Dog Car Safety: Things NOT To Do

11 Feb, 2020

Dog Car Safety: Things NOT To Do

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Whether we are dog owners or petsitters caring for dogs on a HousesitMatch assignment, it is important to be mindful of dog car safety for the well being of our canine pets. Naturally, your practice  will vary depending on the pet’s size, age and character. However, there are some essential guidelines that are important to note and practice for transporting dogs by car, in order to ensure our dogs are kept safe and comfortable on all car journeys, whether the trips are long or short. Travelling with dogs especially in cars can be stressful for both you and the pet. Please take a moment to read these top tips to ensure you have safer car journeys with your dog.

Car Safety for Dogs – Top Tips

Today many people own dogs and care for them as family members. Therefore, it is necessary to be mindful to dog car safety. And because many of us frequently travel by car with our dogs, whether around town on errands, on holiday or even just to the park, it is important to prepare and stay safe on every trip. From the moment your puppy enters the house you should prepare. Do you own an adjustable dog seat belt for your vehicle? It is becoming increasingly important to consider how you carry your dog and protect them in your vehicle. The sooner you start, the faster and easier your pet will get used to the belts or a car seat for dogs.

Dog belts and car seats become especially important if you travel on long road trips and if you are the dog sitter who is perhaps less familiar with the pet dog and also the local roads. Moreover, some pets can get lost on the road or may feel sick during the journey. Therefore, to avoid any issues in travelling with our dogs or if we are dog sitting, let’s check the main things to avoid when driving with dogs.

Dog seat belts have become an important consideration for long journeys. Ensure you build your dog’s comfort level up gradually by starting with a short journey first, ensuring you have followed safety instructions carefully on how to fit the belt.

Dog car safety
A dog safety car seat for your dog can help them feel safe.

1. Never force a dog into a car – First rule in dog car safety

Forcing your dog to go in the car can actually discourage them from entering the car. Alternatively, let the car doors open. Give your dog an opportunity to get interested by putting your pet’s favourite toys and treats in the back seat and on the floor. Entice them with a treat, and you can help your dog to get the treat with a calm voice. Do not keep your dog in the car too long for the first time. Ask someone to sit in the back seat with them to hold the dog. After the ride, feed or give a treat to the dog inside the car with closed doors.

2. Remember to bring water for your dog on your ride

Be sure to take water with you on the road for your dog to drink. However, for safer car journeys with your dog it is especially advisable to give water before a trip (of course, it depends on the distance and time of your travel). Nothing bad will happen if your pet will be hungry for a few hours, but it is important to take water with you, especially during hot summer days.

3. Do not feed your dog before the trip

To ensure the best dog car safety, it is better to avoid feeding them heavy foods such meals before a trip because they are hard to digest. For example, bones and pieces of meat may cause stomach aches or vomiting on the journey. In addition, please note that it takes longer for the dog’s stomach to digest food in hot weather. Feed your dog a couple of hours before the trip to avoid strong salivation, and to ensure they have had a meal well ahead of the journey.

Dog car safety
While all dogs are different an important general rule of thumb is don’t feed your dog before a car journey

4. For optimal dog car safety – Do not ignore your pet’s anxiety

If you see that your dog is struggling with motion sickness, it is advisable to stop every two hours for 15 minutes, in order to walk the dog. It is also necessary to walk the dog before the trip, especially if you are going long distances or in case you won’t have the opportunity for numerous stops. It is better to start your ride early in the morning or in the evening when temperatures are cooler.

5. Avoid using perfumes and smoking cigarettes

if possible eliminate any extraneous scents in the car atmosphere, fragrances or cigarette odour from the vehicle. This will minimise any issue arising because dogs have a highly sensitive sense of smell. The dog’s curiosity overpowers caution and even fear, and they can stick their nose into various corners of the vehicle, put their paws on the seat, or even jump around the car to find the source of the smell. Also, make sure to use safety pet car belts as it may be illegal in some countries to drive without special dog seat belts. An added benefit is that it will keep your dog away from the driver and you can safely and carefully restrain your dog.

6. Try not to park the car in the sun

Avoid parking your car in the sun if you have a pet inside. This can lead to overheating of the dog’s body and even heat stroke, characterised by fast and noisy breathing. At the same time the mucous membranes and the tongue turn red, and the saliva becomes thick and viscous. Vomiting, dizziness and bloody diarrhoea may also be evident. As stated in different blogs that use customs writing rules, the air temperature should never come close to body temperature as cooling by rapid breathing becomes ineffective.

7. Do not carry a dog in the front seat

If you are really concerned about the well-being of your dog and road safety, you will never carry a dog loose in the front seat, and especially not in your hands as the driver. This can easily lead to an accident, as the animal can interfere with or distract the driver. For example, a dog can start licking or sniffing the driver or blocking your view. Your pet may even crawl under the steering wheel or stay near the pedal. It is very dangerous. The animal should not move around the cabin uncontrollably while you are driving. Keep them contained or restrained in a specially designed product to ensure their and your safety.

Dog car safety
Try not to let your dog hang out of the window

8. Do not let your pet hang out the window

Do not give your dog the opportunity to stick his head out of the window while the car is moving. This can lead to all kinds of issues that cause accidents. For example, your dog can jump out, drawn by another dog or a cat, or because they feel stressed from the ride. Your pet can even catch a chill, which will affect their ears and eyes.

In Summary

It is important to follow these guidelines for dog car safety. Whatever size, or age or disposition your dog has, the car is an unusual environment for them, and you need to protect them and you while you are driving.  Prepare and get equipped so that you can care for them in the car.

If your dog is nervous, stop the car and let your pet calm down. If you have a young dog, it is advisable to ride with other people in the car so the puppy does not feel abandoned by you when you are in the driving seat.

And if you must park your car and leave your dog, you must open your window slightly. There needs to be air circulation in order that your pet doesn’t choke.

Further more, if you are building your pet’s tolerance to car journeys, you can gradually increase distances and travel time. The first trip, in any case, should not be associated with something unpleasant like visiting the vet. Give them only pleasant associations, it can be a trip to walk in a park or a ride to the friend’s familiar home. Build to the bigger car journeys to build their confidence in a car.



At we like to offer useful and practical articles on topics for our readers. In this selection we offer you a number of suitable pieces from our own blog on buying, moving and preparing new home.

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