Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your dog.

Restrain Your Dog While Driving

Use a seatbelt, crate, or booster seat restraint for your dog in the car.

Many people allow their dog to sit or lie down freely on the front or back seat while they are driving. Unfortunately, this is a dangerous practice for both your dog and you.

Risks of Having Unrestrained Dogs in a Moving Vehicle

These are the major risks involved with having a dog that isn't restrained by a seat belt, crate, or booster seat while you're driving:

  • Serious injury to the dog in a crash. It goes almost without saying that a dog that isn't secured in a moving car could suffer unnecessary injury or death during a crash, even a minor one.
  • Serious injury to the driver and passengers during a crash. A dog that isn't secured could crash into people in the car during an accident, injuring or killing them.
  • Distraction for the driver. People are distracted in numerous ways by their dogs while driving. From petting, talking to, taking pictures of, and allowing their dog to climb on them to look out the window, a dog may be more distracting than a mobile phone.
  • Eye injury from hanging out of windows. Dogs with a habit of hanging their heads out of the open windows of a moving car frequently suffer eye injuries from flying dirt and debris.
  • Serious injury or death from jumping out of a window or the back of a truck. It's a commonly held belief that a dog won't jump out of a moving car or the back of a pickup truck when they see something interesting. However, this belief has been disproven thousands of times. Some dogs will jump out of moving cars, resulting in severe injury or death.

You can see the results of AAA surveys about pets and driving here:

Restrain Your Dog While Driving

If your dog is small enough, always put him in a carrier or crate while driving. The carrier or crate should be on the floor of the vehicle, to minimize the chances of it flying around during a crash.

You can use a canine seatbelt or restraint harness for your dog, to secure him in his seat so you can drive safely.

A small or medium-sized dog may fit in a booster seat. This is great for a dog that likes to look out the window, but it still keeps him secure and safer.

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