3 Quick Tips for Dog Car Safety

by Drs. Foster and Smith on July 1, 2011

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**Guest post from Ellen B.**

Tip #1: Restrain your dog!
This is a huge safety issue for both the dog and the human passengers. Please watch this video – the advice given can literally save lives. Veterinarian Dr. Kathy Hillestad discusses the importance of using a pet seat belt restraint and points out how to restrain properly your dog in a car.


This is what NOT to do!

This is what NOT to do!

Tip #2: Never let your dog ride with his head out the window!
Dust, dirt and even rocks that get kicked up could get in your dog’s eyes or ears causing severe injury. Plus, if the dog’s head can get outside the window, chances are his whole body can. Even worse is allowing your dog to ride in the bed of a pickup truck.

Tip #3: Never leave your dog in a parked car on a warm day!
The green house effect in cars makes it unsafe to make even a quick trip into a store on a warm day. According to Dr. Hillestad, “Dogs can’t control their body temperature as efficiently as we can and just a few minutes in a hot car could cause irreversible damage or death.”

Pet Buckle Seat Belt Harness and Tether

(CLOSED:) Enter our *Giveaway:

We are giving away 5 free PetBuckle Seat Belt Harness & Kwik Connect Tether sets! For a chance to win a set, leave a comment on this post…any comment! Please include the weight of your dog so we know the size you need if you win.

Five lucky winners will be selected on Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at noon CST.

Everyone is buckled in safely!

Everyone is buckled in safely!


Related Car Travel Posts
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* No purchase is necessary to participate. You should be a legal resident of the United States and 18 years or older. Void where prohibited. Shipping to winner will be supplied by Drs. Foster and Smith. Five lucky winners will be chosen at noon CST on Tuesday, July 5, 2011. Winner will be announced on http://www.dfs-pet-blog.com/2011/07/dog-car-safety/. Sponsor: Foster & Smith, Inc., P.O. Box 100, Rhinelander, WI 54501-0100. Employees and their immediate family members are not eligible to enter. Winner will be notified by email, and must reply with their shipping information within 7 days. Failure to reply within the 7 days will forfeit your prize.


{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosemary July 1, 2011 at 10:03 am

Another tip is to train “Wait”. That way, you can make sure that the leash is securely attached to the dog’s collar before they exit the car, and they also won’t be jumping out into a possibly dangerous situation (busy parking lot, etc.).

My basic rule of taking the dogs with me is that if it’s going to be over 70 degrees, they only go places where they can go inside with me. The dog park or training sessions are the exception, since we are all outside there. I do make sure to always have water and a bowl in the car, though.

Sara July 1, 2011 at 2:21 pm

WOW we need this for our border collie – he gets so excited in the car, that he runs NON STOP back and forth back and forth back and forth from one side of the car to the other. And there’s nothing you can do to get him to stop!

christina July 1, 2011 at 2:22 pm

My two little Scotties love car rides and are always buckled in to their little restraints!

christina July 1, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Oh, I forgot – mine are 25 and 30 lbs.

Janet July 1, 2011 at 3:06 pm

My dog loves to ride in the car with me & I take her as many places as I can. She’s 45-50 lbs., and my favorite sidekick!

Angela July 1, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Our Boston Terrier mix Lola (30lbs) gets a little anxious in her crate in the car, but I think it might be because she gets nervous anytime she’s confined and can’t see what’s going on (she tends to throw fits when crated alone at home, too, but left to herself in an empty apartment, she’s an angel). By boyfriend and I have been thinking about getting her a harness so we can see how she does when traveling outside the crate!

Sherry G July 1, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Maddie is between 12 and 13 pounds and has outgrown her puppy harness.

Gail July 3, 2011 at 9:30 am

This would be a great car restraint to win! My dog loves to go on rides to the dog park.
He weighs 20lbs.

Patty L July 3, 2011 at 11:14 am

I used to use a seatbelt harness with one of my dogs many years ago. But once I got a station wagon, my dogs got to ride in the “way back” which I feel is generally safer. But after I was rear-ended a few months ago–with all three of my dogs in the back of my car–my 55 pound dog, Simon, messed himself and refuses to get in the back. So, now he rides in the backseat because it causes him less anxiety. I’ve been considering a seatbelt harness for him. Thanks for all the helpful information you have available!

