Not long ago, my friend was in a serious car accident that resulted in 2 deaths: another passenger and the family dachshund.
The human was killed on impact. The dachshund, who was not restrained in the car, jumped out after the accident, ran into freeway traffic and was immediately hit by a car.
When I heard about this tragic event, I vowed to make sure my dogs were properly restrained whenever I took them with me in the car. The expense and slight inconvenience of using the appropriate vehicle safety items is well worth the risk.
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Get a harness for your dog. If you restrain your dog with a collar only, he may get strangled if you get into a wreck, especially if you rear-end someone. A harness will protect your dog’s neck and spine.
Several harnesses are on the market, but I prefer fabric ones that wrap around the dog’s neck and torso. Many also have a loop on the top through which you can thread the seat belt.
Fabric harnesses are more costly than other types — around $30 to $60, depending on your dog’s size — but they last forever, and you can find them in different patterns and styles.
2. Seat Belt
Dog seat belts attach to harnesses, keeping your dog immobilized in the back seat.
There are 2 basic models:
- Those that attach to your car’s seat belt
- Those that clip into the female end of the seat belt lock
Either kind will work. Choose the one that works best for your car.
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3. Booster Seat
Because I have small dogs who love to look out the window, I love booster seats, as do my dachshunds.
Designed to fit in your back seat, booster seats are secured with your automobile’s seat belt, around which you clip a dog seat belt that you attach to the harness.
Watch the woman in this video explain how keep a dog safe with a harness in the car:
These specialized seats not only provide a safe place for travel but also they act as a comfortable dog bed. Most are made out of sturdy foam core topped with fabric and fleece. Add a blanket, and you’re good to go.
Booster seats provide maximum comfort and a view for your pup. Ours is starting to look a little worse for wear, but we bought it 6 years ago, so they last a long time. Here’s a popular model made by Solvit (affiliate link).
The safest way to transport your dog is in the back seat, confined to a hard-sided crate that you’ve secured with a seat belt. In the event of an accident, your dog will be protected.
Place the crate in the back seat, and then thread the seat belt through the handle.
Don’t Take a Chance on Safety
Pets aren’t children, but with respect to car travel, you should treat dogs as you would young kids.
Your pet should always sit in the back seat, secured with a safety restraint. Don’t let him ride in the front seat, and don’t allow him to roam the bed of your truck, which is illegal in some places.