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Car Safety for Dogs

Updated on July 18, 2011

"Want to go for a ride?" This simple question can put joy into many a dog's heart. Lots of dogs love to go for car rides! It's important to keep them safe just like you would keep any member of your family safe, whether you're just out for a quick & fun car ride, going to visit friends or family, or vacationing with your pet. Here are a few tips to help keep your furry friend safe on the road.

Keep Your Pet Properly Restrained

Even though we buckle up our human family members, pets are often overlooked when it comes to this safety measure. Pets can be thrown when your car stops suddenly or if you have an accident, resulting in more serious injury or even death.

Use a specially-made pet seat belt or a secured travel crate to contain your pet while in the car. Pet seat belts are harnesses that can clip right into the seat belts in your car. Travel crates can be secured to tie-downs in your car to help prevent them from sliding around if you have to come to a sudden stop. Put a couple of soft, comfy blankets in the crate for your dog and slowly introduce him to the crate if he isn't used to it already.

Dogs should never be allowed to ride in the open bed of a pick-up truck. In fact, this is illegal in some cities! It's extremely dangerous as dogs can be thrown from the truck and into traffic when the vehicle stops, makes a turn, or if the dog loses its balance. Plus the dog is subjected to high winds, flying road debris, the very hot or very cold floor of the pick-up truck bed, and other hazards.

Finally, pets shouldn't be allowed to distract the driver in any way, including sitting in their laps! How many times have you seen a little dog sitting in a driver's lap, looking out the window or "helping" to drive? Cute as it may look, it's dangerous. It takes the driver's attention from the road and prevents him from being able to maneuver freely if an emergency situation arises.

More Car Safety Tips for Pets

  • Don't let your dog hang his head out the window. Yes, it's a cute image to see a dog with his tongue lolling out, enjoying the wind! Unfortunately flying road debris can injure your dog.
  • Bring water to keep your pet hydrated.
  • Don't leave pets unattended in a parked car on warm days. Temperatures rise rapidly in the car even if the windows are cracked open and the car is parked in the shade. Heat stroke can be fatal!


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    • Jungle Talk profile image

      Jungle Talk 9 years ago

      A great hub, good info and timely with the vacation season upon us!

    • grousepup profile image

      grousepup 9 years ago from South Salem

      Very practical information, indeed. Too many owners either are ignorant of, or simply don't give any thought to keeping their dogs and themselves safe during those looked forward to car rides. Your hub is similar to an article I recently published on my own website to better educate owners on the topic.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 9 years ago from Georgia

      In many states it's actually illegal to leave pets in the car for any amount of time. I find that a great law, personally.

      These are good tips to go by. I like using dog seat belts for my pups.

      Although I'm not 100%, I think that letting the dog hang his head out the window can also cause ear problems.