For pet owners, there’s nothing better than hitting the open road with your furry friend by your side.
But driving with a dog can be dangerous for everyone in the vehicle unless safety precautions are in place.
Researchers have determined that if a vehicle crashes going 25 mph, unrestrained dogs may get projected at a force equal to 40 times their weight. And there’s no guarantee the dog, no matter how strong and healthy, could survive.
In addition to trauma, dogs can also get thrown from the vehicle and run off after a crash. The dog may get lost or hit by another vehicle.
So, how can you prevent these tragedies from unfolding? It’s okay to bring Fido with you on a drive but do so in a way that’s safe for both you and your dog.
From dog-approved seat belts to physical barriers, there are numerous ways to safely drive with your four-legged friend. Let’s explore.
The Back Is Where It’s At
Whether you’re just running a quick errand or driving cross country with a dog, keep Fido in the back seat. While it’s fun to have your dog riding shotgun, it’s best for their safety if they stay in the back.
A dog roaming around in the front seat is more likely to cause a distraction for the driver. As the dog moves around, he or she can block the passenger mirror or bump the rearview mirror out of place. Disruptions to your visibility make driving more dangerous and increase your risk of an auto accident.
Similar to a child, a dog is safest in the back seat in the event of an accident. Dogs may not survive if an airbag is deployed, even if they are in a carrier. A dog is also more likely to get thrown through the windshield when sitting in the front of the vehicle.
Get your dog in the habit of riding in the back seat at a young age. Don’t let your dog enter the vehicle through the driver’s door. The better you train your pup to stay in the back seat, the safer the drive will be for both you and Fido.
Car safety is crucial for a successful road trip. While driving, everyone in the car should be buckled in, including Fido. Doggie seat belts gently keep dogs harnessed so they can’t roam around the vehicle.
A dog safety belt prevents a bump in the road from hurting your furry friend. The restraint keeps your pup from getting thrown around the vehicle or crashing through a window.
In addition to keeping your dog safe, a doggy seat belt also decreases the risk of an auto accident. Two million people are injured in car accidents every year.
Distracted driving is a top cause of auto accidents, and you can read more about the personal injuries they cause. An unrestrained dog is a distraction. They may climb over you, accidentally bump the steering wheel, or block your vision. Keeping your dog buckled up during your car ride creates a safer drive for everyone.
Invest in a Dog Barrier
When possible, use a carrier to transport your pup. If your dog is too large for a traditional carrier, invest in a barrier. These separators prevent your dog from wandering to the front of your vehicle and keeps them contained to the back of the car.
These pet dividers come in a wide range of styles and designs. Some barriers are made from steel wires and attach to the headrests to keep your dogs from jumping over the seats. Other types use mesh fabric and fit around your seat via bungee cords.
Choose a barrier based on your vehicle size and your dog’s needs. In addition to keeping your dogs from interrupting your drive, the barrier will also protect Fido during an accident.
Crack the Windows When Driving With a Dog
A dog’s head is jam-packed with sensors. That’s why they love sticking their heads out the window of a moving vehicle. The air pressure rushes over the dog’s sensory nerves and creates a rush of pleasure.
If your pup loves to stick its head out of your car window, keep the windows open a portion of the way. Having your windows all the way down while driving at full-speed is dangerous. A small pothole or abrupt turn can send Fido out the window.
Roll the window down just enough for your pup to stick his or her head out, and nothing else. It may also be a good idea to lock your vehicle’s doors while driving, in case your pooch accidentally nudges the door handle while enjoying the breeze.
Take Plenty of Breaks
Dog motion sickness is a real thing, and it can put a damper on your road trip. Signs your dog might be suffering from motion sickness include:
- Excessive drooling
- Smacking his or her lips
To prevent motion sickness, take plenty of breaks during your travels. Stop at a few parks or open areas, take your dog on a short walk, let Fido stretch his limbs, and make sure your pooch drinks plenty of water. For long treks, stop every two hours.
Explore More Life Hacks
It’s okay to bring Fido along for a ride, but there are rules for driving with a dog in the car.
Ensuring proper pet safety protocols are in place keeps everyone (two-legged and four-legged) safe during your drive. Invest in dog safety belts and barriers to keep your pooch secure. Keep an eye on how much of your window is open, and don’t forget to give your pup plenty of breaks during long drives.
So, now that you know how to safely drive with a dog, what other useful life hacks are you looking to learn?
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