Pet Safety: Safest Way For Dog To Ride In Car


What is the safest way for your dog to ride in the car? Many dog owners wonder what's the best method for keeping your pup safe as you travel both near and far. With so many options, it can be difficult to know! The good news is that there are actually many safe methods for transporting your dog! In this article, we'll take a look at 5 popular methods to help you decide which is best for you and your canine pal. For more information about vehicle safety and maintenance, contact the experts at Hansma now! 

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Safest Way For Dog To Ride In Car - Top 5 Methods

Whether you constantly travel with your dog or only take him in the car once a year for vet checkups, car safety is important. These safety methods can keep your dog safe in case of collision or even just abrupt stops.

Using proper safety restraints can also keep you and others in the car safe - an unsecured dog can fly forward during a collision and seriously injure you or your passengers, as well as your dog. To avoid injury, consider using one of these safety methods. 

#1 - Doggy Seatbelts

Ideal for: Calm, well-trained dogs, any size

Seatbelt harnesses are a great way to keep your pooch safe in the back of your car. A seatbelt harness will fit over your dog's chest like a regular walking harness, but it will have a space designed to loop your car's seatbelt through it. With a doggy seatbelt, your dog will sit on your seats and will not be able to move around.

If you have a young puppy, high-energy dog, or anxious dog, a seatbelt may not be ideal. Dogs who attempt to escape their seatbelts may end up tangling themselves or contorting the harness/seatbelt. If you're unsure how your dog will respond to a seatbelt harness, It's important to desensitize your dog to his new seatbelt before going on a long drive. 

#2 - Using A Crate

Ideal for: Any dog, any size

Using a travel crate (or your regular crate from home) is a great way to keep your dog safe while you travel. Depending on the size of your dog, you may be able to place a travel crate on top of your seats and secure it with your seatbelt (some smaller travel crates are designed with this feature).

If you have a larger dog, you may need to place the crate in your cargo space or remove your back seats to make room. A regular, wire, or mesh crate may be used in either case with extra precaution, but keep in mind these crates were not designed to be used in a vehicle. 

Crates and carriers can also be used for other pets too. Ensure you choose a crate/carrier specially designed for your specific pet and their size. You can find cat carriers, travel carriers for birds, and even carriers for small pets such as rabbits!

#3 - Zipline Harness

Ideal for: Active or younger dogs, smaller dogs (depending on vehicle size)

A zipline harness restraint system works similarly to the seatbelt harness - with one major distinction! The zipline harness attaches to the corners of your vehicle and allows your dog to move along the backseats of your car while still restrained. 

The zipline harness is a great way to keep your dog restrained while also allowing some freedom. High-energy dogs or younger dogs that like to move around or look out windows will benefit from both added safety and the ability to still move around! 

#4 - Barriers

Ideal for: Multiple dogs, larger dogs (though can work for any size) 

If you have an SUV or another type of vehicle with a cargo space, you may want to consider a barrier. A high-quality barrier will bolt to the floor and ceiling, ensuring it remains in place in case of a collision. 

A barrier allows your dog to walk around the back of your vehicle, look out of windows, lie down, and provides more freedom than most other options without sacrificing restraint. Though a barrier will not keep your dog in one place like a seatbelt will, it stops your dog from being thrown through the vehicle in case of an accident. 

#5 - Hammocks

Ideal for: Older dogs, calm dogs, medium-large dogs

A hammock is a good solution if you have an older dog or a dog with physical disabilities that may need to lie down while in your vehicle. Hammocks are not as secure as other methods, but may be your best option depending on your dog's condition. 

Hammocks do protect your dog from falling off the seat and from making their way to the front of the vehicle. Though they can work with any size dog, the likely work best with medium-large dogs as smaller dogs may be able to make their way over the hammock and into the front of the vehicle. 

Things To Keep In Mind


It is important to keep in mind that pet restraints are not regulated like human safety items. Unfortunately, manufacturers do not have any guidelines to follow when making and selling items such as doggy seatbelts and harnesses.

Therefore, it is important that you do as much research as possible on the various brands and options you have before purchasing. Check Amazon, read online reviews, and watch review videos to get a better idea of what brand will work for you and your dog. 

What Not To Do

It is up to each owner to weigh the pros and cons of each restraint and safety method, and to see which works best with you and your dog. However, here are some things you should avoid in order to keep your dog as safe as possible.

  • Do not leave your dog loose - Though most people have, at some point, let their pooch run free in their vehicle while driving, this is not a safe option. Forgoing all safety restraints can leave you and your pal vulnerable in case of an accident. 
  • Do not feed while driving - Don't feed your dog or give them edible chews while driving. A bump in the road or sudden acceleration may cause your dog to choke. 
  • Do not skip the instructions - No matter what type of restraint you choose, make sure you fully read and understand the instructions before using the device. It is important to know exactly how to install and restrain your dog. Improper use of restraints can make them ineffective.

Of course, an emergency situation may occur where you do not have a restraint available and must transport your dog to a vet or other location. These things happen. Still, it's best to try to use these safety methods whenever possible to ensure you and your pooch are as safe as can be.  

Other Tips For A Safer Commute 


Aside from keeping your dog properly restrained, there are other things you can do to keep your pooch safe and happy while you travel together! 

  • Keep the A/C on - Dogs can heat up quickly, even if you don't feel hot! If it's a warm day, keep the A/C on so your pup can stay cool and comfortable in your car. 
  • Take breaks - If you're going on a long trip, take breaks! Let your dog do his business, give him access to cool water, and let him stretch his paws. 
  • Mind your windows - Though it may be adorable when your pup sticks his head out the window, it is not always safe. You can still roll down your windows, but don't roll them all the way down. 
  • Secure doors - Ensuring your doors are secure and properly closed will help stop any accidents from happening. If you're worried about your doors or locks, consider talking to a professional to solve the problem before the issue gets worse. 
  • Car maintenance - Keeping your car properly maintained is the best way to keep everyone safe in your vehicle - including your pets. 

Trust The Professionals At Hansma To Keep You, Your Family, And Your Pets Safe!


We care about you and your entire family - including your pets! Regular car maintenance is a great way to ensure everyone stays safe in your vehicle. At Hansma we offer service with a difference. We have worked hard to gain a reputation for honesty and quality work.  You can trust us to only recommend and carry out the repairs that you actually need. Whether you've been in an accident and are needing a place to send your car or you are just looking for standard maintenance, we will let you know what you need done and when it should be done.

Our customers have come to consider us as their mechanic friend. As your mechanic friend, we promise to give you top-notch service at reasonable and competitive rates. Click here to meet our friendly team, read our testimonials, and contact us today to find out about the Hansma service difference for yourself.  We are open every weekday from 8 AM to 6 PM. Come see us at 88 Shoemaker St. in Kitchener, Ontario.

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"These guys are good. Up to date and well equipped to repair late model cars, yet enough experience to deal with older stuff as well. Recently, I had a recurring problem on my 2014 Equinox that they resolved through persistence, even though in the aftermath it became obvious that the problem was caused by me, the driver! Great service as always, Thanks!"

- Erv

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Posted on July 9, 2018 .