As dog lovers, when we travel short distances, we like to bring our furry friends along for the ride. Our dog gets to get out of the house and smell the exciting scents of the road, and we get a little company along the way. When your dog rides in your car though, it’s important to take safety precautions to prevent injury and accidents.
Use a Seatbelt or Crate
While many people let their dog roam the cabin of the car freely, this is not recommended. It’s best to secure them in a safe position with the aid of a seatbelt or put them in a properly sized crate. This will keep the dog from climbing into your lap or interfering with your driving in some other way. It also keeps them safer in the event of a crash. You can buy dog seatbelts and harnesses that attach to your car’s seatbelts or cargo tie downs. Crates should similarly be secured to your vehicle with tie downs.
Just like a small child, you need to consider where the airbags are in your car. It’s usually not a good idea to let your dog ride up front, as the front passenger side airbag could injure them upon deployment. Older cars tend not to have airbags here, but newer cars do. Although there are sometimes on and off switches, it’s best to make them ride in the back center seat where there’s less risk of airbag injury.
Keep the Windows Closed
One of the more common injuries to dogs while riding in cars is an eye injury. As much as they enjoy riding with their head hanging out the window, wind blowing in their faces, safety should be your first consideration. Keep the windows closed or only open a crack to protect their eyes from injury.
Secure Loose Items
It’s important to secure any loose items in the car, especially sharp and heavy objects that could really cause harm upon impact. Even just having to hit the brakes hard can send things flying and potentially injure your dog (and you!)
These safety precautions are recommended for keeping your dog safe on short trips here and there, but if you’ll be traveling far, it might be a better idea to board your dog. If you choose this option, make sure you find a safe boarding facility that keeps the dog active and secure while you’re away.