Car Safety for Dogs

Car Safety for DogsThere are no legal requirements for making sure that your dog is suitably restrained during car journeys but it is strongly recommended that you do so. If your dog has access to move around while the car is moving, they could distract you or inadvertently cause an accident.

There is also a big possibility that your dog could be seriously injured in the event of an accident or if you are forced to brake sharply. Even if physical injuries were to be avoided, there could be significant psychological repercussions for your dog.

Making sure that your dog is well restrained will prevent these possibilities and keep your dog safe if an accident occurs.

How to Keep Your Dog Safe

Sitting your dog on your lap or that of another passenger is not a good idea. If an accident were to happen, this could actually increase the potential for injury – both to the person and to your pet. Instead, you should make sure that your dog does not have free reign to move around in the car and is also afforded some protection in the event of an accident or emergency stop.

There are several options for doing this depending on the space available in your car, including:

Dog Harnesses

These are designed to attach to your car’s seat belts and work in a similar fashion. They should be well padded to minimise the discomfort of the restraining effect in the event of an emergency stop. A dog car harness can be a good idea if your dog is happy to be restrained in this way and is not likely to fidget a lot and tangle themselves up in it.

Dog Crates

If your dog is fully crate trained and will not mind spending time in a crate, this is another option. If you go down this route, make sure that the dog crate is large enough for them to stretch out but not roomy enough to mean that your dog is thrown around in an accident situation.

Dog Carriers

If your dog is small enough, they can be contained in a dog carrier if they are comfortable travelling in one.

Training Your Dog for Car Safety

Train your dog to only exit the car on command. If you allow your dog to jump out and bound off as soon as you get home, there is a good chance that they will also do this whenever the car doors are opened. This could mean that they try to exit the door into oncoming traffic, for example.

How do you keep your dog safe on car trips? Let us know in the comments section below!

[Photo Credit: Chris Goldberg]