40%, this is the percentage of dog owners who admitted that they don’t restrain their dog whilst travelling in cars with dogs. The same survey of 450 NSW dog owners also found that 70% just placed their dogs in either the front or back seat.
It’s quite clear that most of us just pop our dog in the car, start the engine and drive off down the road. But what about car seat safety? When you think about it, an unrestrained dog is dangerous. It’s not just risky for your dog’s life but also your own.
In a car accident your dog could be forced from the seat and into passengers. This could cause injuries that could be fatal.
A dog car harness is the best way to keep your best friend safe whilst travelling.
Already using a dog car harness?
If you’re already using a car restraint for your dog then you’ve taken the necessary step to prevent accidents or injuries from happening whilst traveeling in cars with dogs.
There’s just one issue… Not all harnesses were created equal. A recent test by NRMA revealed that only two of the most popular dog car harnesses in Australia are effective in restraining dogs in a low-speed car crash.
NRMA used crash test dummy dogs to illustrate how different types of harnesses coped with impacts at up to 20km/h. For most, the results were not good. In fact they were so bad that all of the 25 harnesses apart from two failed.
Approved car harnesses for dogs
The two dog car restraints that passed were the Purina Pet Life Roadie Seatbelt and the Sleepypod Clickit Harness from Purina Petlife. Both are recommended as safe car restraints for dogs with the latter being especially suitable for large breeds over 40kg in weight.
The Purina Roadie Dog Seatbelt is being sold for around $40 RRP and the SleepypodClickit harness retails for around $140 RRP and attaches in a similar manner to a child’s car restraint.
The Purina Roadie Dog Seatbelt is available at My Pet Warehouse in limited quantities of each size.
Checklist for travelling with dogs
Along with a suitable car restraint there are several other accessories that will help the journey run smoothly.
- Chicken Meat Balls from Black Dog
- Petmate Bolster Mat
- Dog Doobag from Ezydog
- Lavender and Cedarwood Aromatherapy Mist from Fuzzyard
- Scratchy the Giant Flea from Fuzzyard
- Collapsible Dog Bowl from Kurgo
- K9 Plain Red Collar
During your car trip you may have to do some persuading so don’t forget to pack some small treats. Small treats like Chicken Meat Balls are convenient to pack up and take with you.
They even come in a resealable bag so they won’t spill out the packet onto the floor of your car.
The Petmate Bolster mat is ideal to take with you in the car. Having a comfort zone such as this will make the journey a lot smoother.
You simply can’t go anywhere with your dog without having poo bags! This Doobag holds any sized bags so you are ready for poop patrol. It also has a handy space for storing your belongings like keys or your mobile phone.
This lavender and cedarwood aromatherapy mist has a calming effect on dogs. A quick spritz of this spray will help to soothe them before a long car journey. It will also make the car journey more enjoyable for you as it will mask any horrible dog smells!
To keep your dog calm in the car bring a familiar friend from home. A soft toy is the best idea as he can snuggle up with it on the seat.
Ideally bring a soft toy that he has had for a while as it will be coated in the smell of home, which will make him feel more secure.
Depending on how long your journey is, you should bring a food bowl with you. It’s never a good idea to feed a dog immediately before a car journey – can you say car sickness? Having a bowl with you will mean you can feed him when you arrive at your destination.
A collapsible bowl is handy and can fit somewhere neatly in your car so you always have it on hand.
Your dog should be wearing his collar and identification tags at all times but it’s especially important when you are out and about. A comfortable collar with ID tags attached is the first item to tick off your checklist.
Some dog owners regularly take their dog in the car whereas others reserve car trips for unique occasions. Whichever your preference some simple travel accessories and a suitable dog restraint will make your journey as stress-free as possible.