Dog Car Safety and Seat Belt Tips

Updated: 12/21/20232-4 minutes
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It doesn’t matter if it’s a long road trip or a short drive to the dog park; it’s important to properly secure your dog in the car.

Securing your dog not only keeps him safe, but also keeps him from distracting you. This keeps you safe, too. There are countless dog car safety products on the market, though, so finding the right one can be overwhelming. Our experts offer their advice to help keep you and your trusty copilot safe, no matter how long or short the drive.

3 Dog Car Safety Tips

1. Training

You may have expected this list to start with a product like a dog seat belt, but extensive training is crucial. A well-trained dog will cause fewer distractions in the car, which significantly reduces the risk of an accident.

Whether your dog is scared of car rides or gets overly excited about getting in a vehicle, start with slow, gradual training. Get him used to getting in and out of the car, the sounds of the doors, the engine and the horn.

Once he’s got that down, go for a ride around the block. Slowly increase your distance as he learns to hop right in and sit in his seat. By taking things slow, your dog will learn how to behave in the car, which helps keep you both safe.

2. Buckle Up

There are a lot of products on the market for dog car safety, but not all products are created equal. Do your research to ensure the product you choose fits your dog properly for his size.

Dog seat belts and car harnesses are two of the more popular options. They click right into the existing seat belt buckles in your car. These products can allow your dog some freedom to move around, but keep him secure in his seat.

Although plenty of other options are available, like harnessed dog boosters, mesh car barriers and dog hammocks, these don’t offer the security of a dog car safety harness or belt if you make a sudden stop or are in a collision. In fact, if some of these items aren’t properly secured, they could injure both you and your dog.

3. Be Prepared

Whether it’s a short ride or a long trip, make sure you’re prepared. Bring along your dog’s usual collar or harness, plus his leash.

Make sure you have plenty of food and fresh water, along with a food bowl and spill-proof water bowl. You’ll want to time his feedings so he’s not traveling on a full stomach, which can cause motion sickness.

Other items to consider based on trip length include:

  • Medications your dog may need
  • A blanket or his dog bed
  • Brush and other grooming items
  • Toys and treats
  • Your dog’s crate or kennel

Taking a road trip with your dog can be a fun experience. Remember to never leave him in your vehicle, as the interior temperatures can reach life-threatening levels quickly. Learn other ways to keep your pooch cool this summer so you can spend more time outside together.

Get more pet safety tips and other advice on our Pet Expertise page.

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