Dog Car Safety: 8 Ultimate Safety Tips for Driving With Your Dog!

Dog Car Safety

Dogs love sticking their head out of the car window while driving to enjoy the view and feel the breeze. Though many pet parents allow their pooch to do that, it is extremely dangerous. There may be dust and rocks that can potentially get into your four-legged friend’s eyes or other flying objects that might hit them.

What can also possibly happen is that you drive too fast while turning and cause your dog to lose balance and fall out. The worst-case scenario is your canine jumps out of the car and hit by the incoming traffic.

Also, there are other unsafe practices, which can jeopardize everyone’s safety, such as petting your dog, allowing them to sit in the lap, or taking photos with them.

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA) for traffic safety, taking your eyes off the road for just 2 seconds will double the risk of a car crash.

Despite, the survey done by AAA and Kurgo shows that many pet parents engage with their dogs while driving, and that includes:

  • Petting their dog (52%).
  • Hold their dog in place when putting on brakes (23%).
  • Using hands to restrict their dog from getting to the front seat (19%).
  • Reach into the back to play with their furry friend (18%).
  • Allowing their dog to sit in their lap (17%).
  • Give their furkid food or treats (13%).
  • Taking photos of their dog while driving (3%).

Also, 83% of the respondents agree that driving with unrestrained dogs is dangerous, yet only 16% of them secure their furkid. Let’s be part of the 16% for safety reasons, and below are some of the things that you can do. Not only does this keep your pooch and yourself safe, but also everyone else around you.

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8 Ultimate Safety Tips for Driving With Your Canine

1. Buckle Up!

Buckle Up Your Dog in the Car

First and foremost, secure your furry friend before you drive away! There are 8 different ways to restrain them, and the purpose is to minimize the distraction so that you can focus while you drive. In fact, leaving dogs roaming free in the car is extremely dangerous.

According to the statistics, an unrestrained 80-pound dog will exert roughly 2,400 pounds of force in a crash at 30 miles per hour, which is like being hit by cattle. Can you imagine how fatal that is?

Also, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has stated that unrestrained dogs can be severely injured or killed by an airbag in a collision. 

2. Don’t Let Your Dog Stick Their Head Out of the Window

Dog Stick Out The Head Out of Window

As mentioned earlier, letting your dog hang their head outside the window is dangerous. Just think about all the flying objects that might hurt them, such as pebbles, pollens, or even bugs.

Not only that, but it can also dry their eyes out, and can potentially cause ulcers. 

3. No Cuddling While Driving


Does your dog want to cuddle?

No, not when you are driving. As much as you want to cuddle with them, safety is more important. In fact, they shouldn’t be allowed to get to the front seat in the first place as it can be very distracting. 

4. Take Regular Breaks

Just like humans, your dog will also need to take breaks, especially if you are going on a long road trip. So, make sure you plan your stops to allow them to stretch their legs, drink some water, as well as to go to the toilet. 

5. Keep the Air Conditioning On

You may have already known that heat stroke can occur if dogs get too hot, which is very dangerous. So, ensure you have the air-conditioner turn on.

And if for some reason you need to run a quick errand, make sure to never leave them alone in the car as the heat can rise very quickly and become unbearable for them in just a few minutes. Also, leaving dogs in the car alone in some places is illegal

6. Use the Window Shades

You probably don’t need to pull out the shades in winter, but can be very useful during a hot summer day to block out the harsh sun rays and keep your pooch cool and comfortable in the car. 

7. Start With Shorter Drives

Make sure you acclimate your dog to riding in the car before taking them on a long road trip. Start with shorter drives to the nearby beaches or parks, and remember to make the journey as positive as possible so that they know it’s fun to travel.

Then, gradually increase the distance and time spent in the car.

8. Don’t Feed Your Furry Friend Just Before You Travel

Avoid feeding your dog just before the trip, especially if they are prone to car sickness as it can upset their tummy, and can cause them to vomit. As a good rule of thumb, only feed them light meals at least 3 hours before the ride. 

8 Options to Restrain Your Pooch in the Car

Dog Locked in Car

1. Dog Car Harness

Though dog car harnesses look similar to the standard harnesses, they are more durable, designed to withstand the impact of a car crash to keep your dog safe. Ideally, you would want to pick the one that has proven to be effective in an auto collision. 

2. Dog Seat Belt

It offers a hassle-free way to tether your dog in the car. You can easily attach the hook to the harness and click the other end into the seat belt buckle, just like how you would fasten your own.

Consider the ones that are made of metal hardware for durability, with a swivel snap so that it won’t tangle up.

3. Dog Car Zipline

Another option to prevent your pooch from jumping to the front seat, but it still allows them to move around, meaning it is suitable for active dogs. Works by attaching it to 2 fixed points in your car, such as the grab handles, then clip the included leash to the harness. 

4. Dog Car Seat

There are also car seats specifically designed for small dogs only, typically made of plush fabric for comfort, and elevated to provide a better view. It should also come with a security leash to keep the dog seated. 

5. Back Seat Barrier

While the purpose is to keep dogs from getting to the front seat, it offers maximum freedom of movement, which means it is ideal for restless dogs. It also helps to prevent them from launching to the front in sudden brakes, and as a result keeping them safe. 

6. Car Hammock

It is suitable for well-behaved dogs or senior dogs who just want to lay down and rest. It helps to keep them in the back seat and prevent them from falling into the passenger leg compartment.

Work by snapping the buckle straps around the headrest, and make sure to look for the ones with non-slip surfaces for your dog’s comfort. 

7. Crate

Another way that you can safely transport your dog from one place to another is by using a crate, preferably crash-tested to offer your pooch with extra protection in the case of an accident.

Make sure it has enough room to allow your dog to stand up and turn around, but not too large to minimize the force of impact in sudden stops or crash. 

8. Dog Guard

Dog Guard

Otherwise, you can also consider installing a dog guard to restrain your four-legged friend in the boot. Similar to using a back seat barrier to some extent, it can prevent them from climbing over. It is more spacious, which means it is ideal for dogs who love to move around. 

Dog Car Safety Infographic

Learn How to Travel with Dogs in a Car

Dog Car Safety

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