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Transporting Dogs Safely in Cars: Crates, Harnesses, and Tips

Learn how to transport your dog safely in cars. Get tips on using crates, harnesses, breaks, and more to ensure a secure and comfortable ride for your furry friend.

Driving with a dog: transporting dogs safely in the car

Dog car safety. If dog owners want to transport their dogs by car, they must pay attention to a few important points so that both person and dog arrive safely at their destination.

Since dogs are packed animals, they feel most comfortable in the presence of their carer. So there is nothing wrong with taking a man’s best friend along for the ride, as the car is the most considerate means of transport for dogs.

Here are some essential points to consider when transporting your dog in the car.

A survey commissioned by Ford revealed that 32% of dog-owning drivers admit that they do not secure their pets while driving. If an accident happens, the animal becomes a ‘projectile’ too easily. A dog weighing 30 kilograms would become a flying barrel inside the car in the event of an impact at 50 km/h, thirty times its weight.

Where dogs can safely find space in the car

The most crucial point in choosing the proper means of transport is that the dog does not become a projectile. The second point is that the dog does not injure itself in ‘free flight‘.

The car belt is best suited for small dogs or light dogs, as the forces are only applied at a few points on the dog. Seat belt buckles usually do not last long and must be replaced after an accident.

As a recommendation, always follow these three points in the following order:

  1. The correct stable dog box.
  2. The trunk partition.
  3. Protective blankets
  4. The belt.

How should dogs be transported? Dog boxes/transport boxes

With transport boxes, the dog cannot disturb the driver. In an accident, animals cannot hinder rescue because the animal wants to protect its owner or mistress. So that the dog is not nervous while driving, it should be accustomed to the box in advance.

Depending on the dog, this may take longer or longer if the animal has no long-term problems with car boxes. Must adequately secure the car box; significantly more extensive and heavier packages are more difficult to handle. Using so-called softboxes for transporting an animal in a car is not recommended.

The disadvantage of a dog box is that it takes up a lot of space inside/around the boot. Also, if the dog box becomes deformed due to an accident, it may be more difficult for the dog to get out.

Here are tips for choosing the correct dog box for your car.

  • A transport box should offer enough space for the dog to lie down, sit and turn around comfortably inside it. With the box, the risk of injury in the event of an accident is reduced due to less ‘free flight’. The dog will also be less inclined to run, which will help it rest better.
  • If the box is designed so the dog does not have direct eye contact with the outside world, it also helps the dog find peace.
  • The box must be constructed to guarantee good air exchange, but no draughts, such as those caused by air conditioning systems, are created.
  • For station wagons and vans, an emergency or evacuation door at the back of the kennel is remarkably advisable, as in the event of an accident, the emergency door allows the dog to be rescued inside and, in cramped situations, makes it easier to get in and out of the car through the centre of the vehicle.
  • In the case of vans and minibuses, it is preferable to install the dog box centrally, provided space permits.

Dog carriers are available from specialised retailers, such as Amazon.

Trunk dividers with grids or nets

There are various ways to separate the boot of station wagons from the passenger compartment so that the dog cannot disturb the driver while driving. These include grilles or nets.

Stable boundary grids prevent injuries to the occupants in the event of an accident. On the other hand, larger trunks can throw the dog around in a collision. Therefore, when purchasing, it is best to avoid thin, unstable, or even universal grid solutions, even though they appear much cheaper.

Partition grids specially adapted to the respective car models are available on the market. These products use the car’s existing mounting options, thus offering better fixation. Another advantage is the customised and usually simple self-installation, which could save you an expensive workshop.

The nets often offered do not offer sufficient protection and can even become a mortal danger to a dog. In addition to the fact that yields are often not strong enough to prevent the dog from wriggling out of the nets, wires or ropes can cause serious injury to the animal by cutting itself or becoming entangled in the event of an impact.

Tip: sound bars are best for large dogs. We generally advise against nets!

Compare dividers on Amazon.

I was driving with a dog. Do dog blankets help in the car?

Universal Nonslip Car Boot Dog Blanket with Side Protection.

A protective blanket on the car’s back seat works wonderfully against dirt on the seat covers. Still, it is of little help in restraining a dog in an accident, which endangers itself and the human occupants.

The protective cover prevents the dog from sliding into the footwell, which is helpful with a partition grille.

The dog seat belt in the back seat

A significant advantage of a dog harness is its ease of use. In an accident, the dog is thrown forward only as far as the harness length allows.

However, the risk of injury is more significant in severe collisions; low-strength harnesses could tear in the event of a crash, and the animal could disturb or injure the driver due to the greater freedom of movement.

Unique dog belts must not be fastened to the collar but attached to the harness. They must also be of the appropriate length. Note: The front passenger seat is unsuitable for animals, even with a seat belt.

Tip: harnesses are particularly suitable for small dogs.

Compare dog harnesses and car seats on Amazon.

Driving with a dog: transporting pets safely in the car
Sturdy dog boxes also fit even expensive cars.

The law is quite simple if you plan to take your dog in the car. Article 57 of the Highway Code states that inside a vehicle, you must ‘ensure that dogs or other animals are correctly restrained. So, you can’t have Bonzo wandering around the passenger compartment or sticking his head out of the window as he sees fit.

