Dog Safety In Your Car

While you are making sure that everyone in the car is buckled up for even short journeys, it is just as important to make sure your 4 legged friends are strapped in too. Dog safety in the car is paramount to everyone’s safety. If you are in an automobile accident, and your dog is unrestrained in your car, he will be thrown at speed into your dash, the seat-back, or you. A large dog can cause serious injury to anyone in the car, including himself. Here are some options for keeping dogs safe in a moving vehicle.


This method, while it does stop your dog from moving around the car and creating a nuisance, doesn’t bode well if you have an accident, or even stop suddenly. Anything around the dog’s neck at this time can cause major discomfort or even strangulation. Make sure the leash is long enough for comfort for the dog, but not too long that he will hit anything.


By putting your dog in a crate, you are providing him with an environment that is much safer than being loose in the car. To avoid the crate being a projectile in an accident however, you must make sure it is strapped down with a seat-belt or other device to stop it from moving. Crates are best used in a station wagon, SUV, or van type vehicle with plenty of room. One disadvantage of using crates is that in an accident, your dog will still be thrown into the side of the crate, so he is still able to sustain injury. This is still preferable to being thrown loose inside a vehicle. You may want to purchase some sort of padding for the inside of the crate.


A barrier, or some sort of device that “fences” off the rear of your car, station wagon or SUV, will work like a large crate. It will keep the dog in one area while you are mobile, but as with a crate, the animal can still hit the barrier. Again, padding can help eliminate this.


This is the best option for a mild mannered dog. Harnesses are readily available from pet stores or online, and are relatively inexpensive. They can be fixed to any seat belt in any vehicle, so you only need room for the dog, unlike a larger, bulkier crate. When buying a harness for your dog, make sure it is fully adjustable and of sturdy design with wide straps that won’t dig into him. See that it is actually manufactured for use in vehicles, and not just a lighter, walking harness. If your dog is still young and of a larger breed, for example a mastiff or Rottweiler, and still has a lot or growing to do, you may need to buy a harness that fits him now, and a larger, stronger one later on.

Pickup Truck Beds

If your dog travels loose in the back of a pickup truck, then you don’t have much regard for your pet. Apart from jumping off while mobile, or sliding out the back of an unsecured tail gate, a dog is easily unbalanced in an accident and can be seriously injured or killed outright. There is no protection at all for him.

The most important thing to remember when traveling with your dog is if he is worth taking with you, then he is worth looking after. If you are on a long journey, make sure you have pit stops every hour or so. This will enable your dog to stretch his legs, and use the doggy-bathroom. Always offer your dog a drink of cold water at these times, especially during very warm weather. If the sun is shinning into your vehicle, this can make the interior very warm. If your dog is in the rear of the vehicle, he may not have adequate ventilation. If safety permits, cover the rear windows or buy proper window covers to use when sunny.

If you are planning a stay away from your normal home with your dog for any length of time, make sure his vaccinations are up to date. Your veterinarian can help you with this. It wouldn’t hurt to get your dog checked over while you are there to make sure there are no nasty health surprises around the corner.

About the Author

I want to share my experiences with my own dogs to help you get the most from your pet. For more doggy advice on training, puppy socializing, dog food, and even cats, go to my site at

You are welcome to contact me via my website.