Dog car safety isn't something many pet owners practice. It's cute when our four-legged friends stick their head out the window or climb up in front to get a better view. But we would never allow our kids to roam the car freely while it's in motion, so why do we let our pets? It's not safe to let your dog travel in the car without securing them in a crate or with a travel harness, and learning about pet travel safety can make sure your pets remain as safe as possible.

The Safest Way for Dogs to Ride in the Car

Where Should Your Dog Sit in the Car?Allowing your dog to roam freely in the car can be dangerous. First off, they can cause distractions for the driver, which isn't safe for anyone. They could also be injured if you allow them to stick their head out of the window, or even jump out and take off. Worse, they can become a dangerous projectile in the event of an accident or sudden movement.

To practice dog car safety and prevent serious injuries to both pets and passengers, pets should be properly secured at all times when traveling in a vehicle. The safest way for a dog to ride in the car is secured in a crate or with a dog seat belt and harness combination. No matter the method you use, your dog shouldn't sit in the front seat under any circumstances – securing them in the cargo area or back seat behind a front seat is safer.

How to Secure a Dog Crate in the Car

Many experts agree that the crate is the safest place for your dog to sit in the car. Crates need to be anchored in the cargo area in the back of an SUV or station wagon. They should come with connections that you can secure in the cargo area anchors. However, if your pet and crate are small, they may be designed for use in the rear seat.

We would recommend that you research creates before buying. Find out if the manufacturer has put them through crash tests and if they're certified for pet travel safety. Most agree that the best materials are plastic or aluminum that's reinforced, as wire crates are prone to collapse on impact.

How to Secure a Dog in the Car with a Harness

I bet many of you are thinking that your car is too small or your dog is too big for a crate to work. In these cases, look to pet travel harnesses that utilize seat belts designed for dogs. These devices still stop them from roaming freely and are designed to keep them safe in the car.

Typically, these devices use a seat belt for dogs that anchors them in place and attaches to them using a harness. The experts agree that you should avoid using devices that attach to their collar for safety reasons. Again, these pet safety harnesses should be used in the back seat behind a front seat.

Other Dog Car Safety Pet Travel Tips

To make sure your road travels with your furry friend(s) go as smoothly as possible, these tips can help you take extra precaution:

  • Practice Being in the Car – Training your pet to get them used to car travel, especially from an early age, is a smart thing to do. You can help them get comfortable so they're able to stay calm. You can also get them familiarized with their travel crate or harness beforehand.
  • Identification and Medical Attention – A visit to the vet for a medical checkup before a lengthy road trip might be needed. You can make sure your pet is up to date with vaccinations and healthy enough to handle the journey. Additionally, you'll want to make sure they're wearing the proper identification – name tags with a phone number and address. There are also microchips you can use to make sure your four-legged friends can be found no matter what.
  • Pack Extra Supplies – You can never be too prepared when hitting the road with your pup. A pet travel kit should include their current medical records and certificate of rabies vaccination, first aid supplies, extra food and water with bowls for them, and backup leashes and collars. In the event of the unexpected, you'll be glad you came prepared.

Traveling Safely with Your Dog

If you want to travel with your pet in the vehicle, properly securing them in a crate or with a harness is the best way to do it. Dog car safety isn't always taken seriously enough, but a few measures can keep everybody safe and sound during your travels.

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