Anyone who owns a dog knows that traveling with him or her in the car is not always easy or fun. Many dogs tend to get sick from riding in an automobile, even on short trips. Besides keeping Fido from vomiting all over your vehicle when he rides with you, it’s important to keep him safe from other hazards of travelling. You don’t want your dog wandering all over the car while you’re driving, potentially distracting you and causing an accident. Here are a few tips for driving safely with your canine in your car.
Use Doggy Seat Belts
A vehicle’s seat belts are wisely and ergonomically designed to keep humans safe while driving or riding in vehicles. These same seat belts can also help to safeguard your pup, when combined with a dog harness and doggy seat belts. Doggy seat belts attach to your dog’s harness and to the car’s seat belt, keeping him strapped in and safe while you drive. Unlike some child car seats, their usage is pretty straightforward and easy to figure out. They are an invaluable tool that all dog owners should have. These doggy seat belts can also help keep your dog safely in the car if you have to open the car door to get something out of the car but don’t want Fido to escape while you’re doing so.
Put Your Dog in a Carrier
If your dog is small enough, the safest way to travel with him in the car is by putting him in a doggy carrier. This will prevent the dog from running from the back seat to the front seat and possibly distracting you enough to cause an accident (or even worse, interfering with the gas and brake pedals while you’re driving). The carrier can also help to keep the dog from flying through the windshield if an accident does occur while he is riding in the car.
Use A Barrier
For dogs who can’t fit into a pet carrier or, for some reason, can’t use doggy seat belts, a barrier can be a literal lifesaver. These are adjustable metal grates or bars that will keep the back seat separate from the front seat and help to keep Fido safe back there. While you see them more often in larger vehicles, such as SUVs, they do also make mesh nets that act as barriers for cars, separating front and back seats.
No Heads Out the Window
You’ve probably laughed when you’ve seen dogs riding in their owner’s cars with their heads out the window. While this might look cute, many sources suggest that this is dangerous. Not only can the dog escape through the open window, but foreign objects can fly into the car and into the dog’s eyes and ears. Additionally, some windows have mechanisms that could accidentally close on a dog’s neck while his head is out the window. To be safe, keep your vehicle’s windows closed while your pooch is riding with you.
Make Sure Your Dog Rides in the Back Seat
No matter which method you choose to keep your dog safely, comfortably restrained while in the car, be sure to put him in the back seat. If your dog rides in your lap or in the front passenger seat, he can be very distracting to you, the driver. Plus, the front seat airbags, if deployed in an accident, can injure your dog, even if the dog is in a carrier. The back seat is the safest place for pets.