Riding in Cars With Dogs!

Riding in Cars With Dogs! NO, this is not a movie sequel to Riding in Cars with Boys, it a real problem that we all need to be aware of.

I see it everyday. Dog’s with their heads, and sometimes half of their bodies, out of the window as the car speeds down the street. Every time I see it, I wonder, does that owner not know how dangerous that is? I want to follow them to their destination and tell them, but I’m usually on my way to a meeting or an appointment with a customer and don’t have the time. So I let it go.

I love to take my dog with me when I go for a drive. And every dog I’ve ever owned has loved to go for rides in the car.  Even if its just to the corner store and back.  But I have never let my dogs hang out the window.

The dangers are wide in scope. Some are only minor, while others can be deadly. I think we can all agree that we don’t want our pets injured if it can be avoided. So why do some owners tempt fate?

Even minor, injuries can be very costly. But that’s not the reason we shouldn’t let our best friends hang out the window when the car is moving.

Some of the bad things that can happen are; the car in front of you could kick up a rock and it could hit your dog causing a wide range of injuries including a concussion, damage to the face, nose or eyes, or a puncture wound. If it happens to hit the ear and it goes into the ear canal, it can cause instant death. The same goes for any object hurtling through the air at 45-70 miles per hour. On the lessor serious side of things, bugs, grains of sand, pieces of debris and even dust could injure your dog’s eyes nose or hearing.

The thing that sparked this blog was something I saw on my way to lunch today. I was sitting at a red light at one of the busiest intersections in the city. While I was waiting for the green light, a car made a right turn (coming from my right) in front of me. As it did I noticed that there was a little Yorkie hanging out the driver’s rolled down window. I saw the dog, with front paws fighting for a grip on the edge of the door, standing with its rear paws on the chest of the driver. This wasn’t bad enough! The driver had a 32oz cup of something in the left hand, and the steering wheel in the right hand. If that driver had had to make an evasive move, that dog would have been thrown from the car and possibly hit by another car. I was shocked.

We’ve talked about the worse case scenarios, but there are other bad situations too. It’s not completely safe inside either. If your dog is in your lap or loose inside the car and you have to make a fast stop, a hard turn or you are involved in an accident your dog may be thrown through the cabin and badly hurt. If your dog is standing in the back seat and you are traveling 35 miles per hour, and a car stops short in front of you, your dog could be throw into and possibly even through the windshield.

One time I had my dog in the front seat of my car and I had to make a panic stop. If I hadn’t had his harness buckled into the main seat belt system of my car, my dog might have been thrown under the dash or into the windshield.

Riding in cars with dogs should be fun, but it should be safe too. Protecting your dog from injury is very simple if you use a little common sense. Like kids, your dog should be restrained. There is some very modestly price safety equipment available for pets today. I use a chest type harness that hooks through the vehicle’s seat belt system, but you can also use other types of safety equipment. The best thing is a plastic pet crate. The kind you use when you transport your pet via plane or train.

Please take a moment to keep your pet safe. They will thank you for it with many more years of loving devotion.

6 thoughts on “Riding in Cars With Dogs!

  1. EXCELLENT ARTICLE!!! Too many people don’t think about keeping their pets safe in the car until it is too late. As a pet travel safety enthusiast, I read articles all the time about dogs getting hurt or killed because they were thrown from a vehicle. I have also talked to many vets about the injuries they have seen from dogs getting hit in the face with flying road debris – gruesome stuff.

    Thank you for sharing this information! :0)

  2. I agree–I worry about dogs in cars (far too much). I especially hate when I see a dog riding in the back of a pickup truck, AND standing on the edge of the bed. I saw this just the other day.

    Do you use a special car harness for your dogs? Or do you just buckle their regular harnesses into the seat belt?

  3. I got my harness at a local pet store. Here is a link to a photo that looks just like mine.
    http://www.petsmart.com/product/zoom/index.jsp?productId=3951212 Its two pieces. The harness is a walking harness and there is a short leash with two leash ends on it. They loops thru the factory seat belt and you just hook it back to the ring on the harness. There are a lot nicer ones made today that do the same thing and they also offer more chest protection. The one I have is about 20 years old and it has served me well.

  4. On my Tribal Lodge page I have a photo of me allowing my young dog this big no-no. But he’s in the back seat of the truck and can just barely wedge part of his muzzle out. In truth it was for the photo (as were cigar, etc.). I usually keep windows down about 3 inches, enough for smells to come in, nothing more. Alternatively, when it’s really hot, I’ve run a leash from the collar under the guide rods of the seat track so they can bring their face near a fully open window but not poke through.

    Sadly I think we represent “the choir” and those who need the message probably don’t go to church. But good post nonetheless!

    • I think we’re all guilty of letting them put their heads out the window on occation. Even me. But not when I’m at speed, and not in traffic or on the road. My example in the article is the kind of thing that could seriously hurt or even kill.

      In today’s fast pace we sometimes need to be reminded. But as another member of the choir, I think you are right. I’m just hoping that one or two people that don’t usually go to church, decide to stop by! 😉

  5. Pingback: Car Trips & Car Safety « Dog Friendly Cumbria

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