A lot of pet dog owners have tried traveling with dogs in a car due to various unavoidable circumstances. For inexperienced dog owners, it usually turns out to be a disaster. This happens if you aren’t well prepared with the idea of taking your dog on the long drives.
Yes, taking dogs in the car requires preparation and proper planning. More often than not, dogs are not capable to adjust like a normal human to a new environment like a car, especially for long journeys. The fact they do not understand human language does not help either. Taking them on long road trips will require preparation.
However, on the brighter side, taking them in the car isn’t an impossible task. It is possible if we prepare ourselves for our loyal canines. Here are some of the ways you can consider if you are opting for a car journey with dogs.
- Dog Crate For Car Backseat
- Dog Crate For SUV
- Booster Seats
- Dog Beds
- Dog Seat Belt
- Dog Car Hammock
- Dog Car Barrier
- Dog Seat Cover
Dog Crate For Car Backseat
Using a small dog crate is the best way to keep the four-legged canine safe. It is a necessity to have if you make long stops at a hotel or supermarkets on the highway. While you are traveling with other passengers with whom your dog is not familiar with, it is necessary to put them in the crate so that they don’t trouble your friends or relatives while traveling. Moreover, if you are going with people who are not comfortable with the dog’s fur, it is essential for you to keep your pets in the crate. So that even if they shed hair or fur it remains in the crate.
The confinement is also crucial for keeping your car clean. Dogs, especially the active ones, tend to say active even in a car. All the movement cause their fur to drop on the car seat, leaving a mess in your car. Placing your dog in a crate will be a lifesaver for those who have tried ridding of furs from the car seats.
The small dog crates are easily available in the pet stores and are quite economical. As per the general laws in all the countries, owners are vicariously liable for the actions of their animals; the dog’s freedom is at the owner’s risk. There is no specific rule regarding the use of dog crates while traveling in the car. All that matters is the comfort of the dogs.
The age of the dog’s matters as well. Puppies usually are harmless and need warmth, so it is best to carry them along with you rather than putting them in the crate, For senior dogs, they act cranky to sit in the closed confinement for long durations. Therefore, it is advisable to not use dog crates when traveling with the bigger and taller dogs, puppies or old dogs.
Dog Crate For SUV
Usually, it is feasible to travel along with small sized dogs in crates as their crates will be as big as one of your suitcases so there will be no trouble with the space for other passengers. However, with the big dogs, space is a problem as the crate may take up most of the space in the car. Big dogs can’t stay in the crate for long journeys. It might work out, however, if you have a SUV that can fit the big cage of your dog.
Some of these dog crates for SUV are shaped to fit the back of your SUVs. They have one side that is slanted. The 4×4 North America Variocage is one such example. This is one extremely sturdy mammoth. It is very safe and practical, smartly designed to be placed at the boot of your SUV while still leaving sufficient space for other loads. The doors are locked and enforced by gas hydraulic motion springs. It also has an emergency escape hatch for increased safety. This heavy duty dog crate is made of metal, and I mean thick metal, unlike the normal metal wired cages.
I will admit that the price tag is on the high side. But before you look away, you should see the picture below on just how strong 4×4 North America products are to resist against car crashes during accidents. And also notice how unscathed the dog is.
Get this dog crate and you can drive in peace without worrying about your dog if an accident really do occur.
The concept of booster seats was first introduced for children since until a certain age they’re not capable enough to sit by themselves or use the adult seat belts, as it is necessary for a child to have some restraint over him to avoid any injuries, the booster seats started trending.
Booster seats have own set of safety features to keep your dog safe. For instance, some may have walls around the seat high enough to prevent your dogs from climbing over, thus keeping them inside the seat which ensures safety. Others may have safety belts attached to them for securing your dog within the seat. That being said, the dog booster seat is mostly suitable for small dog breeds, or puppy travelers of bigger breeds, under about 30 pounds.
