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A car can be a very dangerous place for our dog. Most of us would never dream of travelling with a child in our car with a seatbelt, and the same should be true for our dogs.
Dogs are the size and weight that if we were to find ourselves in a car collision, or to brake suddenly while driving, that they could potentially fly out of their seats and severely injure themselves and others in the vehicle.
To prevent this horror from happening, here are four options that you have to keep your dog safely restrained in your car. Each option is specifically suited to dogs of particular sizes and temperaments, so bear this in mind when you choose how to keep your dog restrained.
Of course, we would never recommend keeping a dog in an enclosed trunk of a small car, however if you drive an SUV, then the trunk of your vehicle is one of the safest places for your dog to lay while you are driving.
The main danger that your dog faces when laying in the trunk of your car is sliding into the back seats or side of your car if you brake or swerve suddenly.
You can mitigate this risk by keeping your pet in a kennel wedged into the corner of your car’s trunk where the back seats meet the side of the car. That way, if you are to swerve or break suddenly, the kennel will have nowhere to go.
If you are keeping your dog in a kennel during a longer car journey then make sure to take a break to let your dog out to stretch their legs and get some water at least once every 2 hours.
Image credit: pixabay.com
For more energetic dogs, who may be restless in a kennel, a better option may be to keep them in the back seat of your car. You can restrain a dog safely in a car's backseat by using a dog harness and attaching this to a seatbelt strap.
You can either run a seatbelt through the loop at the back of your dog’s harness or, if your dog’s harness does not have a big enough loop, you can attach it via a carabiner.
If you are to have a collision or bake suddenly, then the seatbelt will become taught and prevent your dog from being thrown from their seat. It essentially protects your dog in much the same way as it would a human passenger.
Just be aware that, like with humans, your dog needs to weigh over 25lbs to be certain that they will be protected by a seatbelt. For dogs lighter than this, it cannot be guaranteed that a seatbelt will go taught and stop a dog from being thrown from their seat.
Image source: pixababy.com
Car seat hammocks are perfect for larger, more sedate dogs taht will be content laying down in one spot throught the entirety of a car journey.
They are essentially a thick piece of material, usually vinyl, that is suspended between the headrests of the front and back seats of your car. This turns the back seats of your car into a hammock-like area where your dog can lay down.
Since the hammock covers your car’s footwell, your dog will be safe from falling in there in case of an accident.
Car seat hammocks are only suitable for larger dogs (over 35lbs) who are unlikely to be thrown from their seat if they are lying down. It does not completely protect your dog from a collision with a front seat.
Image source: pixabay.com
Car seat boxes attach to car seats and give your dog a padded seat with protection to their front and sides.
It is only suitable for smaller dogs, as larger dogs will not fit in the box seat. Your dog will need space to lay down in their box seat, so make sure that you get one that is big enough for them.
Even with your dog in their box seat, it's still worth restraining them further by attaching the handle of their leash to the spoke of a car’s headrest, that way they will still be safe even if they perch on the sides of the seat box or try to scramble out of it.
There are many options when it comes to keeping your dog safely restrained in your car. The best option for you depends on your dog’s size, temperament, and the type of car that you have.
All these options are far safer than keeping your dog unrestrained in your car. This should be avoided even during short journeys.
This article was written by Mike Skoropad, co-founder and CEO of tire retailer United Tires.