Dogs in Cars, Without the Coffee
Jerry Seinfeld’s popular Netflix series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, led to a play on words for the title of this blog post about dogs in cars. Of course, dogs and cars go together, just like coffee and cars go together. Both dogs and coffee can make life so much more enjoyable! BTW, the dog you see pictured in the MINI driver’s seat was in a parked car with car owner right outside the car.
Dogs in cars is a well-known way for dogs to travel, but not all dogs like to ride in cars and there are many precautions to take when a dog travels by car. Here are some basic thoughts if you have a dog that likes to ride along in the car. Even if your dog does not like to travel by car, there are times it becomes necessary to get to the vet’s office or to something fun, like the dog park, so be thoughtful about your dog’s safety and comfort on the way there.
Also, be extremely mindful of distracted driving and be sure your dog in the car is not a distraction to you while driving. That’s why preparation, common sense, plus a few practical measures can minimize or eliminate any distractions while driving.
Dogs Should Not Ride in Front Seats
Many dogs we have known have immediately tried to get in the front seat, sometimes with its head out the window, licking the air. This can pose a number of safety problems and, while we love the sight, it is best to protect your dog by being in the back seat—away from the frontal airbag and use a dog restraint or harness.
Of course, airbags are a safety feature for passengers restrained by seatbelts. However, if the frontal airbag deploys, the front seat passenger may be injured and even killed if not properly restrained and makes contact with the deploying airbag.
Dog Harnesses and Containers Can Provide Protection
Dog harnesses are an excellent safety option, especially for larger dogs. Those available can be comfortable while providing safety and even connecting to the existing safety belt in the vehicle.
There are some bed-like products with harnesses that can keep a dog safe and contained while in the car. A harness may be helpful for dogs that get queasy with motion, because the straps make them at least feel more secure.
For cross-over, SUVs or wagons, there can also be a dog guard or gate between the back seat and the storage bay area. This can allow for a dog or multiple dogs to be comfortable in a somewhat open area.
Reminders About Water and Air Flow
Don’t forget to make water available, keep a towel available, and a waterproof liner if needed. And keeping the air conditioning available or at least crack the windows to keep airflow for the dog.
Always give a dog a chance to get familiar with the car, get in, sniff around and adjust to the car. Try for short trips at first, then plan for longer once you believe your dog is safe and comfortable.
Having some food in the stomach can help ease motion sickness and treats or snacks can always come in handy.
Talk to your veterinarian about the pros and cons about medication, if needed.
There is much said about not leaving dogs alone in a car, where they cannot fend for themselves and where the interior temperature can soar and cause immediate harm and death. Cold temperatures can also do harm and should be considered as well as causing harm to a dog left in the car.