Did you ever think about how to keep your dog safe in the car when you’re on the road? Sure. You’ve heard about the tragedy of hot car deaths and babies. And you know not to leave your dog in the car while you run errands. But how many of us think about the fact that our dogs are loose and unrestrained as they come along for the ride?
We like the idea of our dog seeing interesting things as they look out the car window. And it amuses us to think of our family dog giving joy to passengers and other drivers as we ride by. But just as you wouldn’t dream of taking baby out for a ride without his or her car seat, you shouldn’t leave your dog free to roam. It’s dangerous for your dog AND for you.
What You Need to Know to Keep Your Dog Safe
Here’s what you need to know to keep your dog safe in the car:
Dogs Should Ride in the Backseat
Accidents and Injury—Dogs love to ride shotgun alongside you, but the front passenger seat is a danger spot for your loyal friend. Most dogs riding in the front seat are not harnessed. Should an accident occur, there is a high risk that the dog could be hurled through the front windshield or tossed around the vehicle. The dog could get hurt and so could other passengers. Not to mention, airbags pose a serious risk to your pet and may injure or even kill a dog riding in the front passenger seat. Keep your dog safe in the car by keeping him in the backseat.
Distracted Driving Risk—We love our dogs and cannot resist petting and interacting with them. As such, having your dog in the front seat puts you, your dog, your passengers, and others on the road at risk for serious injury. In the time it takes for you to look over and pet Fido on the head, a catastrophic collision can occur. And yet, 3 in every 10 drivers confess they’ve been distracted by their dogs, while driving.
Legal Issue—It is actually illegal in some states to have your dog in the front passenger seat of your car while you drive. You may just get a ticket, if you do so in Maine, Massachusetts, or Connecticut, for instance. The reason is that having your dog in the front seat of your car may distract you as you drive. Note that for teens in particular, distracted driving comes in third as a major cause of car accidents, just below speeding and drunk driving. The laws are there to keep you safe, and to keep your dog safe, too.
Dogs are Safest in a Harness or Crate
Dog Car Harnesses—There are no car seats or seatbelts for dogs. But there are many dog car harnesses on the market that are designed to keep your dog safe in the car. Forbes has a list of the best dog car harnesses for 2021, all of them available online. A good dog car harness can help keep your dog safe in the car.
Dog Crates—Crates add an extra measure of safety for your dog while traveling. A dog crate is especially handy for long rides. The enclosed space are comfortable and help your dog to relax and nap with no risk of distraction to the driver. Dog travel crates come according to the size of your dog. Find dog car crates online or at better pet shops.
Dogs are Safer Riding with Closed Windows
Dogs and Car Windows—Dogs love to look out the window of a moving car, but this fun activity comes with some risks. For one thing, a dog may stick his head too far out the window, posing a fright and a distraction to the driver. Then there’s that tendency to chase things, for instance squirrels. So close the window and turn on the AC to keep your dog safe in the car.
Dogs get excited when we’re about to take off in our cars. They just love to go for a ride. We, as their owners, often cannot resist taking them along. The main thing is to keep them, and us, safe. It’s all a part of the responsibility of owning—and loving—our furry friends.