The Ultimate Guide to Dog Car Seats
Almost half of the people who travel with their dogs don't restrain them in the car. Although it may seem natural to have your dog sitting next to you as you drive, the truth is that it's simply not safe. The good news is that you can keep your dog safe in the car and even make them feel more comfortable at the same time. The right dog car seat can give you peace of mind and a happier time on the road.
Should Dogs Be In a Car Seat?
No one plans to get in a car accident, but it happens. During a collision, any unsecured object in the car can fly through the air with a projection force of 40 times their weight. That means even a tiny 10-pound pup has the force of 400 pounds propelling them. Even simply coming to an abrupt stop can cause a dog to tumble off the seat, potentially hitting the dashboard or other interior of the car.
Keeping your dog safely restrained is not only safer for them, but it's also safer for the driver. An excited dog can be unpredictable, and that can lead to distractions. Whether jumping onto your lap or knocking over your coffee, a loose dog can be a scary addition to a drive.
At a minimum, dogs should be snugly restrained in the car. A secure harness that's clipped to a seatbelt or tether will keep them safer in the car. But you can make their trip even better with a good dog car seat.
Although it may seem strange at first, many dogs find it soothing to be surrounded by something cozy. Just as a crate can help an anxious pup feel more secure, a car seat can provide that feeling of being cuddled and safe. You may even see a nervous traveler doze off in their dog car seat. If you want to keep your companion close, you can even tuck them into a pet console car seat, so they are close at hand.
For smaller dogs, a small dog car seat can give them the boost they need to see out the window. This is something dogs usually love, and it can be endlessly entertaining for them to watch the world go by.
A car seat can also help dogs who tend to get car sick. Being held steady may reduce their queasiness, making the ride more enjoyable for everyone.
How Do You Choose a Dog Car Seat?
The right type of car seat can make all the difference to your pet. To find a car seat that will keep your dog as safe, comfortable, and content as possible, here are some factors to consider.
You will want to carefully consider the weight limit. The description should have a description such as "for dogs up to 20 pounds." You should not pick a car seat that's intended for a smaller dog than yours, because they will feel cramped and uncomfortable.
If you have a puppy, you will probably need a new car seat as they grow. This is a better option than buying the size that will fit them as an adult. Puppies need to feel safe and surrounded even more than adult dogs, so getting a small dog car seat that's too big may backfire, making them more anxious in the car.
The style of car seat that will work for you depends on what will make your dog the most comfortable. A larger dog may prefer to lounge on the back seat on a travel hammock or cushion. A small dog will probably enjoy a small dog car seat that gives them a higher perch to see things around them. A pet console car seat is a good way to keep a small, nervous dog close by as you drive.
Tips for Traveling With Your Dog
Now that you're prepared to safely hit the open road with your companion, here are some tips to make the journey smoother.
1. Practice with shorter trips
Give your dog some time to adjust to traveling in their new dog car seat by taking them out for short drives. A five-minute trip around the neighborhood will give you an idea of how they're responding to this new experience. Slowly increase the time you spend in the car, to let them get used to it. Once they're comfortable in their car seat for at least an hour, you can start planning a road trip.
2. Don't feed them too close to when you leave.
Just like humans, dogs can get queasy in cars. Feed them a light meal no more than three hours before you leave, so their tummy isn't too full. It's best not to give them treats or edible chews while you're in the car, because they can be upsetting to a sensitive stomach.
3. Stop often for breaks.
Not only will your dog need to go to the bathroom, but a little exercise will keep them calmer and happier. Play a vigorous game of fetch or go for a brisk walk. If your dog enjoys playing tug, that's a great way to entertain them and exercise them at the same time.
4. Keep them cool.
Dogs can easily overheat. If your dog is on the side of the car with the sun shining in while you aren't, it can be easy to miss how warm they're getting. Keep the air conditioning on, and check regularly for signs that they're too warm, such as frantic panting and drooling. Never leave a dog in a parked car.
5. Bring something for them to play with.
A favorite toy to chew on can be a comforting way for them to pass the time. Just be careful not to give them anything that is a choking hazard, since you won't be able to keep an eye on them while you're driving.
6. Make sure your dog is easily identified.
If our dog slips away at a crowded rest stop, they may get scared and run. It's always a good idea to have your dog microchipped for situations just like this. They should also have a collar and a tag with your cell phone number, in case you are separated.
How do you travel with a puppy in the car?
It's extra important for a puppy to be in a car seat because they're so energetic and unpredictable. A pet console car seat is a good choice for a small puppy, because it helps them feel calmer to be close to you.
You'll need to stop more often for bathroom and exercise breaks. Puppy owners should consider getting a car seat with a removable cover just in case of training accidents.
Should dogs be in the front seat?
It's safest for your dog to ride in the back seat or on the console. This protects them from the airbag in case of an accident.
How do you know if a dog car seat is safe?
Make sure the seat is securely fastened to the car, usually with a seat belt, and that your dog's harness is securely clipped to the seat.
Animal Matters was created to bring the very best in dog supplies to people who love their pets. We invite you to take a look at our selection of dog car seats, so you and your companion can enjoy the open road. For more information, feel free to contact us.