Keeping Your Dog Safe In The Car

April 25, 2016

Keeping your dog safe during travel is extremely important. Nadia Crighton takes a look at what devices are around, and the benefits of using them.

It is no surprise that most of us assume our beloved dogs will be safe travelling in the boot of the car, after all they are well behaved and sit still during travel so there is no need right? Sadly this is wrong, and for some the consequences of not restraining your pets can end in tragedy for not only the dog, but also their human travelling companions.

Like with anything in your car that is not restrained or contained, during a car accident these objects can become projectiles. Water bottles, sunglass-cases, old soda cans, even tissues boxes can cause damage and harm when flying through a car at over 100km per hour. The fact is; if you suddenly and abruptly stop at 100km per hour, the objects in your car will continue to travel at this speed until they come to rest through your windshield or in the back of your car seat. When you consider, the consequence of not having your pet contained is absolutely terrifying.

Dog Crates / Pet Carriers
You can purchase specially designed dog crates that can fit any dog and can fit into the boot of your car. These are wonderful and allow your dog to have his/her own space but to be contained in a comfortable manner. These dog crates can also be anchored to the boot to prevent movement. They are easily removed and many are collapsible. They are also great to have on hand when you go camping or to a friend’s house as your dog will have their own space and ‘bed’ area. Many dogs love their crates and will often curl up inside when they are left around. For smaller dogs the pet-carriers work perfectly. These can also be popped on the back-seat and the seat belt of the car threaded through to ensure the carrier is secured to the car seat. Remember to not travel with a pet carrier on the front seat as an expanding airbag can cause horrific injury. If you are having trouble with your dog liking the pet-carrier or dog crate, try and promote positive affiliations with the crate. Try feeding them their favourite treats and dinner inside the dog crate, and popping a well-loved toy or blanket inside. Do this before expecting them to travel inside the crate. This way they will associate ‘good’ things from being popped into their crate, and not scary negative emotions. More on crate training found here.

Boot Dog fences
These are specially designed dog fences or mesh guards that can be made to fit any car. These are wonderful for larger cars. It’s important that to remember that even if your dog doesn’t jump over the back seat, during a car accident there will be no barrier stopping your dog from coming over the back and causing injury. These devices also keep shopping stowed safely in the boot, and luggage. They are easily removed. Some need specialized installation.

Dog Harnesses
Dog harnesses are wonderful for big and small dogs and can be attached directly to the seat belt. They come in a range of sizes to fit all dogs and are easy to use and adjustable. For larger dogs, you can also purchase a hammock type device which attaches to the headrests to expand their sitting area on the backseat. Using this alongside a dog harness gives your larger dog much more sitting room. Wonderful idea for smaller cars when travelling with a larger dog who finds it difficult to curl up on the seat. It’s easy to train your dog to get used to using these devices it just takes a little time. Pop the dog harness on your dog before getting in the car and allow them to get used to the feeling of the harness. Remember lots of praise for calm behaviour. Go on lots of short trips before embarking on a long journey.

Don’t know what to bring when travelling with your pet? We provide a checklist!

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