Traveling with your dog in the car can be a fun experience, but it's up to you to make sure that your pup is riding safely. Distracted Driving is the single largest safety issue people experience when they travel with their dogs. Your furry friends don't understand the concentration it takes to drive, so they're still trying to get in your lap, lay by your feet, or just generally get your attention. According to a study conducted by AAA and Kurgo, more than half of drivers who travel with a dog admitted to experiencing dog-related distractions.
To minimize these risks, you should keep your dog out of the way. You can do this by either containing your dog to a certain area or restraining them in a more fixed position. Both ways have their pros and cons, and you have to make the right decision for your dog.
Here are some pointers to help you figure it all out:
The bond between you and your dog is a special thing, but sometimes all that love can be a hazard on the road. If you want your pup to be out of the way and not causing you any distractions, but you still want them to be able to move freely, containing your dog is the way to go. Here are some ideas to help you do it safely and successfully:
Backseat Barrier: A barrier that stretches between the two front seats and creates a wall to keep your dog safely in the back. These barriers are quick to install and sturdy enough to contain even the biggest dogs.
Backseat Bridges: For dogs that need a little extra support and a barrier to the front seat, a backseat bridge will do the trick. It's an easy-to-install platform that creates a bridge between the backseat and the back of the front seat. It keeps your pup out of the front seat and protects them from falling into the footwell.
Dog Hammocks: If you want to drive safely with your dog and protect your car at the same time, a dog hammock is a great option. Hammocks stretch between the front and back seats of your car and create a cozy little nest for your dog to lie in. These actually work triple duty, keeping your dog out of the front seat, out of the foot well, and off of your upholstery.
Booster-Seat Boxes for Small Dogs: If your dog is smaller (usually under 30 pounds) you can get them a booster seat. Booster seats are generally small boxes that hang on the front or back of a car seat and provide a safe and secure area for your little pooch to sit. Inside quality boxes there will also be a short tether that you can attach to your dog's harness. This keeps them in the box even if they try to jump for freedom or your lap.
If you want give your dog additional safety while traveling in the car, restraint systems are the best solution. Some are very limiting, only allowing your dog to sit in one position. Others are less restrictive, allowing your pup to ride in several positions. There are a lot of options, and it's up to you to decide what your dog can tolerate and how much movement you want him to have:
Seat Belt Through Harness: This is the safest way to travel with your dog, even though it may not be the comfiest. There are multiple harnesses on the market that are reinforced and have spots for you to slip the seat belt through and then buckle it in. This means your dog is secured just like any other family member. It's worth noting that these harnesses often require the dog to remain in a seated position for the duration of the trip.
Direct to Seat Belt Tether: These tethers offer a good compromise to the seat belt through harness method. They are long enough to give the dog an opportunity to sit, stand, or lie down, but they still buckle right into your existing seat belt, allowing you to secure your dog safely. Attach the tether to a good harness to get the full benefit.
Zip Line Tether: This method is great for dogs that need a little more room to stretch and move. A zip line tether creates a line across the backseat or storage area of your car. They fit most cars and can safely hook to above-door handles, on-door handles, seat belts, etc. The dog is attached to the line with a short tether, allowing them to move back and forth, or stand and lay, with ease.
Crates and Carrier Keepers: If your dog loves his crate (and many do) why not bring that along for the ride. It gives the dog a secure and comfy little room right in your car. Of course, the crate itself can slide, so you need a product like the Carrier Keeper that allows you to secure your dog's crate using your existing seat belts, ensuring they'll stay safely in place.
Dogs can be dirty, and even the best trained dogs occasionally make a mess. Protect your seat with a cover that is waterproof and meant specifically for dogs. A seat cover that covers your entire seat (bottom and back) and is designed for dogs will do wonders for your car.