Jennifer Benson July 3, 2011 at 11:16 am

I have an 85# Yellow Lab. He’s never had a car harness. Car harness’ make travel so much safer for dog & driver & car passengers!

Heather July 3, 2011 at 11:22 am

My lab, Kayla, goes everywhere with us… having a buckle for her would be great! She weighs about 67 pounds (and is full grown lol)

Lara Katz July 3, 2011 at 11:26 am

I would love to win a harness and tether set, as I’ve been shopping for some way to safely restrain Ella in the car. It’s a bit of a challenge, because she’s a 130 lb Great Dane in a Mini Cooper.

Jill Butler July 3, 2011 at 11:26 am

Jace is a 39 pound whippet who gets carsick and nervous in his crate, hoping that a car restraint will aleave some of the anxiety of going in a car. Brie is a 24 pound whippet who does ok in a car, she would probably love to be outside of a crate to travel too. if we donot win I would like some more advice how to get Jace to be able to ride in a car without vomiting and diarrhea. we have tried Bonine, ultra calm tablets, and slow introduction into the car. none driving, treats, playtime, small trips around the block. he usually lasts 10 minutes without….getting upset

Dayna K. July 3, 2011 at 11:30 am

This would be great to win! My dog is always super excited to go on car rides, so a pet buckle seat belt would be awesome! She is around 20-25 lbs.

Jessica Berner July 3, 2011 at 11:37 am

This would be awesome! We have a small dog who needs a seat belt. We adopted her from the shelter and she is amazing! We have a large seat belt for our 70-pounder, but our Jack-huahua could use one too!! She is 13lbs.
Thank you for considering us!

Megan l July 3, 2011 at 12:18 pm

I worry though about using this because my 85 pound golden likes to spin in the back seat I am worried he might get tangled up. But I guess the only way to find out is to try it!

Heather Windham July 3, 2011 at 12:29 pm

I really need this for my 14lb brussels griffon, Gizmo. I have been taking him to doggie daycare when I work and he has been sitting in my lap. I’ve got to find something like this quick!

Jim Siegle July 3, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Our Wire Fox Terrier, 20 lbs of joy, always follows safety & buckles up.

Linda July 3, 2011 at 1:30 pm

I love DFS pet blog!! Love having new information! I take my Emma everywhere!! She loves to ride and I follow your pet safty tips !! Thank you for all your information!! She is Important and precious to me!! My Emma is about 11 lbs.

Marva Gresham July 3, 2011 at 2:00 pm

My little dog Harmony LOVES car rides. But, being small she insists on sitting on my lap while driving, looking out the window. I try to make her get off but, she thinks like a big dog, that she is too big to move! A restraint is just what she needs and her own seat! Harmony is 9 lbs.

Katie S. July 3, 2011 at 3:25 pm

This would be great for my dog! She loves car rides and it would be great to have when we drive to the state park for a long walk! She is 20lbs :)

Doris Rock July 3, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Keep your pets Safe starting with in the yard and ending with in the car. I would love to have the safety harnesses for my dogs but i am on a limited budget and cant afford them right now. One of my dogs is very clutsey in the car he really needs one.
To avoid car danger i only take them when i have to take them to the vets in the car until i can afford the harnesses.

I always worry about the dogs with heads out the windows to. seems so dangerous if they were in a harness they would nt be able to do that. i keep the window only opened enought to get thier nose out when they are in the car. Stay safe this 4th of July

Jan M July 4, 2011 at 10:05 am

Katie travels with a harness; safety for her and she can’t try to come and sit in the front seat :) She weighs 40 lbs, so trying to keep her in the back seats unharnessed with one hand is not an option!

Natalie Noble July 4, 2011 at 10:07 am

Our dogs love riding in the car but I don’t love it when they get in my way. A doggie seat belt would be a wonderful solution. Thank you for all the great information and products.

maria karanikas July 4, 2011 at 10:10 am

I have a car set for my little darling(toy poodle) and I was in a wreck and it certainly prevented him from being hurt however mom (me) got neck damage.

Kathy July 4, 2011 at 10:15 am

Recently found a 40 pound girl with lots of energy. This harness would come in handy for her in the car. Happy 4th.

Melissa July 4, 2011 at 10:18 am

Great tips! I am driving across the country with my Bittany this summer. (She is 32 pounds)

Cheryl Bitters July 4, 2011 at 10:24 am

We were one of the first ones to restrain our sheltie in the car. She had a habit of jumping from the back seat to the front seat all the time. Finally she learned to stay in the back seat with the kids and all went well.

