Keeping your dogs safe and in place is vital to ensuring the safety of you, your passengers and your dog in the car and on the road. Your children will be safe, your passengers won’t be distracted, and you can ensure all of your focus will be on the road ahead of you. Dogs are extremely strong and can easily snap leashes and seatbelts. Even if your dog does not tend to pull on the lead, the weight of a dog and the movement of the car is enough to snap a seatbelt. They can also cause a commotion in the vehicle that will distract the driver and may cause an accident. If big dogs are not appropriately tethered, they can create serious damage to a car’s interior.
There are also many other factors you should take into consideration to achieve the best dog car safety before embarking on a long journey with your dog.
Dog Car Safety Features
There are several safety features that you can use in your car to ensure you are travelling safely with passengers and pets. You will know which of the following methods will best suit your dog’s needs and personality.
Dog Harnesses and Seat belts
Designed to transport your pets safely, a dog harness or seat belt will keep your dog safe and in place even in an accident. You’ll no longer need to worry about driving for long distances; when used correctly, the dog harness is the safest way for you and your dog to travel.
The harness is used for medium-sized to big dogs and works just as well as a seat; keeping them comfortable and safe while commuting. The dog seat belt is used for attaching a harness to the car’s seat belt, adding an extra layer of protection when transporting smaller dogs. Fixing your dog with a special harness will keep everyone safe.
As opposed to using the dog harnesses, some dogs may prefer the implementation of a guard instead. The sturdy partition allows the dog to roam freely in the boot and interact with passengers without compromising the safety of everyone in the car. You can choose from either temporary or more permanent types of barriers.
However, it is important to remember that although a barrier allows for significant movement and freedom, it does little to protect your dog from impact to the side or rear windows.
Transport carriers are great for smaller dogs who are trained and happy to sit in a cage for periods of time. Ensure that your dog is accustomed to and familiar with the crate. The crate should be large enough for your dog to move around in, sit up and stretch comfortably. Nevertheless, it must not be so large that the dog would be thrown around in the event of an accident.
You will also need to purchase an anti-slip surface to ensure the crate stays in place when the car is accelerating, cornering and braking.
In the summer months, the temperature inside of a car can reach lethal levels for a dog. Never leave a dog in a car on a warm car, even with the window open your dog could suffer from the effects of heatstroke which can be fatal.
It is also a good idea to install sun shades on the windows when it is hot to prevent the sun from blinding your dog and being unable to avoid it.
It is vital to ensure your dog is not seated in front of an airbag. Airbags have enough force to impose immense impact and injure children and small pets severely. Some cars have the ability to turn airbags on and off.
Make sure to stop every few hours when travelling to allow your dog to have a stretch and to go to the toilet. We advise to stop and take a walk every three hours if possible.
Keep a lookout for any signs of distress when travelling as many dogs do suffer from motion and travel sickness. Preventing this will keep your dog content and your car clean. However, covering the seats and bring towels and cleaning equipment is a good idea anyway. Often lining the car floor with newspaper will help keep your dog happy; the smell of newspaper, for some dogs, has a calming effect on them.
Keep your dog well hydrated with collapsible bowls and water bottles to make sure they don’t get dehydrated. Pack a sufficient amount of water suitable for the length of your journey. However, some vets do suggest limiting a dog’s water intake just before the journey to avoid them suffering from travel sickness.
Although allowing your dog enough fresh air and ventilation is essential, enabling your dog to have their heads out the window can be very dangerous. Passing other vehicles or roadside furniture can strike your dogs head and leave serious injuries. Your pet may also try and get out of an open window or fall accidentally fall out. Airborne debris such as grass seed can cause eye infections or other injuries.
To protect the safety of you and your passengers, it is vital to ensure your dog is transported in the safest way. There are numerous methods of transporting your dog safely; dog harnesses, seat belts, guards and transport carriers. You will know which method will suit your dog’s personality best and is suitable for your vehicle. We recommend getting your car serviced every year to ensure maximum safety for you, your passengers and your dog, for example there are many garages offering servicing in Milton Keynes.
In addition to this, it is also imperative you recognise that in order to transport your dog safely, you must also consider a number of other safety hazards, not just the securing and tethering of your pet. Ensure you are stopping every few hours so that your pet can have a leg stretch and go to the toilet. Check the temperature of your car and never leave your dog inside alone if the weather outside is vaguely sunny. Make sure to either turn your car’s airbags off or ensure your dog is seated nowhere near where an airbag could go off. Keep your dog hydrated, remembering to pack plenty of water; enough for the length of your journey and ensure there is enough ventilation throughout the car.