Dog Car Safety Tips

dog car safety

Who hasn’t chuckled at the pure joy in the flapping jowls and whipped back ears of a dog with her head stuck out a car window? Many dogs absolutely love riding in the car. Not only is it a vessel to new and exciting destinations, it offers a stimulating rush of experiences on the way. Dogs are washed in smells that change almost faster than they can be absorbed. While riding in the car can be a fun experience for our dogs and us, it can also be extremely dangerous if safety precautions aren’t taken. Here are some dog car safety tips to make your ride safer and more enjoyable.

Attention on the Road

Your attention needs to be on the road. If you are distracted by your dog bouncing around the car while you are driving, of your dog jumping onto your lap and blocking your view, you, your dog, and the other drivers on the road could all be in a lot of danger. Practice driving around neighborhood streets on which you can stop if your dog should distract you until you have developed an effective strategy for driving safely with your dog.

High Speed Safety

It is generally safe to let your dog stick her head out a partially opened window at low speeds, provided she cannot fall out the window. At faster speeds, however, and when driving next to oncoming traffic, your dog’s sensitive face, eyes, and ears can easily be injured by debris that is kicked up by other cars, or by wind blowing into delicate ear canals. Play it safe, and only let your dog look out the window at slower speeds.

Tools for the Excitable Dog

If your dog is just too excited, causing a distraction or making you worried that she will interfere with your driving, there are several dog car safety tools available to help. Car barriers like the INNX Stretchable Back Seat Dog Barrier or Kurgo Backseat Dog Car Barrier, ranging in price from $12.99 to $40.49 on Amazon can let your dog contain her bouncing around to the backseat, while car hammocks can protect your seats from all that activity and prevent your dog from slipping down onto the car floor.

If you want to contain your dog more thoroughly or with less equipment, you can try a dog seatbelt like Pawaboo Dog Safety Vest Harness for $14.05, on up to a Kurgo Impact (TM) Dog Seat Belt Harness for $75, and everything in between. These harnesses advertise that they can help protect your dog in case of an accident and some even demonstrate crash test ratings. Such a tool can not only keep your dog contained and from distracting you, but also could save her life in case of an accident.

Carrier for the Nervous Dog

If your dog is afraid of car rides, or insists on trying to curl into your lap while you are driving, and you think a seatbelt harness may just make her more nervous, try restricting her movements with a car carrier. These can also help protect your dog in case of an accident. Put a fluffy blanket or bed in the carrier so your dog can lodge herself against the vehicle’s movement. Put some good chews in the carrier, and some favorite toys, so that your dog will feel safe and at home in her special place in your car.

Car Manners Training

However you choose to restrict your dog’s movements, it is important that she feel relaxed and comfortable during the ride. Teach your dog to feel comfortable and safe in the car by gradually increasing time in the car from very short trips to longer ones, rewarding your dog all along for calm behavior with treats and affection. It is helpful to have an accomplice during the training process, so that one person can drive while the other rewards.

If this article was helpful, you may be interested in tips for moving long distance with your pet.