Best Practices for Keeping Your Dog Safe in the Car

Many people bring their pets on road trips, with 84% of drivers reporting traveling with pets regularly, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). However, pets can distract drivers and suffer injuries if left unsecured or alone in the car.

The AAA reports that only 16% of drivers regularly restrain their pets, and 65% of drivers participate in distracting behaviors behind the wheel when their dog is present, including 52% who pet their dog while driving. Since these behaviors put people and pets at risk, taking active safety measures is vital.

Your dog is part of your family, so taking measures to protect its safety while in the car is critical. Discover how to keep your dog safe in the car while protecting yourself and others on the road and how an attorney from Cofman Townsley can help if you are involved in an accident.

Why You Should Take Measures to Keep Your Dog Safe in the Car

Volvo reported in 2019 that unrestrained pets increased distracted driving and unsafe driving behaviors. These included letting a dog hang their head outside the car window and sit on the owner’s lap.

An unrestrained dog can become a projectile, potentially injuring itself and other passengers in your car. Keeping your dog safe with federally-approved seat restraints such as crates and harnesses ensures they stay comfortable during car trips. You also reduce the likelihood of severe injuries for passengers and dogs, which is important for everyone in your family.

How to Keep Your Dog Safe in Your Car

When traveling with your dog, use various restraints, such as harnesses and barriers, to prevent injuries. You should also plan when to stop for breaks to give your dog the necessary exercise to stay comfortable during the trip. Consider these safety tips to keep you and your dog safe as you head out onto the road:

  • Put Your Dog in a Seatbelt Harness or Crate

Canine seat belt harnesses use traditional seatbelts as dog restraints. Using these devices keeps your larger dog seated in the car during transit so that they do not distract you during transportation. You can also use a dog car seat for smaller breeds like Maltese or Pomeranians.

A crate is an excellent alternative to harness or dog seats. Crates contain your dog as you drive, keeping your furry friend in one place and protecting them from harm.

Ensure your crate is large enough for your dog to move around and rest comfortably. Place a blanket over the crate to discourage distractions like loud noises or other dogs in passing cars that might cause your dog to become restless.

  • Pack Dog Care Essentials

Your dog can become anxious during a road trip due to the change in their routine. Bring food, water, treats, toys, and bedding to prevent anxiety and keep them occupied.

Take a break every few hours to feed your dog and take a quick walk to stretch their legs. Brief physical activity may also help ease their stress and anxiety.

Keep your dog on a feeding routine to prevent anxiety and stomach discomfort. Dogs will need to relieve themselves 10 to 15 minutes after each meal.

  • Install a Dog Barrier or Guard

Dogs often want to be as close to their owner as possible, even when they’re driving. Consider installing a dog barrier between the front and back seats that lets your dog see you without climbing into the front seat. Look for an adjustable dog barrier to ensure a good fit for your vehicle and secure it correctly for yours and your dog’s safety.

Always keep your windows closed or rolled up enough so your dog cannot fit their head or body through the crack. For some dogs, an open window also provides the temptation to jump out of a moving vehicle. Many things, like people or other animals, can catch a dog’s attention and cause them to leap, injuring or killing your beloved pet.

  • Don’t Leave Your Dog in Hot or Cold Weather

Keeping your dog in a parked car can cause harm due to extreme hot and cold temperatures. On a 70-degree day, the interior temperature of a parked car can reach 100 degrees in 20 minutes. Some dog breeds, like bulldogs and pugs, are at an elevated risk of heat stroke.

Additionally, don’t leave your dog in the car in cold weather. If a dog is left alone in a cold car, their internal temperature can fall below 99 degrees, causing hypothermia or frostbite.

To prevent your dog from getting too hot or too cold, do not leave them unattended in the vehicle under any circumstances. Instead, leave your dog at home or have a passenger stay with your dog.

Work with an Auto Accident Lawyer for Your Personal Injury Claim

You may be eligible for compensation if you or your dog sustain injuries because of another driver’s reckless behavior. The auto accident attorneys at Cofman Townsley have over 50 years of experience fighting for victims of auto accidents, and we know what it takes to win your case.

Contact Cofman Townsley today to schedule a complimentary case review.