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Wednesday, July 23, 2014
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How to Safely Transport a Dog in the Car

By Susan Paretts
 

Overview

Taking a car trip with your dog can be enjoyable for both of you if you secure him while driving. A study performed by the American Automobile Association in 2010 showed that having a loose dog in the car is a dangerous distraction to the driver, according to FoxNews.com. Having an unsecured dog ranked the third most serious distraction after talking on a cellphone and texting while driving, increasing your chances of getting into an accident. Use one of several humane methods to secure your dog so that you both reach your destination safely.

Step 1

Feed your dog a small portion of food four to five hours prior to your car trip so he won't get hungry during a longer car ride. This time delay also helps to prevent motion sickness.

Step 2

Walk your dog a half hour before your car trip so that he can eliminate. This helps to prevent him from eliminating during your trip.

Step 3

Leave on your dog's leash after your walk. With the leash ready, you can stop along your car trip to walk your dog without worrying about him bolting from your car.

Step 1

Put your dog in a well-ventilated carrier with at least three sides containing air holes or wire mesh. Choose a carrier that your dog can stand, turn around, sit or lie down comfortably in.

Step 2

Place the carrier on your car's back seat, behind the passenger's or driver's side. Position the opening door to the carrier facing away from the front of the car so that the carrier faces horizontally in the seat. This prevents the dog from being thrown through the carrier's door, if the latch to it comes loose, and into the back of the front seat during an accident or sudden stop.

Step 3

Secure the carrier in the back seat of your car with a seat belt. Wrap the belt around the carrier and over the top, through the handle if possible, and secure the belt buckle into the clasp. For larger carriers, a seat belt extender may be necessary or you can purchase special kennel straps that are sold in pet supply stores. These straps tie around the carrier and are placed through an existing seat belt to keep it in place. Some carriers have special handles that are made for looping a seat belt through; follow the manufacturer's recommendations.

Step 4

Test the belt clasp to ensure that the buckle is completely secure so that it does not come loose. A carrier secured with a seat belt will stay put in case of sudden stops or during an accident, preventing harm to your dog. The carrier itself will also protect the dog from any debris that occurs during an accident. A February 2008 study by the Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil Club of Germany found that the safest way to transport a dog by car was in a carrier secured in the back seat.

Step 1

Walk your dog to the backseat of your car holding his leash tightly. Place him in the backseat and sit down next to him. Close the door to prevent his escape.

Step 2

Fasten your dog's seat belt harness, also referred to as a "dog seat belt," around his body according to the manufacturer's directions. It consists of a y-shaped belt that goes around the middle of the dog, usually padded for comfort, that you will fasten into the car's seat belt system.

Step 3

Buckle the seat belt harness into the seat belt of the car in the back seat, either behind the driver's side or passenger's side. The harness is a type of seat belt extension that keeps your dog strapped into the seat for his safety. Fasten the seat belt harness, already attached to your dog, directly into the clasp of the seat belt or loop the car's seat belt through it and fasten its buckle into the clasp. Each dog seat belt system is different, so follow the manufacturer's directions in how to attach it to your car's seat belt.

Step 4

Test the belt to ensure it is attached securely and is snug, but not tight around your dog. He should be able to sit comfortably while in the belt but not move around the seat.

Step 1

Place the dog car seat in the back seat of your car, either behind the driver's side or passenger's side. These special pet seats are similar to a child's booster seat and may be open, semi-open or enclosed in fabric mesh. They are also usually padded to keep your dog comfortable and safe during your trip.

Step 2

Put a harness on your dog, the kind you would normally use to walk your dog. You will use this harness to attach to the inside of the canine car seat.

Step 3

Walk your dog to the back seat of your car holding his leash tightly. Place him in the backseat and sit next to him. Close the door to prevent his escape.

Step 4

Place the dog in the canine car seat and fasten his harness to the inside of it to keep him secure; don't fasten a collar into these seats as it can lead to accidental choking.

Step 5

Buckle the seat itself into the back seat of the car using the belt provided or the loops through which you place the car's seat belt to secure it in place.
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