According to the American Humane Society, about 100,000 dogs die each year due to car-related accidents. Those statistics don’t include doggos leaping out of their owners’ car or those that are sitting freely inside the vehicle during a collision. I’m sure that you wouldn’t want your pooch to be part of the numbers. It’s best to use a dog car seat for large dogs (or small ones for little breeds) if you’re driving them in long distances.
For sure, you consider your dog as a part of your family. You bring the pooch on your short drives or long travels so he won’t feel alone in the house. Dog experts also think that this is a great way to build your bond with the canine – much so if you have a Velcro doggo at home.
But as you enjoy every road trip, it’s crucial that you mind the safety of your dog too. They are defenseless in the event of a collision and they can get very excited if you wind down the window. Even if your pooch is well-trained, you’ll never know when accidents will strike.
If you’re wearing a seatbelt, there’s no reason why your dog shouldn’t have a restraint on.
Car safety for your dog
Securing your doggo inside the car is a matter of safety for the both of you. States like Hawaii Massachusetts, Maine, and New Jersey prohibit driving with an unrestrained dog inside the car. In fact, holding the dog on your lap has the same degree of offense as distracted driving when using a phone. The same goes for the state of Connecticut where drivers will be charged under the anti-distracted driving law if a pooch isn’t secured on a car seat.
Although there are more states that allow than forbid, prioritizing the safety of your dog shouldn’t just be about compliance with the law. But this doesn’t mean you’re going to place the pooch on the trunk or a very small box just to make sure that he won’t interfere with driving.
Just think of a toddler sitting inside the vehicle without a dedicated car seat. Your dog will have the same level of exposure to danger and injuries.
Why car seats are important
Getting a dog car seat for large dogs is important as stocky canines will leap around and they will try to go beside their driving owner. This falls under distracted driving for some state laws.
Also, your cute pooch will turn into a living catapult during a screeching halt or a collision. Both small and large dogs can be thrown out of the windshield and get hit by cars if an accident happens. This will put you in tangles with animal welfare agencies.
If your dog is fond of putting his head out of the window, there’s a possibility that he will leap out of the car. This will be a nightmare for you as the dog owner, especially on a major highway. You could prevent this by getting the safest dog car seat.
The loose items in your car can also pose a direct threat to your pet. During an abrupt stop, your pooch can crash on it and sustain injuries. Large dogs are equally exposed to this risk.
Here, Dr. Jeff Werber from Pet Health Network discusses why securing your dog inside the car is more than just complying with the law:
Things to avoid when driving with a dog
If you’re heading to a long drive with your pooch, make sure that you’re not doing the following mistakes:
-Using the leash as a harness
Leashes are intended to keep your dog on your side during walks or in a steady environment. Wrapping it around his body for the sake of security is a big no-no. The straps will tighten and choke the dog. Also, leashing them inside the car isn’t guaranteed to be safe. They can go airborne during an accident, sustaining serious injuries in the process. If you are to use a harness, make sure that it’s approved by the Center for Pet Safety and has been crash-test certified. It’s best to use a dog car seat for large dogs in this case.
-Putting the dog unrestrained on the truck’s flatbed
Yes, it looks cool. But it only takes one leap or abrupt stop to send your canine rolling on the highway. It’s a brewing tragedy. Take note that about 100,000 dogs get killed after being thrown out of the flatbed or jumping out of the car. And with the scared doggo caught in the middle of a busy freeway, there’s a chance that he will be run over or he will inflict injury to the motorists who will try to save him.
-Letting the dog sit on your lap
In most states, letting the dog sit on your lap isn’t a violation. But that is if you’re not the on the wheel. Letting your pooch ride on your lap doesn’t just expose you to legal penalties, but the dog will also be subjected to injuries if an accident occurs. To secure both of you, it’s best to invest in the safest dog car seat.
-Allowing him to poke his head out of the window
A lot of pet owners make the mistake of spoiling their dogs with this habit. This is as dangerous as a child sticking his head out of the car window. A speeding motorbike or car might knock him over. Just imagine the worst case scenario.
-Leaving the dog in a hot car
Take note that your car can heat up to 112 degrees in as fast as 30 minutes with the engine off and the windows closed. Pet animals can experience heat stroke or even death in just 15 minutes with this temperature. Even a short errand can turn deadly.
Tips to secure your dog in the car
To ensure that your road trips won’t be traumatic drives, take time to read the following tips to secure your doggo:
-Don’t introduce the idea of opening the window
Dogs easily develop new habits which are difficult to get rid of in the future. If you don’t want him to hang out of the window, don’t introduce the idea of opening the window in the first place. Take note that the wind outside your speeding car can dry the eyes of your dog which can cause irritations.
