Wagging Around in my Automobile: Car safety tips for dogs.

safety tips for dogs

I love travelling in cars and was thrilled to finally have a car of my own to travel around town and throughout Europe. We got our first car here in Switzerland and I have been loving it ever since. So far I have travelled to:

  • France: In the South and in the North
  • Italy: Florence, Lucca, and Rome plus all over Tuscany
  • I have gone off to explore great walking trails here in Switzerland, such as Lutry and Morges.

It has also taken me to my vet, not so exciting but necessary. Before that, I usually used a taxi. It was our mode of transportation in New York and in Hong Kong. A car is so much better and it’s my favorite form of travel after pawing around.

Car safety tips for dogs

Dog wears seatbelt

The first thing my peep did was kit out the car for me, so that not only could I ride in style, I would also be comfortable and safe.

First, she got a back seat dog cover to protect our car seats. They did think of me however and got it quilted and in a hammock style, so if she hits the brakes, I don’t go flying into the footwell of the back seat.

I was also given my own doggie seat belt, which keeps me secure in the back.  It’s great due to it lets me either sit up or lie down when I get sleepy.

Tip: When we were taking taxi’s my owners would use my lead and attach it to the back seatbelt by looping it around the seat belt and through the loop of the handle and then back to me.  Taxi drivers can be a little crazy in New York, so this kept me secure just in case of the event of a sudden stop.

Lastly, they added a travelling kit for me in the boot of the car which included:

  • A towel, so that I could get a rub down after a muddy walk.
  • A water bowl and fresh water
  • Paper towels in case I make a mess

Here are a few other safety tips for dogs that I think your dogs should be aware of…

  •  I know it looks cool, but sticking your head out the window, with the wind to your ears is a big no-no. First, your bobbing head could hit something, and second, you could go flying into the windshield if your driver has to make a sudden stop.
  • More reasons why a seat belt is important for us dogs, is that it stops us from getting all excited, jumping out of the car and running around like a nut which could cause a collision on the road. Another reason for my protective dog friends is to keep in mind that if your driver is perceived to be in danger after an accident, you might fend off would-be rescuers.
  •  I believe the driver or passengers in the front should look at us in the back seat, tell us that we are behaving well and that we are good. It reassures us and keeps us calm. Don’t forget that we’re there too.
  • When we finally get to where we’re going, make sure your driver has everything organized before they open the door for you. Also, have my lead ready and attach it to me so I just don’t go jumping out in some strange car park.
  •  I love it, but don’t let me sit in the front seat; it’s just too dangerous for us dogs. Just like a child, an airbag could kill me. If you’re going to let me sit in the front seat, I’m going to distract you and just might have a poke around the gas and brake pedals—be warned!
  • Avoid leaving me in your car alone to avoid the risk of theft, accidental death by heat stroke in the summer or freezing in winter.  It is no fun sitting in the car for a long time; I’d rather be at home.
  • If you must leave me in the car for a short period, take my leash off. While I am looking for you I might get my leash caught on objects such as the parking brake or the adjustment handles beneath the seats. If this happens, I am going to panic and injure myself.

The Open Road… Long trip travel

Whoo-woo,… the long road trip, new adventures, new places to sniff. When you’re planning an extended road trip with your dog, make sure that you will have everything a dog will need.

  • Make sure I am well groomed, nothing worse than being an itchy dog on an extended road trip.
  • Pack my suitcase with my favorite things; bed, blanket, toys, and bowls
  •  This is not the time to change my diet, regardless of where we are going. Bring along my familiar food from home in a cooler.
  • Speaking of coolers, add some Ice cubes, they are a tasty treat, especially on hot summer days. Plus it melts down into water along the way.
  • For long road trips, make sure you’re driver takes you to a rest stop and gives you time for a nice walk and sniff around every two or three hours.

For Newbies

  •  If you’re new to driving around, let your owner know that it would be best to take you on several short rides first before attempting a long one.  These short trips should be to fun-loving dog stops like a dog park or walking spot, so you get the idea that being ferried around in a car is a positive experience.  I would not call a short ride to the vet a positive experience, try doing that after we have had some fun first.
  • To help prevent car-sickness:   Avoid eating within three hours before your ride.  Pee before you go…and perhaps a hardy walk which will probably tire you out and will keep you calm in the car afterward. Some vets suggest limiting water consumption just before the ride, too.
  •  Have your driver pick some nice soothing music too.

That’s about it, most of its just doggone common sense.