Car Safety

You would not put your child in the backseat without a seat belt on, and it is equally important that you provide the same level of restraint for your dog.

For the safety of your dog and for the people riding in the car, you should never allow your dog to ride loose in the car. An unrestrained dog can become a dangerous projectile in the event of an accident, and you put your dog’s life at risk as well as your own when you allow him to ride loose in the car.

Safe Options for Restraining Dogs in Cars

  • Crates
    The easiest way to ensure your dog's safety in the car is to confine him to a crate. You want to use the sturdiest crate you can find, as some flimsier crates can still fall apart in an accident. If possible, tie the crate down to the base of the car using bungee cords, or box the crate in around other heavy items to avoid sliding. If you are going to use a crate for car rides, it is important to first acclimate your dog to the crate.


Photo by Darci Woodiwiss |

  • Harness Restraints
    Harness-style restraints are a great alternative to using a crate, but they do require some time and training to get your dog used to wearing them. A dog that is used to riding loose in the car may not immediately take to the idea of wearing a harness in the car. These harnesses are specifically designed to keep you and your dog safer in the event of an accident.

Bottom Line
Although it may seem silly to buckle your dog in the same way you would your child, keeping pets safely restrained is extremely important for the sake of everyone riding in your car.


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2 thoughts on “Car Safety

  1. Jill Ferguson

    What are your thoughts on placing a large dog (80 lb. Labrador) behind a sturdy barrier in the back of a small SUV (Toyota RAV4)? I originally did a lot of research before deciding what to do with my lab. She is too big for a harness on the back bench and a crate large enough for her didn't fit inside of the trunk. However, she seemed quite happy behind a sturdy barrier in the trunk. Is she safe, though? Your opinion means a lot!

  2. riverdivine

    I can see buckling one's dog in with a 'seat belt', but I really can't get on board with stuffing my dog into a box. Crates have been a bad idea from the start; they are very similar in intent to the tiny enclosures that factory farming animals get loaded into- for 'convenience'. Crates were created by the movement of societal perception that views pets, essentially, as human 'possessions'- similar to putting a hat in a hat box, for 'convenience', and to get it 'out of the way'.
    Just as human children would never be stowed away in a small cage, "for their safety", (give me a break), I really can't find any rationale at all to persuade me to do the same thing to my dog, a member of my family.

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