View Full Version : Car Safety

17th October 2006, 01:29 AM
I seem to have made a huge mistake and I need advice on how to fix it.

When I first got Kosmo I let him sit on my lap in the car. Stupid, I know, but it has been this way since we've had him. He's grown accustomed to it. I've been planning to change him over to something more secure for a while now, but I seem to have hit a brick wall for the moment.

I bought a car about 2 weeks ago. It's fun for me!, but Kosmo has to stay on his own in the car. I made a contraption for him so that he would be more secure when I drive alone. I first buckled the seat in, then put a blanket in the back seat, put his puppia harness on, and took his leash and twisted it and tied it around the seatbelt in such a way that there's no way he's going to get out of it. The leash is also short so if something happened, he wouldn't go flying. I also gave him a new toy so that he would lay down and not be trying to hop all over.

The first time I drove with him alone was on Saturday. Except for his crying, he did fine on the way to class. On the way back.. well. . . I am driving.. I smelled something funny.. and then looked in the rear view to see him eating his vomit. :yuk: I immediately pulled over to the side of the road and cleaned it up as best as I could. Thank God for leather seats.

Tonight I took him out for the second time, and same thing, he puked all over. So, my question is, how do I fix it? Is he forever going to be carsick in a car? A very wonderful person is sending me a carseat.. (:thmbsup: THX) but I am worried even secured into the carseat unless I am physically holding him, he will puke. Do you guys think it would make a difference if I bought a crate for the car? And then how do I buckle the crate into the backseat so it's secure? A seatbelt harness is out of the question as that's what I made Kosmo's harness into and obviously that doesn't seem to work.

I think it's important to note that dog safety in cars is EXTREMELY important. If Kos was sitting on my lap and something bad happened, I most likely would be without him. I can't even think about that.

How do you all secure your dogs when you drive? And do any of you have dogs who are prone to car sickness? How do you fix it?

17th October 2006, 01:39 AM
I use a harness and a doggy seat belt extension that clips into the normal seatbelt clip. I also use a hammock type thing that means there is no gap for the dog to fall down, even though they can not fall as they are clipped in they do have a bit of slack on the extension belt so they can move around to reposition themselves, one of my boys is very nervous about being in the car and this makes him a little calmer.

Does your baby have a bit of loose and room to move around slighty so he can shift his balance and get comfy ?

Not sure if you already do ?? but could you try him in the passenger seat in the front to get him used to it then move into the back eventually ?

Good luck

17th October 2006, 01:47 AM

I didn't leave much slack at all for him because I was scared if I got rear ended he would have flown up and hit the passenger seat. (I am a HUGE worry wart.. it sux..) Also in the front I am also scared that if the airbag went off then it would hurt him really bad. I might check into things and see if my car has an option to turn off the passenger airbag. I know some of them do now adays.

Do yours not get car sick even when roaming around in the hammock?

Thanks for the reply.. this topic doesn't seem to be brought up much and I am COMPLETELY lost on it.

17th October 2006, 01:52 AM
There is a carrier that I use:

click here to see carrier (http://www.petsmart.com/global/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=84552444178 0727&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302035812&ASSORTMENT%3C%3East_id=2534374302023689&bmUID=1161046214711&itemNo=12&Nao=12&Ntt=carrier&In=All&previousText=carrier&N=2)

It is both a carrier and a carseat (attaches to the seat via a seatbelt loop). They have different sizes. The small I have been borrowing from my sister and it works so well I am going to get a larger one for Lucky since it is getting a little small.

It is also a good carrier because it has wheels (like a suitcase would) and saves your back.

Good Luck

Cathy Moon
17th October 2006, 01:58 AM
I use the small softsided zipper crates from PetSmart. I figured out a way to put the seatbelt, fully extended, around it to hold it in place in the back seat. They have cozy crate pads inside, and the pups are comfortable.

17th October 2006, 02:02 AM
Very valid point about the air bag, my car does not have one in the passenger side so I did not think of it.
With the slack I only leave enough for him to go from a sit to a lie down or maybe turn around if he wants to, it is something I worry about also as it could potentially cause a sling shot effect if rear ended but I figure its a risk I will take for his everyday comfort, but again a very valid point.

No they don't get sick with the hammock, its as if the reassurance of not having the big hole to fall down (even though they can't fall) makes them less nervous and so they don't get sick ?