If you want your dog to experience the surroundings, just crack the window a little bit. Just enough space for him to sniff and observe the world outside. Make sure that it’s not too open that he can fit his whole snoot into it.
-No feeding while driving
Feeding your dog in a moving car can cause vomiting and uneasiness. Make sure that you feed your dog three hours before you hit the road. This way, the food had settled on the doggo’s tummy and he has enough time to poop.
Also, don’t let treats slip while you’re on the move. The pooch might choke on the bone cookie or dental chews. Snacking on the vehicle isn’t a good habit in terms of discipline too. Your dog may associate riding the car with treats which will be problematic if you don’t feed him the next time you go for a ride. It’s not also a good idea if he’s tied on a dog car seat for large dogs.
-Turn the AC on at all times
Hot cars don’t just happen when your vehicle is parked. The temperature inside can rise while you’re driving with a busted air conditioning unit. Make sure that you have it repaired first before having your dog in tow. Cracking the window wide open shouldn’t be an option.
Even if the heat is manageable for you, it can be twice or thrice hotter for your pooch. They have a thicker coat, especially double coated dogs like Labs, Chow Chows, and Samoyeds. If you are to get out of the car for a few minutes, make sure that the AC is on and a window is cracked open a little.
-Beware of motion sickness
Is this your first time to bring your dog for a ride? Take it easy and start with a short journey in the neighborhood. Dogs get motion sickness too. They will be very uncomfortable and they will detest car rides in the future.
Watch out for signs of motion sickness including excessive drooling, inactivity, whining, vomiting in an empty stomach, and panting. If motion sickness happened, use a different car on your next trip.
-Use the safest dog car seat
A dog car seat is your pet’s version of a child safety seat. Instead of harnesses and straps, a dog car seat has an enclosed crate and a hook to connect on their collar or vest. This way, they can lie down normally without choking or restraining their movement.
If you’re looking for a car seat for a large breed, here are three of our favorites.
Our Top Car Seat Picks
Petsfit Booster/Lookout Car Seat
This plush car seat will make your dog comfy even on long drives. It has dimensions of 29.5″ L x16″ W x14″ H for medium to large breeds. If the plush lining got dirty, simply remove and wash it. You can also take it off during hot days to make your pooch comfortable. No worries since the inner sides are smooth and won’t irritate the coat of your pet.
If you have a Corgi or Beagle with long bodies, this would be the perfect car seat. It comes with a single tether inside to attach the leash or vest of your canine. Take note that since this is for medium to large dogs, it won’t work for the console area. If you have a bucket seat, it’s best to check the other options.
This is excellent if you want to discourage your dog from jumping out of the crate. It has high sidings which are challenging for small to medium-sized breeds to go over the brim.
K&H Bucket Booster Pet Seat
If your dog has a vest or harness with two D-ring attachments, the K&H Bucket Booster Seat will be the safest dog car seat. It comes with two tethers and a well-padded form that allows large dogs to sit properly. This is thick and comfy to cushion any impact of abrupt stops or a collision.
This car seat is unique since it doesn’t come with lots of straps. Instead, you will tread your car’s seatbelt on the opening at the bottom part to secure it on the vehicle. This is fast to attach and you no longer have to worry about popping buckles.
The K&H dog car seat for large dogs will work on both the back seat and the front seat. And if the soft cushion got dirty, you can remove it and use the booster seat as is.
This will fit large dogs, and if you have small breeds, this can accommodate two comfortably. If not in use as a car seat, this can alternate as a dog lounger too.
BLOBLO Dog Car Seat
Are you taking a bulky pit bull on a ride? The BLOBLO Dog Car Seat may not be one of the famous options, but we love its construction a lot. It’s like a tiny couch for your dog that can be attached on the passenger seat. The webbing should be wrapped on the head and the back of the seat for optimal security. It also comes with one tether for the safest dog car seat your dog will love.
Aside from that, this has side pockets where you can keep some dog accessories handy. Even if it’s bigger than other dog car seats, this is very easy to clean. Toss it on the washing machine and you’re good to go.
The thick material is best for keeping your dog warm and cozy during long rides. It can also be used as your dog’s bed if you’re staying in a friend’s house
It’s hard to find a dog car seat for large dogs these days that can accommodate as much as a 40-pounder bully. Thank heavens these three are amazing and it will be reliable if you have your dog on the car or if you’re driving on a state where unrestrained dogs are prohibited.