Most dogs love to go out in the car. Of course, there are dogs that are anxious and dislike traveling in a car but that is a different story. Unfortunately, most dog owners don’t restrain their dogs in the car even though they probably know how dangerous it is not only for the dog but other people in the car also.
- An unrestrained dog can become a projectile in the case of a crash or even sudden braking.
- In addition, an unrestrained dog can also be a distraction to the driver potentially causing an accident.
- In the case of an accident, an unrestrained dog could also prevent rescue workers from getting to the occupants of the vehicle.
- Dogs like to put their heads out the window. This is dangerous in itself. They can be hit by flying debris or even jump out of the moving vehicle
On top of all that an unrestrained dog is at far greater risk of injury or death in an accident. By taking the time and care to ensure not only the humans but your dog is secure and safe will give your dog the best possible chance of surviving or even walking away injury free from a car crash.
Best way to transport a dog in a car
There are a number of ways of restraining your dog in a car. Some ways are better than others when it comes to how much they reduce risk and make your dog safe. There has been little testing on most dog safety harnesses and there are no official standards for this type of thing.
One test conducted in Australia found that 23 of the tested 25 harnesses fail a standard crash test with the webbing giving way or the buckle failing. It is highly recommended that the best harness for car use is to select a crash-tested harness such as the Sleepypod Clickit Sport. This is a certified and crash tested Dog Safety Harness available at Amazon. These type of harness are obviously more expensive than a standard dog harness, but may well save your dog’s life.
Even a dog crate offers little protection in a serious crash and will most likely shatter apart. The most effective and safest method is to use a correct crash proof dog crate that is properly strapped and fastened down. Only a crash-tested purpose built dog crate such as the Variocage Crash Tested Dog Cage will give true protection in a crash. These come with quite a price tag but if you are serious about keeping your dog safe in the car these are the ultimate choice.
Of course, harnesses and crates will provide much better protection than if a dog is not restrained. In a less serious crash or a sudden braking situation, they could well prevent injury or worse to your dog.
This video shows dog crash test dummies using various car harnesses and dog crate. You may be surprised by how badly many of these fail in a serious crash situation.
Ways to restrain a dog in a car
Dog Harness Seat Belt
These are a harness that your dog wears and attaches to your vehicles seat belt. This is either by way of having a buckle that clicks directly into the seat belt or has a loop that the seat belt goes through. As mentioned above the majority of harnesses will fail in a serious crash situation.
Off course they are far better than having your dog not restrained and will prevent them flying forward if you have to break suddenly or in a minor crash. The best option is to use a crash tested and approved car harness like the Sleepypod Clickit Sport.
View the Sleepypod Clickit Sport Harness on Amazon
A dog crate is a good way to keep your dog restrained if they move around a lot in the car or are opposed to being strapped into a seatbelt harness. A standard crate would give minimal protection in a real crash. It is best to strap the crate in using tie up cables or to put a seat belt around it. This will help prevent the crate from flying forward or rolling over if you suddenly brake. See below for how to secure a dog crate in a car.
The best crate for maximum protection is to use a crash-tested dog cage such as the Variocage Crash Tested Dog Cage.
Zip Line Harness
A zip line is attached to two points either side of the car with a short leash attached to your dog’s harness. This is a good way to restrain a dog that doesn’t settle and moves around a lot in the car. They allow your dog more freedom and movement than a seat belt harness. These are also commonly used to restrain a dog on the back of a Ute or similar vehicle. Zip Line Harnesses are available at Amazon here.
Plush Carry Box
A Plush Carry Box is used in conjunction with your dog’s harness. They are popular with owners of small dogs as they are like a booster seat for dogs. They allow the dog or puppy to be able to see out the window while still be retrained. As your dog is clipped into the seatbelt they will prevent them from flying forward if you brake suddenly.
These are a mental barrier that will keep your dog in the backseat or in the back of a station wagon. These are adjustable to suit your vehicle width and can be easily removed if you need to. Best for large dogs rather than small breeds and are ideal for a dog that wants to move around the back seat or boot area. Prevent them from being able to climb over into the front or to distract the driver.
See Dog Car Barriers on Amazon
How to secure a dog crate in a car
Probably the most secure and safest way to retrain a dog in a vehicle is to have them in a dog crate. You want to select a crate that is not too big for your dog so that they do not get slammed into the size of the crate if you stop suddenly or are in an accident. To select the right size crate you should measure your dog in a sitting position for head height and length. Add approximately 10cm to these measure measurements. The width of the crate should be enough for them to be able to turn around. A standard wire or steel crate will more than likely break in an accident.
The safest crate is to use for maximum protection is to a crash tested dog cage such as the Variocage Crash Tested Dog Cage. These come with quite a price tag but will give your dog the greatest chance of surviving a serious car crash.
It is also recommended to tie or strap the dog cage down so that it doesn’t roll or get thrown around if you brake suddenly or are in an accident. The best way to do this is to use safety straps that you can pull tight around the crate and attach to the built-in tie-down buckles in your car. The video below shows where these are located in a vehicle.
Another thing to take into consideration is where to locate the crate in your vehicle. Cars, SUVs and other types of vehicle are designed with a crumple zone that is designed to fold in an accident. You obviously don’t want to put your dog in this area of the vehicle. You may need to research where the crumple zone is in your particular vehicle.
How to secure a dog in a car with a leash
The best way to secure your dog in a car with a leash is to attach the leash to the built-in tie up buckles. You don’t want the leash or tie up cable to be too long. Just enough for them to be able to turn around and lay down comfortably. The video shows the tie-up being attached to the dog’s collar. This is not ideal as a sudden stop or crash could do serious damage to your dog’s neck or worse. It is recommended to attach the tie up to a properly fitting harness.
More than half of dog owners do not restrain or secure their dog while driving. This is a hazard not only for the dog but for the people in the car. A dog can turn into 2700kg of force projectile in the event of a crash. An unrestrained dog can also be a distraction to the drive potentially causing an accident.
It is important to be aware that 92% of dog car harnesses will fail in the event of an accident. It is best to use a crash-tested dog harness like the Sleepypod Clickit Sport.
The most secure way to restrain a dog in a vehicle is for them to travel in a dog crate that is tied down into place. Like dog car harnesses, most dog crates will fail in a serious crash situation. The safest crate is to use for maximum protection is to a crash-tested dog cage such as the Variocage Crash Tested Dog Cage.