Your boy could be getting a different sensation in his tummy from sitting on the seat oppose to your lap and it could be a mix of genuine car sickness mixed with a bit of nerves/anxiety ?

Best wishes

17th October 2006, 02:26 AM
i use a harness for the car, or his travel crate in the back seat. he doesn't seem to mind either. he used to try to bite the harness and when he was smaller he worked his way out of it and then ended up in my lap! my airbag will turn off if i have him in the front so i'm not worried about that, but it depends on where i'm going and how long i'll be in the car. sadly, if my boyfriend is driving, i will hold him in my lap in the front seat. i know i shouldn't do that. :( i'll have to get used to putting him in the back. i hope that helps a little and good luck!

Cathy T
17th October 2006, 02:38 AM
Both of mine sit in the backseat and have seatbelts that attach to their harnesses. We've never had a problem with carsick but I've heard about using ginger. Don't know the specifics though.

17th October 2006, 01:28 PM
My two travel in the "boot" of my car with the dog guard so they can't get forward and its well padded with cushions and duvets in case I ever got bumped. In Joel's car they both have harnesses on the back seat. Even Oakley fits in his harness at 9 weeks ( he does weigh 5 pounds - little fattie) :lol:

17th October 2006, 01:55 PM
For a dog to be safe, you need to either use a specially designed dog seatbelt or other restraint designed for this purpose as some have noted above, or crate him and run the seatbelt through the top of the crate so it is secure. In an impact, loose dogs, even in a padded area in the back, could be propelled forward at up to 100mph if you are going say 50mph. Even if the dog travels *six inches* its neck could break and its skull be crushed!! So please -- secure your cavaliers with a correct restraining harness or in a crate. I used to think crates were safer; I have since read that a seatbelt on a seat with NO AIRBAGS may be the safest but on the other hand many rescue services would not save a dog in a harness but they will take one out in a crate.

An airbag will decapitate or crush a small dog immediately so a dog CANNOT be on a seat that has airbags.

A dog loose or on a lap is extremely dangerous to the occupants of the car, not just the dog. If you are hit by a dog flung through the car at even 20mph -- which would happen if you were creeping along at 10-20mph -- you could be killed on impact if it hit your head.

The Whole Dog Journal just had an article on safe travel in cars. :thmbsup:

In an emergency when I've forgotten a proper belt I have run a seatbelt thru a Puppia but the design of a Puppia could throttle a dog in an impact. I've also used a lead attached to a harness then tied to the headrest or seatblet (clipped in) at a short enough length not to allow the dog to be flung forward but neither of these are very safe methods. Sometimes when I am moving a number of dogs though it is the best I can do at the time.

I always carry a medium crate in the trunk/boot as well.

17th October 2006, 02:15 PM
PS I would never disconnect a passenger side airbag to accommodate a dog. A dog is perfectly happy on a back seat whereas your human passenger some day could die for lack of an airbag.

Most dogs that get carsick do so because they are looking out windows, moving about, and the motion makes them ill. Crating a dog is far more comfortable for many dogs because of this and if they are anxious throw a sheet over the crate. That is how I transport nervous rescues. It's also how I start to teach a dog to travel in a car -- because the crate tends to make them feel safer. If you ignore whining it eventually stops. If you respond to it it teaches the dog that whining is a rewarding activity and gets attention. :)

17th October 2006, 02:19 PM

This is the Car Seat Harness that I bought for Dudley, here is a few shots it shows you where the seatbelt goes through to hold them in.


Just like a childs carseat you would pull the seatbelt together and push it through the top of the harness. Where it says Vest Harness.

From the front it looks similar to a Puppia harness, except it is much sturdier.

Sara: You can purchase them at Global Pets

As for Darby he is in his crate and the seatbelt goes through the handle of the crate.

17th October 2006, 03:07 PM
Hi this is my first post !
I enjoy this site a great deal and helps me with all my needs a first time Cav owner.

My little doggie Marlon always used to jump accross and sit on my lap when I drove.

I tried him in the boot, but he just cried all the time, and I didn't feel comfortable not being able to see him.

Then I brought a RAC approved dog seatbelt and after a few days he was fine (as long as I stroke him under the chin every few minutes :badgrin: !)

Patience is the key - and safety first !

Good luck.