Jen Levine July 4, 2011 at 10:25 am

These are tips that us dog lovers tend to ignore (myself included) because we love our dogs “too much”…we say, they are so happy with their heads out the window, they love to sit in the front seat….in denial. We all know in our head what’s right to do, but in our heart we don’t follow it. An analogy….when I see kids standing in shopping carts; our moms always said, sit, you’ll fall, you’ll crack your head…..yet so many people still do it. I met someone at work who had a child fall out, with serious life-long consequences….now I see this and it makes me so nervous. I’m trying to change my own mindset about the restraints for the dog…..so that I won’t have to look back, the same way I did with the shopping cart. 55lbs

shelia love July 4, 2011 at 10:34 am

I would love to win one of these for my 45 lb Cocker Spaniel. He is such a good boy in the car,he sits up so straight in the seat.

Karen Phelps July 4, 2011 at 10:40 am

My 65 lb labradoodle puppy gets nervous riding in the car. I bet this would help her to feel more secure! Our last dog had a seat belt and he loved riding in the car (he was a little dog, so his wouldn’t fit the new puppy). This would be great, we love to take rides to the park and I think she would enjoy them so much more with a seat belt.

Mack July 4, 2011 at 10:46 am

Our Goldens do love to ride with their heads out the window. However they also know the rule, head out, Doggles on. It also helps with thier other job of spreading smiles! :-) They are 65 lbs each.

Jacki S July 4, 2011 at 10:55 am

I would add to never leaving your pet in your car on a warm day that putting down the windows, or parking in shade, makes very little difference in the temperature inside your car. I am lucky to have a car where I can lock the car with it running so, when I have to take my dog with me during these hot Florida days, I leave my dog in my car with the air conditioning running and the car locked. I did test this while IN the car so I knew the button would unlock the car when it was running. I know that this doesn’t always work especially on older cars so check first.

Happy 4th of July everyone.

Marce Hall July 4, 2011 at 11:43 am

My chihuahua Cheyanne (12-13 pounds) always wants to sit on my lap when we’re in the car together. A harness would be great to keep her in the passenger seat.

nanci July 4, 2011 at 11:53 am

Recently there was a serious car accident in my area that involved a dog passenger. The owner was seriously injured (but is doing better) but her dog wasn’t restrained and either was thrown from the car or jumped from the window and was missing for almost a week (also doing better). Harnessing would help protect my 61# dog in the event of an accident.

Becky H. July 4, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Georgia is a 50# Black Lab :)

Jessicca Patterson July 4, 2011 at 1:41 pm

I have two chihuahua mixes (10 pounds) but only have a car harness for one, since I adopted the second one later. Now I travel with them in a kennel, but one of them doesn’t really like the kennel. I don’t think it is fair to let one use the harness and one ride in the kennel, so another harness would help us all out so much!! This way they can sit or lay down and feel cramped with them both sharing the same kennel. Thanks, Drs. Foster and Smith for providing us with such useful information!!

Melanie Hill July 4, 2011 at 1:46 pm

safety first… best way to go

Victoria July 4, 2011 at 1:49 pm

I’m always paranoid about leaving my dog in the car which I almost never do in the summer with couple exceptions when we are on road trips and I need to stop by to use the restroom. If you must leave your dog for slightly longer, keep a portable fan in the car, ice cubes in the waterbowl and park car in the shade, even with that keep in mind that cars heat up much faster then outside and its literally an oven even on seemingly mild days.

We’d love to win a harness since the one I have now is a bit too small. My pup is 60 lbs.

Kelly Ann T. July 5, 2011 at 12:01 am

I like to take my dog to all the pet events and fundraisers in our area. Kouga our recue dog loves to go in the car and the attention he receives at these events makes him very happy. Kouga weighs 80 lbs. Thank you so much for the chance to win.

Silka July 5, 2011 at 10:35 am

Arabella loves to go on rides! We travel all the time. (76lbs)

Ellen B. July 5, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Thanks to everyone for leaving comments. It’s good to see so many pet owners understand the importance of car safety. The winners of the dog seatbelt harness/tether sets are: Karen Phelps, Jessica Patterson, Marce Hall, Heather Windham and Jessica Berner. I will email each of you to get your shipping information.

May you all have a safe and happy summer!

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