How to Transport Dogs in Car


A lot of pet dog owners have tried traveling with dogs in a car due to various unavoidable circumstances and 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. Ignorance is a shame if you think your dog can adjust just like your family members in the car for long journeys. No, they need special care if they are being taken on long road trips. 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.

Using 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. This is 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.

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.

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.

Using Booster Seats

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 aroud 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 Leash

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.

Using Harness

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 him 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. The dog harness is available at the pet stores; there are cheaper ones for about 700 rupees in the online stores. The dog harness can be put to all breeds of dogs and dogs of all ages.

Using Beds

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.

Using A 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.

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.

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.

Hence it is vital for every dog owner who is planning on traveling around needs to keep in mind is, and it's not ideal for them to leave their dog in the car, even if it means with the windows slightly open, while they are out there shopping or doing anything. It's important to understand that since there is a temperature existing outside and the car mostly having a metal body, the car can heat up in a short span of minutes, it barely takes about 10 mins for the car to heat up to a condition the dog cannot deal with. It can always cause the dog to dehydration, faint, feel nauseous, vomit and many other things making it very dangerous for them. It is also considered illegal in some countries. There it is essential to keep the suggestions mentioned above and solution in mind while planning on long road trip with your dog.


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