17th October 2006, 03:17 PM
I must admitt, on the (now rare) occasions I look after Toby i make sure he sits on the floor in the passenger seat footwell. I really must invest in a doggy seat thingy 'just in case'. With the doggy belts/harnesses would the dogs not be strangled in an accident??

17th October 2006, 03:18 PM
Thank you for all of your replies guys. I am working on something, really. Maybe I will buy a crate for now..

Now Karlin, where on earth can I get my hands on that article?! lol I want to read it. It doesn't seem like this subject is brought up too often on this board.

Linda, Dudley is such a CUTIE@! :) I love him with his big orange. ;) I am worried evne a car harness will make him sick at this point as he was up and down and all around.. blah.


There are cars out now adays that have an automatic passenger sensor instilled in them. I was just driving a Pontiac Persuit which had a light. When there was a passenger in the car the light on the right lit up, but when there wasn't one, the light on the left lit up.. or was it the other way around? I don't know but it had a passenger sensor in it anyways. There are also cars that you can take your key and turn it one way to turn it off, and then one way to turn it on. We use to have one like that. Those are easy ways for the airbag on the passenger seat to turn off and on. I am assuming they do that for people who carry stuff other than passengers in their front seats. I would never leave it off if there were a passenger in the front seat, of course. I am merely just pointing out that some cars have easy ways to turn the airbag on and off now.

Lani, that's such a cool design. There are so many different things you can do with that car seat!!

17th October 2006, 04:20 PM
I just bought a new car this spring. The front seat passenger airbag will not be on unless there is 35+ pounds in the seat. I travel with our smallest crate right next to me. It keeps them calmer. I bought the dog harness made for in a car. The only thing that worries me is that after an accident-- the dog would be terrified ( could be hurt-- the possiblity that the dog would want to protect its owner, the smell of blood ???)and I don't know if rescue workers would deal with a frantic dog that "might" bite them. This is a good topic of discussion-- most of us have to travel with our pets at some time.

17th October 2006, 05:00 PM

This is the carseat we use. The seatbelt straps through through the back (where you see the slit on the side)and it came with a connector that is roughly 3 inches long and goes around the seatbelt. This then connects really well to his Puppia. The whole thing is padded and Duncan just lays or sits in it. I always put it in the middle of th backseat because I worry about the side airbags in the back of my car also.

I think it helps is tummy because it is raised and he doesn't feel every bump in the road.

17th October 2006, 05:08 PM
Duncan's ma -

That's a really nice seat. I might think about something like that. Can you put the two of them in there or is just big enough for 1? Is there an option to have an oversized one?

I need to find something either like a crate or something high in the air I think because I think Kosmo was really nervous not sitting on my lap and he didn't want to sit still. He was probably a combination of nerves and car sickness and it was just too much for him.


The only thing that worries me is that after an accident-- the dog would be terrified ( could be hurt-- the possiblity that the dog would want to protect its owner, the smell of blood ???)and I don't know if rescue workers would deal with a frantic dog that "might" bite them.

I never thought of that. I would want whoever comes to rescue my dog not to have any doubts about the situation in the least.. That would be a really unfortunate situation. If something like that happened, and the dog bit, would the dog be considered dangerous and have to be muzzled in public places? I know there are laws like that around. . . It's very interesting to think about.

17th October 2006, 10:57 PM
Can you put the two of them in there or is just big enough for 1? Is there an option to have an oversized one?

I only have room for one for now...haven't figured out what to do about Arthur yet.

17th October 2006, 10:58 PM
I think Roxanne sells double carseats on her website.

Here is the link if you are interested.


18th October 2006, 01:08 AM
I do remember reading an article back in the day about the safety of car harnesses for dogs. I read that most of the ones out there would not hold up to an accident at 50mph, something about the plastc buckles breaking I think. There was only one that the article found (which I can't remember) that would hold up to an accident going 50mph. This particular harness looked a nightmare to put on the dog however - very complicated.

That said, we use a regular car harness for Misha and buckle in a Sherpa bag with Merlin in it. Both are excellent travelers.

18th October 2006, 01:13 AM
Just a question -

If you have a dog travelling in a crate and lets say you get rear ended.. the dog will sling shot to the front of the crate.. That could really hurt your dog, couldnt it?

I am just trying to find out what is the safest mode of travel.

