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How to Keep Dog Safe in a Car? Everything You Need to Know

Keeping dogs safe in the car is equally important as we care for kids and elders while traveling. Pet owners have many reasons to carry their furry friends with them during travel. Ensuring you’re safely transporting them should be your topmost priority. 

It would be best to consider a few basic safety precautions whenever you plan road trip with your dog, including restraints, vaccinations, up-to-date health checks, and pet-friendly travel kits(including everything from water and food bowls to dog bags). 

What Equipment is Required to Keep Dog Safe in Car?





Back-seat Hammock
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Back-Seat Barrier
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Steps to Keep Dog Safe in Car

Suppose you’re planning to take your furry friend for a car ride. In that case, consider our steps suggested by pet safety experts and vets on the best ways to keep them safe. Here we go!

Use a Dog ​Harness ​Seat ​Belt

A harness secures your dog in one position with a strap that plugs into the seat belt and is perfect for well​-​behaved dogs. 

Best for: Small and large dogs

How to Secure Your Dog Using a Harness?

  • Buckle your dog in by sliding the car seat belt through the dog seat-belt loop.
  • ​Place your dog on the car seat and attach the silver clasp to your dog’s harness.​
  • Adjust your dog’s seat​ ​belt, so he’s secure and comfortable.
  • Keep an eye on your dog to ensure​ they don’t chew through the harness mid-journey.
Dog Car Adjustable Seatbelt
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Use a Zipline Harness

​A zipline harness is designed for active or young dogs who struggle to settle down in the car. The zipline controls your dog while allowing them to move around. You can use it along with a dog harness.

Best for: Small and large dogs

How to Secure Your Dog a Zipline Harness?

  • ​Hook the zipline towards the rear passenger​ seat-belt tab and seat belt.
  • Pull each seat belt to confirm they are in the correct locked position.
  • You can remove all slack from the zipline with the seat belts locked.
Dog Zipline
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Put Your Dog in a Crate

Dog crates are great for confident and relaxed dogs. A crate ensures that your dog is safe and comfortable. Make sure​ your dog’s crate is large enough for him to stand up and turn around ​in.

Best for: Small and large dogs

How to secure Your Dog Using a Crate?

  • ​Pick the right size crate that would be suitable for your dog as well as your car.
  • ​It is suggested to place ​the crate in ​the back of a station wagon or the backseat​ of a Sedan or other hatchback-style car​.​
  • Use a blanket to cover the crate to help your dog relax.
Portable Folding Soft Dog Travel Crate Kennel
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G​et ​Your Dog a Plush Carry Box

 A plush carry box is perfect for small, anxious pups. This elevated box offers them a good view of you and your surroundings. You can use it in conjunction with a dog harness.

Best for: Small dogs

How to Secure Your Dog Using a Plush Carry Box?

  • Place your plush carry box on the back seat. ​
  • Place your dog in the harness and secure it to the carry box.
Washable Travel Bags for Dogs
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Use a ​Dog Guard

Dog guards are ideal for dogs who like to see you and move around​. These​ guards prevent your dog from being thrown forward in the event of an accident. Ensure​ to get a guard that bolts to the floor and roof of your car so you can’t knock it out of position.

Best for: Small and large dogs

How to Secure Your Dog Using Your Dog Guard​?

  • Find a dog guard that fits in your car.
  • Bolt your dog guard behind the rear car seats according to your car type.
  • As per the instructions provided with your guard, you can lock the guard to the inside of the roof.

Try a Back Seat Hammock

A back seat hammock is ideal for older dogs who lie down. The hammock will protect them from falling off the seat and control them climbing into the front. While buying one for your dog, ensure you have a non-slip covering, so the hammock doesn’t slide off the seat.

Best for: Small and large dogs

How to Secure Your Dog a Back Seat Hammock?

  • Lay the quilted side on the back seat.
  • Plan to insert the anchors between the back and base of the seat.
  • Later attach the fasteners to the rear and front headrests.
Nonslip Hammock for Dogs
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Install a Back-Seat Barrier

A back seat barrier is perfect for larger dogs who struggle to relax when restrained. These barriers keep your dog in the back seat when you use the brake suddenly. Ensure the barrier is securely attached before starting your journey.

Best for: Large dogs

How to Secure Your Dog Using a Back-Seat Barrier?

  • Remove the car headrests.
  • Slide the headrest post via the D-rings and reattach the headrests.
  • Attach the bottom corners of the back-seat barrier to the seat using the hooks or clips provided.
Back-Seat Barrier
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Pro Tips

Schedule enough breaks to let your dog stretch his legs, go to the bathroom and burn off some energy.

  • Start with shorter journeys as some dogs get motion sickness. So, it’s best to build up to longer trips slowly.
  • Don’t feed while driving. Instead, feed your dog at least 3 hours before your trip.
  • Please don’t allow your dog to hang out the window as it is not safe in general, and it is not suitable for their eyes. In addition, it can dry them out and may also expose them to flying debris. 
  • Please don’t give them treats during the journey. Dogs are known to choke while eating on the move.
  • Always have the air-conditioner on as cars can get very hot for dogs. So, keep the car well ventilated.

How to Keep Dog Safe in Car? Videos

Smarter Driver: Tips on keeping your dog safe in the car

How to Keep a Dog Safe in Cars

How to Pack for a Road Trip with Your Dog | Rover.com

Final Thoughts

If your dog is nervous about car rides, do not force him to get into the car. Instead, make your dog get used to your car by offering some treats and making him sit for a few sessions before traveling. A car ride can be a terrible experience for dogs who suffer from motion sickness. Fortunately, there are vet prescribed medications to help carsick pets. Also, each state and province have different laws regarding dogs traveling in cars. So, it is recommended to know your local laws before traveling.

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