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In this post, we will learn how to secure a dog in the car. We’ll go over everything you need to know to make the trip safe for your furry friend.
As a dog owner, you know how fun it can be to tag along with the dog on a trip. It’s always important to try and make the journey safe and comfortable for the furry passenger in all aspects.
Whether you are making a visit to the vet, going to a park outing, or just taking a round trip in your neighborhood, you need to always keep your dog safe in the car.
A secured dog in the car will guarantee you a smooth driving experience, it’s comfortable for them, and also reduces the risk of serious injuries in case of a crash.
Come along with us in this post as we delve into the subject of securing your dog while on the move.
Why You Need to Have Your Dog Secured
Securing your dog in the car is more than restraining them from moving around freely. It provides a good space for a smooth travel experience and safe driving.
The following are 3 of the main reasons why you need to secure your pooch before hitting the road:
1. Cutting down distraction
Loose dogs inside cars can be a source of considerable disruptions during driving.
An unrestrained furry passenger will have the free room to roam around your car, jump over your lap, and stick their heads outside the window.
All these commotions can significantly shift your attention away from the road ahead and might cause the undesirable to happen.
2. Avoiding injuries
An unrestrained dog is more likely to suffer serious injuries during a car crash than the secured one.
Look at it from the perspective of how seat belts could save one’s life during a collision; securing your pup could save them too!
A loose dog is at risk of being tossed back and forth in the car during an accident and will possibly get expelled through the window, making them suffer more injuries.
3. Comfortable rides
Car seats were made to accommodate human passengers securely and comfortably during a journey.
The same seats can get uncomfortable for dogs (especially during long rides) and therefore you should look for a way of making them enjoy their ride.
You can do this by getting a dog car seat which not only secures your pooch but it also keeps them comfortable and smooth on bumpy roads.
5 Ways on How to Secure a Dog in The Car
There are several options you can go for when you want to keep your dog safe in the car. Not all options are made equal and so make sure to choose the one that will serve you and Fido right.
1. Harness and leash
Ideal for: medium and large dogs
The basic way to secure your dog in a car is to use a harness and leash. This will protect them from roaming around the car or causing an unnecessary commotion.
You can use this option by attaching your harnessed dog to the headrest, buckle, or D-ring using a leash.
Make sure to adjust the leash length properly to give your dog enough room to get comfortable inside the car.
A simple containment option is better than having your dog on the loose. Harnesses and leashes are good for keeping your dog in one place but they don’t offer much protection in the event of an accident.
2. Dog car barriers
Ideal for: Large and giant breed dogs
You can install a barrier or guard to separate your dog from the front panel of the car. These barriers are good when you have other human passengers on board.
You can install the guards at the rear seats or in the trunk area of your car depending on how your dog is traveling with you.
The barrier will prevent your furry companion from being tossed forward during sudden braking or in the event of an accident.
They also prevent your dog from walking into the front seats when driving.
3. Dog crate for car
Ideal for: small and medium-sized dogs
Dog crates for cars are ideally made with sturdy materials and with plenty of ventilation meshes to give your furry friend a comfortable place to travel in.
When you opt to use a crate for your dog, make sure to find one that has buckles to attach to the seat belt.
This will anchor your dog, preventing them from moving back and forth when cruising on rough terrain, and keeping them intact in case of immediate stops.
Be careful to choose the one that offers your dog enough room inside to get comfortable without feeling jammed up.
Most ideal dog crates are airline-approved. This makes it easy when you are planning for an air journey with your dog.
You just get out of the car and dash to the plane without crating your dog again.
4. Dog car seats
Ideal for: Small and medium-sized dogs
Dog car seats provide a comfy compartment that holds your furry passenger during the journey.
The kind of comfort offered by dog car seats is ideal for anxious dogs who are disposed to motion sickness.
These seats come in different shapes, sizes, and forms. You can choose the elevated ones to help raise your pup to give them a clear view during the trip.
They also include safety features such as seat belt buckles and connection straps to hold your dog in place during the journey.
