A dog car Restraint system will protect your dog and everyone else in the car if you stop your car quickly, an unrestrained dog can become a flying projectile.
If you don't travel without strapping yourself in with a seat belt, give your dog that same chance for protection.
Accident reports reveal that dogs have been thrown through windshields at high speeds when the vehicle rear ended another one, or struck a tree or pole.
Other dogs have seriously injured the people riding in the car as they bounced and tumbled around the interior.
There are so many dogs that die or are injured after being thrown from the back of a pickup truck that many states and provinces now make it illegal to drive with an unrestrained dog in the cargo area.
Some make it illegal even with restraints.
Here's another good reason to use a dog car restraint system.
Your dog, probably dazed, possibly injured, can't wander away from the scene of the accident. She'll receive treatment much sooner if you or others don't have to go looking for her.
An anchored dog may even help prevent an accident. Driving requires a lot of focused attention. Anything that distracts the driver has the potential to cause an accident.
Unrestrained dogs rank up there, in terms of distractions, with fiddling with the radio or CD player, misbehaving children, eating and drinking, and cell phone use.
If you have a car or truck with airbags, please, do not let your dog ride in the front seat. She runs the same risk of being injured by the air bag as does any child.
Even if you don't have airbags, consider always keeping her in the back seat. Because she sits with her head forward (away from the seat), she runs a very high risk of striking her head on the dashboard or the windshield.
Even if you're using a dog car restraint system.
Keep her safe.
Keep her in the back.
The safest place is the middle of the back seat. If she likes to have some air, place her on the passenger side of the car, so that you can see her, and she can see you.
Please, keep your dog secure while your car is moving. Even a short trip can produce an unexpected, and unimaginable, result.
Dog car restraint systems are designed to anchor your dog to a place in the car, without limiting her ability to move, stretch, lie down, and stick her nose out the window for some air.
The system has two parts: the harness and the anchor.
The harness fits over her chest and upper back. The top goes over her head so it sits on her back, near where it meets the neck.
The ends wrap around both sides of her chest and meet at her chest, where they meet and fasten to a strap (or two) that runs down the front of her chest, between her front legs.
The anchor is a set of rings or a strap that connects the harness to the seat belt or to a cargo tie-down ring in the back of your minivan or SUV.
The two most popular restraint systems, and the best in terms of the following criteria, are the Ruff Rider Roadie™ and the Champion Canine Designs CHAMPION Canine Seat Belt System™.
There are several criteria to take into account when shopping for a dog car restraint system.
All buckles and other connectors must be made of metal. Plastic will not take the strain of hundreds of pounds of force (a 30 pound dog can become the equivalent of a 600 pound object at higher speeds).
If the harness isn't comfortable, your dog won't want to use it.
If it chafes her skin, any long journey will be uncomfortable, and may cause skin wounds. You can usually buy an optional comfort cover that fits over the nylon web straps of the harness.
One size does not fit all when it comes to a dog car restraint harness. For proper protection, it should fit tightly but comfortably around your dog's chest.
Too loose and it may slip over her head; too tight and it will chafe her.
Buy the one that is closest to her chest circumference. Measure near the base of the neck, just behind the front legs.
If you have a puppy, do not buy one for her to "grow into."
Check if the manufacturer has a puppy program, where they will accept one your dog has grown out of and give you a discount on a larger one.
Your puppy's life is at stake here.
Every dog is different, so a harness needs to be adjustable to fit those minor differences. Once you have the correct size, you need to be able to adjust the harness so that it fits your dog perfectly.
Buckles and strap shorteners should be easy to find and easy to use.
Can you adjust your dog's range of motion?
Can you restrict her to lying down only, or allow her to sit or stand while restrained?
The harness and anchor shouldn't be difficult to use, or you probably won't use them, putting your dog at risk.
Can you use the harness for other uses? Is there a short walking leash attached to the harness, or a D ring where you can attach one? In other words, can you leave the harness on your dog while you're both out of the car and use it for other purposes?
Your dog can't protect herself if you're ever involved in a collision. It's your job, and your responsibility, to keep her safe. A quality dog car restraint system will allow you to do that.
Please, don't leave home without it, and don't take the car out of Park until she's securely restrained.