Have you ever been driving around and seen a cute dog sitting on a driver’s lap, or walking around the backseat and looking out the window with the wind in his face? How about the dogs in the bed of pick-up trucks walking around the back of it? Like any normal person you would look at how happy and cute the dog looks and think to yourself……” aww what a cute doggy and look how happy he is with the wind in his face!” Did it ever occur to you if the dog is safe??? Think about it, we seatbelt ourselves in, right? We seatbelt our kids in, right? So why do we not seatbelt our fur babies in??? They are at the same risk as you and me if we were to get in a car accident! I have often thought to myself when I see a dog sitting on the drivers lap and their paws are perched on the window and they’re looking out, “if that person got hit by another car right now they could both be seriously injured!”
Well let me give you a few tips that you could put into practice yourself and even pass along to your friends. First and foremost, your dog should always be safely secured in your car. Now depending on the size and activity level of your dog, will help you figure out the best way to safely secure them in your car while still having the enjoyment of them traveling around with you. I have seen dogs travel in their crates which is a great idea. If your dog is crate trained, then they already feel safe and secure in their “safe place” so using that for travel in the car would be the perfect transition. If you do decide to place your dog in their crate to travel, be sure to secure the crate so it’s not sliding around in the trunk or while on the backseat. In most cars nowadays, there are hooks (anchors) in both the trunk and on the backseats, which are typically used to anchor child car seats. Bungee cords can also be used as another way to prevent the crate from sliding back and forth. However, it you’re like me and you like having your fur baby close to you while in the car please, please, please make sure they are in a harness and seat belted in and secure!! This harness and seatbelt combination is what I use on Maebh, my dog and on Paws Chateau clients when shuttling them back and forth.
And finally, pet travel carriers. These are typically used for smaller dogs. There are a lot of them out there on the market but from what I’ve seen and through my research they can be flimsy and there’s no way to anchor them. This is the one carrier I did find that not only passed the crash test but also can be anchored down using anchor straps which I mentioned above.
I have also found some additional travel systems for your dogs that have been tried, tested, and put through an actual crash test. Feel free to check them out at centerforpetsafety.org to see these pretty cool crash test videos and to see how each of the travel systems outlined have been rated and whether or not they actually passed. This site will also give you the name of each travel system and the weight restrictions for each. You can also look at video clips of the actual crash tests that were done for each of them which I thought was cool.
Oh, and one last thing………have you thought about what other dangers there are especially when your dog’s head is hanging out of the car window?? How about those pesky rocks that get kicked up off the road by other cars and trucks and crack your windshield?? Did you know that those rocks can also fly up into your dog’s eye and face and cause them injury and pain? Vets have reported an increase in visits to their clinics with eye injuries and it usually is because of the dogs sticking their heads out of the car window. Now we all love to watch dogs with their heads hanging out of car windows because they look so happy and free with big smiles on their faces, but we surely don’t want any harm to come to their cute little faces and eyes. So, when Maebh feels the need to stick her head out of my car window I put her Doggles on and yes you read that right! Doggles are basically protective sunglasses for your dog! Here is a link below where you can buy them at a decent price.
So, when you’re about to put your fur baby in the car to take them to the park, the office, or just a on a quick errand think to yourself, “do I have a way to secure my pup while I’m in the car?” And if the answer is no, please don’t bring them with you this time. Instead, while out running your errand stop by your local pet store or even hop onto amazon and buy them a safe car harness, they will thank you for it in the end!