Taking Your Dog for a Ride

She loves doing "doggy face," but you know it's not safe!

Who loves to ride in the car more than your dog? Are you a responsible dog owner, or are you putting yourself, your family, other drivers, and your dog at risk when you travel with your dog loose in your car? You wouldn’t dream of not putting seat belts on your children, even for a short trip to the grocery store, so why would you do any less for your furry family members?

Did you know that more than 30,000 accidents are caused every year by drivers who are distracted by unrestrained pets in their vehicles? And those are only the ones that were reported. Every one of those accidents could have been prevented by a proper pet restraint system.

Properly securing your pet in your vehicle keeps them safer and prevents them from jumping into your lap or getting under your feet while you are driving, thereby keeping your passengers and other drivers on the road safer, too. It’s also important to restrain your pets in the car to reduce injuries in an accident. You would not want them to be thrown from the car or become a projectile in the car. An air bag can kill a small pet, so don’t risk it! Put them in a hard-sided carrier, or put them in the back seat.

If your vehicle has air bags, please purchase a safety harness or other pet restraint system that is designed to be used in the back seat unless you are using a rigid plastic or metal crate.

If you are traveling with your cat, a sturdy cat carrier is the best idea. Many cats do not like the motion of a vehicle and can panic, injuring you, your passengers, or themselves.

Safety Harnesses for Dogs

When choosing a safety harness for your dog, look for the following things:

  • Wide, comfortable padded straps and harness parts
  • Durable construction and easy-to-clean materials
  • A design that distributes your dog’s weight around his body and shoulders, not around his neck
  • No extra straps for your pet to get tangled in
  • Easy-to-use, functional design (If it is difficult or frustrating to use, you won’t use it!)
  • Quick-release attachments and fasteners
  • Proper fit for your pet’s size and shape
  • Design and construction intended for use in the back seat of your vehicle

The Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness is a good choice and is available in sizes to fit dogs from 10 to more than 80 pounds. Solvit also has a fantastic line of safety harnesses for dogs from 6 to 120 pounds.

Tru-Fit Smart Harness

Dog Booster Seats

Many styles and sizes of booster seats are available for dogs, many of which allow even smaller dogs to have a view out the window while keeping them safe.

Dog booster seats like the Solvit  Jumbo On-Seat Booster allow your pet to ride comfortably and remain in the seat using short tethers.

Solvit Standard On-Seat Dog Booster Seat

Some booster seats serve more than one purpose like the multifunctional Pet Gear Carrier/Car Booster Seat which can be used as a carrier and a car carrier that is secured by your vehicle’s seatbelts.

Pet Gear Car Carrier/Booster Seat

Keeping your dog in a crate when riding in the car is perhaps the safest option. The Pet Gear Click n’ Go Car Carrier/Booster offers great flexibility. It can be used as a crate in your home, as a hand-held carrier, and as a safe carrier that snaps into its own base in your car.

Pet Gear Click n' Go Car Carrier/Booster Seat

For larger dogs and larger vehicles, you might want to consider a sturdy metal crate like the MidWest SUV Side-by-Side crate.

MidWest Side-by-Side Crates

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