Friday, 18 July 2014

Car Travel Safety for Dogs - Do's and Don'ts

Front Seat, Back Seat - What’s Best?
The back seat of a vehicle is safer place for your dog than the front seat.  The most serious hazards posed by the front seat are safety-bag deployment, front wind shield if you are forced to break suddenly, and if your dog is not calm in the vehicle - interference with your concentration while driving.

If you are going to allow your dog to ride up front with you, consider putting a properly fitted harness on your dog - in the case of a sudden stop your grip on that harness may save your dog from injury.

  • Never tether your dog by his/her collar
  • Never restrain your dog in the car with a leash attached to your dog’s collar - your dog can end-up with a crushed larynx or other serious / fatal neck injuries.
Dogs with motion sickness generally do better in the back passenger seating area as opposed to the front seat.

Safety Restraints
Even if your dog is a calm traveler, if you are forced to make an emergency stop your dog may incur a minor or major injury - or worse end-up ejected from the car, particularly if the car windows are open.  There are many simple ways that you can reduce the risk of injury to your dog…

Harness and Seat-Belt Tether
Purchase a comfortable harness and seat belt tether. Adjust the tether-length to allow your dog to sit, stand, turn around - but don’t make the length too long or you defeat the purpose of  the restraint. If you are traveling with more than two dogs it is not advisable to harness and tether the dogs in close proximity to each other as tethers can become entangled around the dogs’ neck and legs.

Crates / Kennels
Crates are not necessary for all dogs but for some dogs with travel anxiety and separation anxiety a crate can be a supportive mini-environment within your vehicle to support an anxious dog to transition and change his/her association of travel from fear and uncertainty to calm, comfort - normal.

If using a crate please make sure you select a crate that provides good air flow - don’t use a closed plastic/resin crate as air flow may be restricted leading to heat exhaustion or freezing.

If your dog is not crate-trained make sure you introduce and acclimatize your dog to the crate prior to your trip.

For tips and a comprehensive guidance on how to crate train your puppy or dog, Go here >>.

Car Barriers
When traveling with one or multiple dogs - a well-secured back seat, or car barrier is a very good option to ensure safety.  If your dog is in the back cargo area make sure you support good air flow to avoid heat exhaustion, freezing and general discomfort.

Dog Booster Seats
For small-breed dogs and puppies the pet-industry offers many types of dog booster seats.  Simply secure the booster seat to your vehicle seat making sure to follow the booster seat manufacturer’s instructions. Look for a booster seat that includes a tether to strap or secure your dog into the booster seat. Never secure the tether to your dog’s collar - always secure to a properly fitted harness.

Car Window Screens
If you are worried about your dog putting his/her head too far out of the window, or jumping out of the window leaving the windows rolled-up in the heat is not a solution. Your dog can quickly and mortally succumb to heat exhaustion. Consider installing made-for-dogs car window screens that can be purchased from a reputable retailer.

Other Important Life Preserving Tips…

First Aid Kit - The All Natural Holistic Way
For instructions on how to make your own amazing all-natural first aid kit Go Here >>

  •   Don’t allow your dog to sit in the lap of the person that is driving
    • Allowing your dog to sit in your lap while you are driving endangers you - the other occupants of your vehicle, including your dog, and other drivers. 
  • Don’t allow your dog to put his/her head or other body parts out the window - a rock or insect can do serious damage at high speed impact
    • Dust and other detritus can cause an eye infection or ear infection, or more serious damage
    • Your dog can learn to enjoy having his/her nose at the open window rather than having his/her entire head out the window. If you have trouble training your dog get professional help of use one of the safety restraint options that I discuss further below.
  • Don’t ever leave your dog in the car on very hot summer days
    • Even with the windows open your dog can get heat stroke and die
  • On more moderate summer days don’t leave your dog in the car with the windows rolled-up or windows just slightly open. Even on moderately warm days the heat in a car can build-up quickly.
For more tips on traveling safely with pets Go Here >>
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Important Note

1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Alternative Medicines:

Safe use of items and protocols in the article above, is your sole responsibility.

Foods, herbs and alternative medicines have health issue, condition and conventional drug interactions. Safe use of all substances and protocol are your responsibility.

Before you use any substance or protocol do your research. Check for cautions, contradictions, interactions and side effects. Do not use substances or protocols not suitable to your animal's individual circumstances.

If your animal has an underlying condition substances and protocols may conflict.

2.0 Definition of Holistic…

Food, herbs, alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’.

If you use a ‘natural’ substance (ie. an herb) you are using a natural substance, not a holistic substance.

Holistic is not defined by use of one or several substances. Holistic is an approach.

Definition of “holistic” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press


"relating to the whole of something or to the total system instead of just to its parts"

"Holistic medicine attempts to treat the whole person, including mind and body, not just the injury or disease."

Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that health, and well-being.

3.0 Expectation a natural substance remedies a health or behavioral situation.

A natural substance used to treat symptoms. But, if factors causing the underlying issue remain you do not have a remedy.

Remedy requires a comprehensive approach. It is necessary to identify root cause. Remove items that trigger, cause or otherwise contribute to issues. Holistic approach includes design, implementation to treat, remedy and maintain long-term health.

4.0 Leave a Comment

I review all comments and publish those deemed appropriate for this site.

I answer questions deemed appropriate when I have time to do so.

Wishing your dog and cat the best of health!

Karen Rosenfeld
Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer
Holistic Behaviorist - Dogs
Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Adviser – Dogs and Cats