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Driving Safely With Your Big Dog

Updated: Oct 25, 2021

When you take your large dogs along for a ride in the car, you need to think about safety,

and securing your dog for the ride.

Credit: Shutterstock.com

You wouldn't bring a child along without securing them, and you (should!) use the safety belts yourself. But still unsecured canines are a common sight in cars.


Dogs need to be safely fastened the same way we do. In some states it's also required by law. Dogs have just as much chance of getting killed or injured as we do when in an accident.


Don't risk your dogs long and healthy life by not securing them in the car!

Why Secure Your Dog in the Car?

  • An unsecured dog in the car can distract the driver causing an accident. If your dog is licking and trying to get your attention, you will be distracted. Some dogs really don't like driving, and they pace back and forth from side to side, or might even try to climb into the front seats.

  • An unsecured dog in the bed of a pickup might fall out off the car. When taking a sharp turn or making a very sudden stop, an unsecured dog will come flying off the bed.

  • An unsecured dog inside the vehicle can become a live projectile in case of a sudden stop. Due to the sudden stop, the dog can be catapultet forward through the windshield or into the driver or passenger in the front seat, injuring or killing them. Or getting injured or killed themselves.

  • An unsecured dog may run off in case of an accident. The dog might escape the wrecked car through a broken window or a door that opens during the accident. A scared dog will run to safety, meaning getting lost. They might also run into traffic nearby endangering both other drivers and themselves.

  • An unsecured dog may be hit and injured by loose objects in the car in an accident. During a sudden stop or an accident, even small loose objects become deadly projectiles, injuring anyone or anything they hit.

 

How to Secure Your Dog in the Car

A travel kennel for your dog seems the obvious option, when driving with your dogs in the back of the car or on the bed of your pickup. However it might be hard to find one large enough when your dog is an extra large breed. The hard plastic gives good protection in case of an accident, and with a comfortable blanket or bed inside, your pup will be comfortable for a while.


The securely latched door will keep the kennel closed at all times. Kennels can be tied to the vehicle for extra protection.


 

A dog seat belt is a good choice for owners of large breed dogs that ride inside the car. There are lots of brands that make these. The dog seat belt are compatible with most types of car seat belts, they are easy to use, doesn't take up much space, and there are many different types and styles available.


Active Pets have made some great products - check out their seat belts!


A dog safety harness for cars is another related way to go. The harness will include a loop on the back or some other mechanism in which you thread the strap from the cars seat belt.


 

A dog barrier is an alternative for a crate or travel kennel. This is a physical barrier between the trunk of the car and the seats. This will give your dog more space in the back, but also a little less protection than a crate or kennel.


I think these are very practical, and this one from PetSafe is easy to assemble, very adjustable, and its sturdy metal construction gives you great visibility to the back of your car, and the rattle-free design reduces noice on road trips.


Barriers will effectively keep your pup in the back, not disturbing the driver, and not catapulting forwards in case of an accident, but it will not contain your dog in the car if the back door opens during an accident.

 
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You should avoid connecting any safety harness, leash or dog seat belt to your dogs collar. In case of an accident or a sudden stop, your dog might choke from the pull on the collar. You should always connect to a harness.



 

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