You may be thinking, “are dog seat belts actually safe? Are they better than letting my dog roam free in the car?” If you have these concerns, this guide is here to help.
Let’s explore the safety options for driving with your pup and the overall effectiveness and safety of dog seat belts. It’s important to remember that not buckling up your pup can put you both in danger should an accident occur. In this article we’ll focus on the safety of dog seat belts, review how dog seat belts work, the different car safety options available, and other tips for traveling with your pup.
How do they work?
Most dog seat belts work with the existing car seat belts that are in your vehicle. Your dog’s harness will be able to click right into the existing seat belt. Once in place, the harness restrains and prevents him from moving too much after an abrupt stop.
The harness should still allow enough movement so that he’s comfortable, but it can’t go too far. The seat belt will click directly onto the harness that you strap around your dog. For quick stops such as the pet store or going for a walk during a long trip, you can keep the harness around your dog and just unclip the portion that’s connected to the car seat belt so you don’t have to undo it each time.
Just like with any restraint, your dog may be hesitant to use a leash or harness for a car in the beginning. Try to familiarize him with it before getting into the car so he’s more comfortable when it’s time to get on the road. Test out the harness, then introduce buckling him into the car seat belt. Let him feel it out and understand that although he can’t jump up into the front seat anymore, he still has plenty of space to be comfortable and of course, safe!
It can be dangerous for both you and your pup if he’s not buckled up during a car accident. Your dog can easily fall or lose his footing, potentially injuring himself or even the driver. It’s also highly recommended to put your dog in the back seat. If your dog is in the front during an accident and the airbag deploys, it can be very dangerous for your four-legged friend. Even with a dog seat belt, he shouldn’t be sitting in the front passenger seat. If your pet is not safely secured while you’re driving, he could distract you, leap out the window, or be thrown about the vehicle in the event of a harsh brake or collison. Think about yourself … you always buckle up before driving off in your car, right? Doing the same for your dog is the best plan. Even though it may not seem like standard practice, securing your pup while driving is always the safest way to go.
There are several options including dog seat belts, car seats, carriers and harnesses to stay safe while driving. Any of these safety options may be available for purchase at your local pet store and of course, you can find great options by looking online. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the instructions to ensure that you’re properly restraining your pup. Some methods may differ based on the size of your dog. Remember, your dog is the safest when he’s secured in place, protected and while still comfortable – always keep that in mind. A few other tips to consider when traveling with your canine companion: always bring him with you whenever you leave your car (even if it’s only for a few minutes), bring enough water and food based on the length of the trip and have a first aid kit available (just in case any kind of accident or injury happens).
Plan of Action: Are Dog Seat Belts Safe?
When used correctly, dog seat belts are very safe. In fact, they are the best option for traveling with your dog in a car. Although your pup may not like his harness at first, this is the only way you can keep him secure and out of harm’s way if an accident occurs.
When selecting a seat belt or harness for your dog, take some time to do your research. This will ensure you choose the best option, with consideration to breed and size, car type and trip lengths. When purchasing a harness, look for those which have thick straps to help distribute weight more evenly. He should also be able to both sit and lie down while buckled and restrained in the car. As long as you plan ahead, you should have no issues when traveling with your furry friend. Just remember, when you buckle up, buckle up your dog tool!
- Schamble, Melody. “Dog Seat Belts: What You Need To Know To Keep Your Dog Safe – American Kennel Club.” American Kennel Club, 15 June 2016, www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/dog-seat-belts-what-you-need-to-know-to-keep-your-dog-safe/.
- “Are Dog Seat Belts a Waste of Money?” PetMD, 2 Sept. 2015, www.petmd.com/blogs/fullyvetted/2013/oct/are-dog-seat-belts-waste-of-money-or-lifesavers-30975.
- “Do Pet Seat Belts Really Work?” Dogtime, 26 Aug. 2015, www.dogtime.com/how-to/pet-safety/16426-do-pet-seat-belts-really-work.