These small Fidos also have a common problem that the booster seat solves, which is that they are too small to peek outside the windows of the car. The booster seat can be hung on the head restraint of your car seat, as shown in the image of JESPET Dog Booster Seats for Cars below, keeping the dogs at an elevated height high enough to see the scenery along the way. This kills their boredom during the drive, and that will mean less distraction for you while driving. The elevation feature is the exact reason behind the name “booster” for this kind of dog car seats!
It’s purely one’s personal choice, to buy what is most suited for their dog, keeping in mind the size of their dog, their safety, and most importantly comfort, so their chances of disturbing the driver will be reduced.
Using a dog leash, I’m a little hesitant to recommend to use for your four-legged companion. It is a necessity to have the leash if you make long stops at a hotel or supermarkets in the highway. While you are traveling leash makes it easier to control the dog if they are continually trying to put their head out. The dog’s leash is readily available in the pet stores or at the online stores. As per the general laws in all the countries, owners are vicariously liable for the actions of their animals; the dog’s freedom is at the owner’s risk. There is no specific rule regarding the use of a dog leash while traveling in the car. All that matters is if the dog is comfortable.
As I mentioned earlier, I wouldn’t recommend a leash around the neck of the dog while traveling is because it usually makes the dog feel uncomfortable. A dog harness will do the job instead of putting a leash around the neck of the dog. A harness on the dog will make it easier to control it while traveling in the car. The harness is used on the dog to control it when you are getting off the car for quick stops for refreshments, attaching the dog to the seatbelt and to control the dog if it tries to put its head out of the window. Usually, most of the animal foundations recommend the use of harness and not the leash around the dog’s neck; moreover, a tight leash can make it suffocating for the dog.
Using dog beds is feasible only for small dogs and puppy. It is practically impossible to keep the dog bed for the medium-sized and big dogs in the car. But it is the most recommended style of transporting a dog in the car it gives the dog its freedom and a cozy bed for it to sleep whenever it is tired while traveling. Even the bigger dogs can have their beds only if the car is big enough to accommodate the beds. However, to let the dog sleep on its bed while traveling is dependent on the character of the dog. It is easy to trust dogs which are harmless and well behaved, it is not advisable to give ferocious dogs their bed while traveling, and using a crate is a better option for such dogs.
Dog Seat Belt
Seat belt is a must for dogs too. It is essential to tuck them in the seat and put the seat belt on so that they don’t move around in the car. With the seatbelt on the dogs can’t disturb the driver while he is driving. Seat belts are either attached to the leash of the dog or the harness put on the dog. It is the simplest way to travel with the dog. Dogs of all ages and sizes can go in the car using this method, and it is the simplest way of transporting the dogs. This is also recommended by most of the animal organizations.
Dog Car Hammock
Another way to transfer your dog is to use the dog car hammock. It is a large pet seat cover that covers the whole length of the car’s back seat. It also covers the legroom of the car seat as well, so it prevents it you dog from slipping into the legroom and hurting itself, especially when your car brakes suddenly.
I personally recommend the URPOWER Dog Seat Cover. It has two seat anchors to hang onto the headrests of the car seat. This prevents the hammer from slipping when your car is in motion. It is the Amazon’s choice and has received extremely positive ratings from its customers. This go car hammock is a hundred percent waterproof. it is made of heavy-duty oxford fabric that is not slippery which makes it really easy to clean and dry. It also has a non-slip surface to provide your dog a safe environment during the car trip. It also has handy pockets to store things for your dogs that you would usually bring along during car rides. The material it’s also scratch proof hands making it a very durable product.
Dog Car Barrier
When transporting your dogs in your cars you might also need a dog car barrier. It comes in two forms.
One for the SUV that forms a barrier separating the car’s back seat and the car’s boot. If you own an SUV and you transfer your dog around with it, you might want to consider getting a dog car barrier. Some people place that dogs at the car boot of the SUV. And in order to prevent the dog from coming into the backseat and creating a mess with their fur or the playfulness, they install the dog car barrier.
