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How To Keep Your Dog Safe On Car Journeys

It’s estimated that 84% of pet owners in the United States drive their pets unsecured in their vehicles.

Not only can an unsecured pet distract you while driving, but they are also in a very vulnerable position if you brake suddenly or if a collision occurs.

Below we will describe the options that you have when it comes to keeping your dog secure in your car, and explain what type of situation each type of restraint is most suitable for.

Seat Belt Harness

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A seat belt harness is the simplest way to make sure your dog is not in danger if you suddenly brake. Most seat belt harnesses typically hook to the same part on the harness as a leash would.

You can connect your dog onto any seatbelt by running the belt through the back loop of your dog’s harness (where you usually attach a leash) and fastening the seatbelt into its lock.

Since your dog will be tightly fastened to their seatbelt, this option is most suitable for older and more sedate dogs that will not mind being relatively still for the duration of your car journey.

There are many brands of seat belt harnesses, so get reading reviews, and find one that fits your dog best.

Zipline Seat Belt Harness

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Adding a zip line to the harness system allows your dog to move freely around the backseat or rear while still being connected to a cable and harness.

It's best suited for more active dogs that will need to move around the back seats while you are driving.

Just be sure to rig the zip line so that the dog won’t fall onto the floor when you hit the brakes. Smaller, lighter dogs, that are at risk of falling and getting stuck in the footwell of your car, might not be the best for zip line harnesses.

Plush Carry Box

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Use a carry box if you have a smaller, well-behaved dog that likes to accompany you in the passenger seat. The plush carry box is an open box that encloses the dog within the seated area while still allowing them to see what’s going on.

You might want to also harness your dog in when using a plush carry box. Another important note is that your dog should be able to lay down inside the box, so it might not be a good option for medium and larger-sized dogs, depending on the setup.


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Using a crate is a classic and useful solution for transporting pets because it saves space by confining the dog inside of a box.

Although using a crate may not be the most comfortable for your furry friend on longer journeys, it is still a good option for regular, short journeys (to the local park, for example) because it keeps your car from getting fur all over the interior.

It’s important to use the correct size of crate that corresponds with your pet’s size and weight. Your little buddy is not going to like you if they can’t stretch out in their transporting crate.

Rear Seat Hammock

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The rear seat hammock setup is the coolest and most comfortable option for your pet. I mean come on, who wouldn’t want to be in a hammock while rolling down the road?

The rear seat hammock connects to the front and rear headrests to give your pup a space to lay down in the backseat, and it’s a great option for old dogs because it prevents them from falling onto the floor.

You could also try pairing a rear seat hammock with the zip line harness setup for your dog’s ultimate comfort and safety.

More Tips For Driving Safely With Your Dog

  • Avoid contact with your pet while behind the wheel

Your dog shouldn’t be able to come in physical contact with you while driving. Keep your dog restrained because they can jump into your lap and cause an accident.

  • Don’t feed your dog while driving

You might want to throw your dog a bone while behind the wheel, but don’t get distracted. It’s best to feed your dog before the trip begins and take rests along the way for potty and snack breaks.

  • Check on your dog regularly

Try to keep your dog in sight at all times. Some dogs suffer from car sickness and will sometimes throw up the first few times, so be aware of that when driving with new dogs. up, so be aware of that when traveling with new dogs.

Which Method Should You Use To Secure Your Dog?

Now you know some great methods for securing your dog or another pet inside the car.

Which one is the best? Do research specific to your dog’s breed and size.

We recommend the zip line anchor for more athletic and younger dogs, the hammock for bigger and older dogs, and the plush box for small dogs. And, of course, you can always connect your dog to a seatbelt by using your harness and leash.

Don’t forget to throw down a blanket or dog bed if you aren’t already protecting your interior— you’ll save a lot of time cleaning if you do.

About the author:

Mike Skoropad is the owner and CEO of tire retailer United Tires


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