This rule is in place to protect you, your dog and other road users. Imagine if your dog suddenly jumps onto your lap after seeing something tempting outside the driver’s window. You risk an accident and possibly injuring yourself, your canine companion or another road user.

If that accident was severe enough to deploy your car’s airbags, there’s a good chance they could injure or even kill your dog. What’s more, you will be liable for a hefty fine. For these reasons, proper dog restraint is essential when transporting a dog in a car.

When travelling within the EU, you must carry an EU pet passport. You can get it from any vet. It states, for example, that the animal has been vaccinated against rabies and identified by a microchip or tattoo. In addition to the chip and the EU pet passport, Finland, Great Britain, Ireland, Malta, and Norway require a tapeworm treatment, which must be carried out one to five days before entry.

Stricter regulations apply to so-called fighting dogs, such as pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, and bull terriers and their crosses with each other or other dogs. In addition, some countries, such as Germany, France and Norway, have special regulations or prohibit entry altogether. Young animals under twelve weeks old are prohibited in many countries, such as Germany, Italy, Norway, Finland and Great Britain.

Tips for long car journeys on holiday

It is best to start a long journey on holiday early in the morning with or without an animal. As long as the sun has not risen, it is still pleasantly cool in the car. Depending on the destination, the car usually starts to warm up between 10:00 and 11:00, so the air conditioning comes on.

On longer car journeys, it is essential to make regular stops so that dogs travelling with you can stretch their legs and do their business. Also, ensure that you offer fresh dog water regularly and that the dog is not sitting in direct draughts. Even if the animal wants to stick its head out of the window, this is not good for your four-legged friend, as dogs’ eyes are usually susceptible to draughts.

How dogs secure themselves in the car: comparing variants Advantages and disadvantages

1. Dog partition for the boot

Advantages:

  • Very safe option
  • Space-saving: boot volume remains the same
  • Relatively inexpensive

Disadvantages:

  • If the dog has too much space in the boot, the risk of injury in the event of a collision increases (so you should limit the area)
  • If the dog is travelling with you, you can carry nothing else in the luggage compartment (risk of the luggage sliding over the dog!)

2. Dog box for the car

Advantages:

  • Very safe option
  • Cosy ‘cave factor’ for the dog

Disadvantage:

  • Depending on the dog’s size, much space is lost in the boot or back seat.

3. Seat belts for dogs

Advantages:

  • Easy to use
  • Cheap
  • It prevents the dog from moving freely in the car.

Disadvantage:

  • Very dangerous for the dog: in a rear-end collision, it is highly likely to hit the front seat and be seriously injured.

4. Protective blankets for dogs

Advantages:

  • Prevent the dog from slipping in the footwell
  • Protect the car from dirt.

Disadvantage:

  • Protective blankets alone are NOT recommended to protect dogs in the car!

Summary: Tips for How to safely transport Dogs

Here are some tips on how to safely transport your dog in the car:

  • Use a crate or harness. This is the safest way to transport your dog in the car. A crate will provide your dog with a safe and secure space to travel, while a harness will help to prevent them from jumping out of the window or distracting the driver.
  • Make sure your dog is comfortable. Before you start driving, take some time to let your dog get used to the car. Let them sniff and explore, and give them a toy or blanket to keep them occupied.
  • Take breaks. If you’re on a long journey, take breaks for your dog to stretch their legs and go to the bathroom.
  • Be aware of the weather. Keep the windows open on hot days or turn on the air conditioning to prevent your dog from overheating. On cold days, dress your dog in a warm coat or blanket.
  • Never leave your dog in a hot car. Even on a mild day, the temperature inside a vehicle can quickly rise to dangerous levels. If you must leave your dog in the car, crack the windows even for a few minutes and leave a note on the dashboard.
Summary: Tips for How to safely transport Dogs.
Bring plenty of water and food if you take your dog on a long car ride. It would help if you stopped every few hours to let your dog stretch their legs and go to the bathroom.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Get your dog used to the car gradually. Start by taking short trips around the block, and gradually increase the length of the trips as your dog gets more comfortable.
  • Choose a crate or carrier that is the right size for your dog. The crate should be large enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie comfortably.
  • Place a blanket or towel in the crate or carrier to make it more comfortable for your dog. You can also put a toy or two in the crate to entertain your dog.
  • If your dog is prone to motion sickness, talk to your veterinarian about medication that can help.
  • Be patient and understanding. Some dogs take longer than others to get used to riding in a car. However, with time and patience, you and your dog can enjoy safe and enjoyable car rides together.

Here are some additional safety tips:

  • Make sure your dog is suitably restrained at all times. A loose dog can distract the driver and cause injury in an accident.
  • Never leave your dog unattended in the car, even for a few minutes. The temperature inside a car can quickly rise to dangerous levels, even on a mild day.
  • If travelling with a large dog, consider using a cargo barrier to keep your dog in the back of the car. This will help to prevent your dog from jumping out of the window or distracting the driver.
  • Be aware of the laws in your area regarding transporting dogs in cars. For example, some states require dogs to be restrained in a crate or carrier.

By following these safety tips, you can help ensure your dog has a safe and enjoyable ride in the car.

Thank you for reading the article to the end. Your reading contribution was significant to us.

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The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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Written by Frenchie Breed

The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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