The Sailnovo Dog Barrier is one of the best car barriers out there for SUVs. It is has a universal fit for most SUV models. With an adjustable width, it can completely and properly sealed up the car boot from the back seat. This will keep your dog safe in the cargo area of the vehicle and prevent it coming to the front to distract the driver. It is made of heavy duty sturdy steel wire mesh that can be fitted firmly in most SUVs. It also comes with a lifetime warranty to guarantee product quality.
The other form is placed right behind the driver and the front passenger seat. It seals the car backseat from the front seats. It forms barrier to prevent your dog from coming to the front and cause distraction to the driver. It also prevents your dog from meddling with the gear stick and spilling your coffee.
The Starroad-Tim Car Dog Barrier It is the Amazon Choice of this category. It is made of high-quality durable bungee cords that do not easily deformed, providing a strong resistance against your dog from coming forward to the front seat. It is all so smartly designed with 2 layers. They form a gap in between them where you can put some of your personal items that you can easily reach for while you’re driving.
Dog Seat Cover
Unlike the dog car hammock, the dog seat cover only covers the backseat. it does not cover the legroom, which makes it suitable for your car travels if you have a passenger who is going to be sitting in the backseat with your dog. This cover is meant to protect your car seat from scratches by your dog as well as to keep fur out of your car seat and save you the trouble of a thorough cleaning.
The VIEWPETS Bench Car Seat Cover Is one such example. It comes with 2 seat anchors, straps that you can hang over the headrests of your car for easy installation on to the backseat of your car. It is waterproof, making it very easy to clean. It also has a non-slip surface to ensure the safety of your dog. More importantly it also has a lifetime warranty to guarantee customer satisfaction.
Which Method To Use
Now that you know the different methods involved, the question now is which is the best method for me? There are a number of things to consider before deciding on the best and most appropriate method.
Law of the State/Country
It’s important to understand the laws in your country, or state in USA, which deals with dog safety while traveling in a car.
In the UK there’s an existing code known as “The Highway Code” and Rule 57 of The Highway Code states this:
When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.
While the law did not specify the exact tool to use to “suitably restrain” your dog, it did gave suggestions. Should you not use any of those suggested, it will be up to you to argue your way out of trouble.
In the USA, different states have different set of laws governing this. The state with the most ridiculous law is Hawaii in my opinion. It is viewed an obstruction to driver’s view if one places the dog on his or her lap while driving! I’ve probably broke the law it a million times already.
It doesn’t necessarily just deal with rules and advice related to traveling with your pets but is a general overview of what needs to be kept in mind while driving. The intention of such laws and rules is merely to maintain safety. There is no harm following. The problem, though, is not having information of the law in the locale.
On the other hand, you can even do things like what you see below, as long as you are within the limits of the law. In this case, the dog had water and the crate is not in a precarious position that is well restrained.
The Character Of The Dogs
There’s something known as car anxiety which dogs face quite often, if not used to traveling around in a car, there are many ways that you can calm your pet in when suffering from car anxiety or car sick. You can always sit with your dog and give them treats, and engage them into having more positive vibes around the car, to calm them down.
You might as well take them on a few short trips for them to get used to it. But it’s also important to understand that prevention is better than cure. And hence, it’s essential to start early. When you get the dogs used to travel around, even if it means long distances, in their young age, it is easier for the dogs to get adapted to the travel, and also less likely that they face anything such as car anxiety. It’s also not an easy task to understand whether your dog is going through motion sickness is because most dogs have different ways of showing it, or show a different kind of symptoms. Not all dogs vomit. Some other vital signs to keep in mind, so you don’t delay anything are excessive drooling, whining, yawning or lip smacking.
it is vital for every dog owner who is planning on traveling around keep in mind that it’s not ideal for them to leave their dog in the car. Not even for a short moment. Leaving the windows is no excuse either. It’s important to understand that since the car chassis is mostly metallic, a good conductor of heat. The outside temperature can quickly heat up the car in a short span time. And I am talking about minutes. This can cause the dog to dehydrate, faint, feel nauseous, vomit and many other things, making it very dangerous for them. It is also considered illegal in some countries. Hence, it is essential to keep the suggestions mentioned above and solution in mind while planning on long road trip with your dog.