If you are looking for a good place to start, check our top picks for the best dog car seats that you can find today.
5. Dog car seat cover
Ideal for: large dogs
You can use a dog seat cover to give your dog a comfortable and non-slip surface to stay on during your journey with them.
They come in different styles and forms including benches, hammocks, liners, and bucket seat covers.
When installing these seat covers in your car, don’t forget to firmly fasten them to the headrests to give your dog a secure platform.
Pro tip: Always follow the manufacturers’ guidelines on how to install the products in your car. Information such as dog size recommendations and weight limits (where applicable) should never be overlooked.
Caution: Don’t forget to monitor your dog as you travel. They could get bored and start chewing on their restraints/seats. We recommend choosing products that are hard to chew even for the heavy chewers.
5 Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Option
The following are some of the things you need to put before the table when looking for what will secure your dog in the car:
1. Dog size
How big or small your dog is should play a role in determining what option you should go for. For example, small dogs can be well secured in a crate while the large ones might need a seat cover plus a leash to hold them right.
2. Your destination
Where are you heading to with your dog and for how long? If it’s a quick rush to the grocery store, then a leash or harness will get the job done.
Otherwise, for longer travels, you need to consider an option that combines safety and comfort like the lush dog car seats.
3. Your dog’s personality
You should choose an option that blends well and complements your dog’s personality.
If you have a small hyperactive dog who would love seeing around as you travel, then you can get them an elevated dog car seat to attend to their needs.
For an anxious furry traveler, you can opt for the plush crates that will confine them to a smaller space to keep them safe and free from the busy world.
4. The type of car
The brand and model of your car should play a role in determining what method to use. If you have an SUV, going for a barrier might be ideal for keeping your dog safe during a trip.
This will also give them a huge area to get comfy and busy without distracting you at the driver’s cockpit.
Dog car seats & crates can be ideal for sedans and wagons.
5. Your local laws and regulations
Different states and provinces have enacted various laws that govern how pets should be handled in vehicles.
Some states have prohibited driving with unrestrained dogs in your car while others will give you exceptions.
You should always read widely to know what is expected of you while on the road to be on the safe side.
Try different methods
What will work for one dog will not necessarily work for the other. All dogs are different and so are cars.
Scout around and try different methods as you find the best one for keeping your dog safe in the car.
Remember that your canine friend should come first on matters concerning their safety.
Have them prioritized before narrowing down your specifications to what you may prefer like the interior styling of your car.
Familiarize Your Dog with The Safety Features
You should take time and train your dog to get familiar with being around the safety method you have decided to use.
This might take some time and your dog might be reluctant to accept the new norm in your car. This is especially glaring if your dog was used to being on your lap as you travel.
Start by installing the products in your vehicle at home, opening the doors, and letting your dog in.
Leave them inside the car to interact with the items at their own pace. Let them sniff, inspect and play around them.
If your dog starts to get comfortable around the new products, you can leash them and make a short round trip around your neighborhood for a start.
Do this as you observe their reaction and temperament.
If everything seems nice, you can increase the length of the trip in subsequent sessions and make your dog enjoy the journey at every turn.
On the question of ‘how to secure a dog in the car’ it all boils down to giving them a contained and comfortable space during the journey.
There are many options you can use to keep your dog secure as you drive. Be bold in trying a few different methods before settling on the most suitable one for your pooch.
Remember it only takes a fraction of a second for a road accident to occur. Don’t ignore that short trip by driving with your dog on your lap or in the passenger seat
Be careful to always secure them before hitting the road, whether for a quick dash or a long journey.
Laura is the founder of Furs'n'Paws. She is a also a pet writer and expert with more than 20 years of experience of working with dogs and cats. She developed a very strong love for animals at a young age. Her passion led her to establish a thriving pet sitting and dog walking business in Dubai. As an expert in pet training, behavior, and nutrition, Laura is committed to helping pet owners and pet lovers by offering high-quality information on a wide range of topics.