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How to travel with your dog safely

Posted by Elijah Wiegmann on
How to travel with your dog safely

Keeping Your Dog Safe During Car Journeys

Our dogs are part of our family. So why do 84% of Americans drive around with their pet unrestrained in their car? Maybe because they aren’t aware that a 60-pound dog could potentially transform into a 2,700-pound projectile in the event of a collision. 

Now that we’ve established the fact that driving with your pet unsecured is a dangerous activity, here are some options to keep your pet safely restrained when traveling in your car.

Seat Belt-Attached Harness

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There are many different styles and brands of pet seatbelts, and their job is to keep the dog safe while still allowing them to be comfortable. 

The easiest way to secure your dog to the seat of a car is by connecting them to a leash and tying it firmly to a connected seatbelt where a human's waist would be when the seatbelt is locked in place. Use a carabiner for quick connection when securing your dog with a pet seat belt.

It's vitally important that your dog is connected by a harness (not a leash) and also making sure that the dog isn’t too loose or too tight when sitting in their seat—too loose means they aren’t secure, and too firm means they will not be comfortable on long rides.


Zipline Harness 

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A zipline harness works the same as a pet seat belt with the only difference being it gives your dog the ability to move around freely.

You can make your zip line harness by connecting a tie-down to both upper handle anchors in the rear seat, and then attach a short leash to your dog’s harness and line by using a carabiner.

The only thing you need to be careful about when using a zip line harness is the dog falling into the car’s footwell when you hit the brakes. It is therefore more suitable for dogs that are too large and heavy to fall into a footwell.

Plush Carry Box

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Do you want your pet to be more comfortable while driving? You might try a plush carry box that mounts to an individual seat and allows your pet to move freely within a smaller area. 

A plush carry box is for smaller and more well-behaved dogs who like to sit or lay in the front seat to accompany their owners. The only bad thing about some plush carry boxes is that the dog will be able to jump over the edge and onto the floor if not secured with a pet seatbelt.


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Using a crate/kennel is a secure way to transport your dog, but it might not be the best solution for longer journeys when it comes to their comfort. 

Be sure that your kennel is fastened safely to where it needs to be while driving. Placing your dog in the trunk or bed of the car isn’t recommended. 

When buying a crate for your dog, make sure to select a size appropriate for their weight and size. Your dog should be able to lay comfortably in the crate.

Back Seat Hammock

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A pet hammock for the back seat is a great way to give your dog its own space in the rear of the car without sacrificing the cleanliness of your seats. Simply hook the hammock to the front and rear headrests, and place the dog comfortably inside the back seat of the car.

A back seat hammock is great because it prevents your dog from falling onto the floor on the backside. It’s the perfect solution for older dogs who need lots of space will likely be laying down for a whole journey.

Back seat hammocks do prevent your dog from climbing up into the front of the car, but they won’t give your dog complete security as a harness will in the event of an accident. You might want to consider using a harness when putting your dog in a back seat hammock.

How To Prevent Accidents While Driving With A Pet 

  • Prevent distractions

Don’t let your furry friend distract you while driving. Make sure your dog isn’t able to climb up into your lap and be careful about opening the windows when driving with your pet as they could climb out.

  • Don’t feed your pet while driving

Give your pet food before the trip starts, and be sure to stop frequently for bathroom breaks along the way.

  • Avoid putting your dog in the truck bed 

There’s nothing wrong with putting your dog in the bed of the truck if they are secured to a harness and can’t jump out the back. Just take into mind that your furry friend will be more comfortable in the cab away from the elements. 

Wrapping Up: Which Dog Restraint Should You Use?

Which type of restraint should you use for your dog when driving? It depends on the dog's size, age, and ability. 

We recommend a crate or plush carry box for smaller dogs, a backseat hammock for older and larger dogs, and a zip line harness for medium-sized dogs. 

Oh, and don’t forget to throw a blanket or dog bed down to save your seats from dog hair. 

About the author:

Mike Skoropad is the owner and CEO of tire retailer United Tires

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