Seat Belt Clips

Another option is to use restraints that are attached to the seat or inserted into the seat belt clip. These restraints allow for quick and easy securing of your dog in the car. It’s important to keep the leash on the dog as an additional safety measure.

Dog car harness attaches to headrest with adjustable nylon webbing.

3. Best: Crash-Tested Crates and Harnesses

The best option for ensuring your dog’s safety in the car is to use crash-tested crates and harnesses. The Center for Pet Safety has conducted independent tests on various products, including safety harnesses, travel carriers, and travel crates. Opting for these certified products provides peace of mind and optimal protection for your furry friend.

Sleepypod Clickit Sport is crashed tested and rates 5 stars with CPS.

Gunner Kennel with strength tested strap is crashed tested and rates 5 stars with CPS.

Training Tips for Pet Parents

Here are a few essential tips to ensure the proper use of restraints and your pet’s comfort in the car:

  • Familiarize your dog with the harness, carrier, or crate before using it in the car.
  • Monitor your dog to prevent chewing on the restraint. Using a chew deterrent spray can help deter any problematic chewing behavior.
  • Always attach the restraint to a harness. If that’s not possible, a flat collar is also suitable. Never attach a restraint to a head collar, training collar, or prong collar.
  • While it may be tempting to let a new puppy sit on your lap during a car ride, it’s important to start teaching them early on to sit in the back seat or cargo area for their safety.

Stay Informed About Local Laws

Each state and province may have different laws regarding dogs traveling in cars. It’s crucial to know the regulations in your area. Some states have enacted laws that prohibit driving with unrestrained pets, while others have laws against driving with pets on the driver’s lap. Stay informed about any proposed legislation that may impact dog car safety in your state.

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Using the right restraints while driving with your dog not only ensures their safety but also promotes a stress-free and enjoyable ride for both of you. Discover the wide range of dog restraints available and make the right choice for your beloved furry companion.

Tags: dog car safety, dog harness, dog safety

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