View Full Version : How do you keep your dog safe in the car?

20th May 2007, 09:51 AM
I'm still holding Ollie on the limited car trips we go on :o

Is there any way of attathing his harness to the seatbelt or something?

Also, those wonderful lookouts are a bit out of budget right now! :(

20th May 2007, 10:09 AM
Oh gosh, for your safety, his safety, and that of all other passengers, please do not hold him; this is SO dangerous. He would not stand a chance even in a slow collision (even at 25 mph he would be hurled into the seatback or dashboard at speeds around 100mph; if you are sitting in front and an airbag opened, he would be killed instantly, and you could sustain very serious injury from having him flattened into your abdomen or chest from the force of an airbag -- remember they will kill babies and toddlers [that is why children are not supposed to ever be in the front passenger seat any longer] so will easily do the same to a small dog). If he were thrown out of your lap, as is likely, and through the car, he could easily break the neck of passengers if he hit them. So you are right to be looking at better options! :thmbsup:

Get him into a right-sized crate (eg not too big or too small) that is seatbelted through the handle down to the seat, or a specially designed harness that clips to a seatbelt. There are several designs on the market but the best (and only one actually tested for safety) is: www.ruffrider.com

Barbara Nixon
20th May 2007, 10:22 AM
I use a harness, designed for car journeys, not an ordinary walking harness (though it can be used for that), when taking one dog and on short journeys. Longer distance, I use a crate.

Bruce H
20th May 2007, 11:57 AM
A crate is the safest. You can get a crate that is just big enough to lay down in. We have found that when we crate our dogs in the car, all they do is sleep anyway.

Sometimes you have to get creative. We put two dogs together in a crate when they all travel together with us. Last year When Kris and I went for a week to Duluth for the dog show and heart clinic we brought 10 of our 12 dogs. The hardest part was securing all the crates and our gear so they wouldn't take off in an accident. There were also crates in front of these that we accessed from the side doors.


murphy's mum
20th May 2007, 12:02 PM
I use a car harness. Murphy normally travels in the back, but if it's just me in the car, he can sit in the front, as I turn off the passenger air bag.

20th May 2007, 01:32 PM
I use crates in the back of the car. I have two, and put Fjalar & Mirra together in one, Molder in another ;) They feel just very comfortable and sleep all the time.

20th May 2007, 01:45 PM
I use crates (cat carriers), it's a bit of a squeeze getting 3 of them onto the back seat but it's great peace of mind knowing that they're saftely contained, also if we do crash there's less chance of the dogs getting out into the road.

20th May 2007, 01:45 PM
I use a RAC car harness.

My car isn't big enough for a crate.

20th May 2007, 02:01 PM
Thanks everyone. I think I'll go with the car harness, a car-sized crate will be a bit expencive at the moment.

He used to go in the cat cage in the first month of 2 when he used to go in the car a lot to the vet and puppy school. His only been held by me (with leash and puppia) twice because h got too big for the cat one.

Thanks agian :)

Edited to add: Car sized sounds funny! I meant a crate that will fit in the car!!!! Not his bedtime one (too big) and not the cat one (too small) :o

20th May 2007, 02:03 PM
Sometimes you have to get creative.

That certainly is creative use of space! :-p :eek: That's one packed car!

The point of the dogs not geting loose if there was a crash is important and a good argument for crates. Also, many rescue services (police, fire, ambulance) actually have a specific policy that says they will NOT rescue a dog that is not crated as it is a major bite risk for them. So that's a consideration, too.

I know we tend to think it will never be us but I know of quite a few stories where people had dogs in crates that survived an impact where a dog in a harness might not -- especially harnesses that give dogs quite a bit of lead space. For a large dog that doesn't matter so much but for a small dog that leaves too much length so they will still be catapulted into the dash or the seatback.

BTW I have read a good suggestion in the past to write your vet's name/number in permanent marker on crates as well as your name and number, and write if the dog needs any special meds.

I actually keep a few crates taken in half and stacked in the trunk/boot and a cuple of car harnesses in the glove compartment (has anyone ever put a glove in a glove compartment? :lol:). For that matter I keep a lead or two and a few collars there too, as you never know when you'll need one for a stray or a rescue. :)

20th May 2007, 02:17 PM
Good idea to put pet info on the car crate! I'm going to use a luggage tag and put their vet info in it. I use a soft sided crate seat belted into the back seat and put a comfy dog bed in it.... often when the car trip is over, Maxwell doesn't want to get out! My two love car rides.

20th May 2007, 03:03 PM
I use a harness on Maddy that attaches to the seat belt. She also sits in a lookout dog car seat.

20th May 2007, 03:31 PM
Cavalicious, totally unrelated, but I love your avatar! He looks so overjoyed. (btw we use crate for longer trips, harness for around-the-corner to the park). But like Mishmosh said, some cars aren't big enough for crates!

Bruce, that's a LOT of dogs in a car! What a fun and crazy trip! I bet you had some interested looks from others on the road! :flwr:-Natalie

20th May 2007, 03:53 PM
i would like to re-iterate that a crate is much safer in the case of an accident... and llike mentioned, a rescue person may not help the dog for fear of being attacked (even with a sweet dog can attack where terrified, such as after an accident) also, if the car is opened, the dog may get out and run into traffic. i know many dogs like to look around when in the car but it is really much safer for them to be protected by a crate.

as for as expense... a small travel carrier shouldn't be too bad... in my area, they are not much more than a car seat belt harness. also, check the local second hand stores (don't know if you have good will or craiglist type things in your area) but a lot of times you can find used crates for cheap that a dog outgrew or the owners no longer have the dog.... just bleach them really well and air them out before using them in case the previous dog was ill.

hope this helps!:)

bruce: i LOVE the car packing. heehee

20th May 2007, 11:01 PM
Thanks everyone!! :)

Thanks for the ideas Azriel! I actually go to my local second hand store quite a bit just for a bit of a peek around. There are never any pet things though :(

Well in the shops crates are $100+ and harnesses are around $20 so price is probably the biggest concern. I would like him to be as safe as possible so I will look around the internet and so forth.

Thanks again everyone :)

20th May 2007, 11:05 PM
You should be able to get large cat carriers for less than $100, Cody is quite a large cav at over 10kilos and she has plenty of room in the larger carriers which I think were about €25.

20th May 2007, 11:12 PM
Thanks Ste :flwr:

But ahh, I am talking Australian dollars! I've looked and on deals direct their $100 and on Ebay their around $10 with 12 days to go :( Which just means they'll go up like crazy by the end.

21st May 2007, 05:54 AM
good luck!!!! another option to check out for second hand might be the local shelters too. i know most shelters use the crates donated to them but some will sell them for a "donation." or see if anyone at the dog obediance school has a puppy that outgrew their kennel??? happy shopping and good luck!!!:D

21st May 2007, 09:40 AM
We've got a crate that looks exactly like the ones Bruce uses... though not as many. :shock: It is large enough to comfortably take Sonny & Beau and they can either lay down or sit up if they like.

Agreed with Karlin that it is extremely dangerous to carry your dog around in the car unrestrained. Actually in Australia it is illegal & the police can issue you with an on the spot fine. A car harness from the pet shop is dirt cheap & you just clip it to the car seat buckles. In the long term though, I think a crate is safer.