18th October 2006, 01:40 AM
I cannot really comment on the physics of the dogs if they are in the crate during an accident, except that I think a soft sided crate and one where you could also attach them in some way would probably be better (so they don't "slingshot" toward the front). The car seat I use (also a wheeled carrier) allows me to do this.

I would say though to please be sure you are never driving alone with the dog unsecured. I know for everyone on the board that it probably goes without saying but it really really is dangerous. A couple of years ago, my half-sister lost a very good friend because her friend was killed in in a car accident while driving with her dog loose in the front seat. She hit a bus. The newspapers speculated that the dog distracted her in some way and contributed to the accident. Obviously that is the extreme case, but it can happen and it is a horrible tragedy when it does. I'm really glad that you started this thread and are calling all of our attention to this issue. :flwr:

18th October 2006, 02:22 AM
I use a soft sided crate-- that will probably dissapate some of the energy of the crash. If your dog isn't restrained in some way they could plow through the windshield or bounce around like a pin ball. It is a very disturbing scenario to say the least.

18th October 2006, 02:46 AM
I have an acura SUV and I purchased two varikennels that I seat belted through the handle side by side on my rear seat. these fit perfectly on the back seat. They love these car crates and they jump into them when they know they are going out. I also put a fleece crate pad each crate. I figured this out when they both jumped in my face while I was driving on a very winding road. I immediately went to petplus and started measuring crates. I like the backseat because the airconditioning vents for the rear seats blowon theri crates, and they are never too hot in the car.


Coco's mom
18th October 2006, 03:33 AM
I haven't personally had experience with a carsick dog, but I've read that Rescue Remedy can help this. You can get RR in health food stores. It's supposed to help anxiety. I've also heard that people give their dogs a bit of a ginger biscuit before the drive. I guess there are ginger dog biscuits? In general, ginger helps nausea.
I hope this helps Kosmo!

18th October 2006, 10:48 AM
I used to use the RAC harnesses attached to the seatbelts but had problems with this as sometiems the dogs seem to turn around and get tangled up.

Also TedBear is unable to tolerate a harness due to his Syringomyelia.

Mine now travel in a cage which is secured in the car with bungee cords.


I am very wary of dogs travelling behind guards in the boot of a car, as it doesn't give them anywhere to go if someone hits the back of your car...

Yes ginger biscuits can be very helpful for travel sickness...also for some reason hanging fresh parsley in the car!!

The best solution we have found is to have lots of padding underneath the dogs, either a thick foam cushion or lots of layers of vet bed. This absorbs the vibrations and seems to work for us!!

18th October 2006, 11:37 AM
We've got two RAC seat belt harnesses and they are fine. Maxx only managed to get tangled up the once (and it had to be on a busy motorway of course!) but it was my fault. He had lost weight and I had forgotten to alter his harness.

Most of the time, I belt them in and they snuggle down on their blankies on the back seat & sleep for the journey anyway. Maxx occasionally gets a huff on as he likes to sit up front with Mamma but he usually calms down when he hears the radio :lol:

19th October 2006, 01:24 PM
I think this thread cursed me!

I only went and reversed right into a parked car this morning after dropping the boys off at Grandmas! :roll: :roll:

poor bloke, it was his first car - pride and joy and now it has a big dint in the side - my car has a rather poorly bumper! :?

19th October 2006, 01:38 PM

I was at Petsmart yesterday and had a look at the carseats they carry, they look quite flimsy.

The only problem I have with the lot I drive around, I would never have room for my kids if I bought one of those dble booster seat style carseats.
I would need to trade my van in for a bus. :D :D :D :D

Once Darby is full grown I will purchase another carseat Vest for him, the same as Dudley's.

19th October 2006, 02:29 PM
Oh No Kirsty!!!

I am sorry I didn't mean to curse you!!

Is your HB OK with you or are you in big trouble still!?


I think I might just end up ordering a soft sided crate from Ebay and then waiting until that other carseat comes in and see how that works. I have noticed the ones at petsmart before to be quite flimsy, and frankly, Kosmo will find out what a fun chew thoy that is real quick. (he does with EVERYTHING.)

How big is Darby now?

20th October 2006, 12:46 PM
It was my car that I bumped so he's not bothered! I'm only in the doghouse because I now have no car for a week while it gets fixed!