Safe dog in the car. How to transport small, medium and large dogs?

Safe dog in the car. How to transport small, medium and large dogs?

Even a small dog in the car during sudden braking can hit with great force, which creates a threat to life not only for him, but for the driver and passengers. It is worth making sure that our dog is safe during the journey, because his safety is ours and the safety of others.

A small dog in the car

Small dogs often drive in loose cars, sometimes on the back shelf or sofa or even next to the driver in the front seat. The rules of physics, however, get us at any time, even when we didn’t like this subject at school. We know perfectly well what happens inside the car during sudden braking. The dog sitting on the back sofa falls from it like all the objects lying there.

A familiar lover of York survived the accident that his family suffered – in a head-on collision the car was destroyed, people came out of the disaster with superficial injuries, but his life was paid for by a yoreczka, who rode on the back shelf. During the collision, it flew through the entire car and fell through the windshield. Another story is not so dramatic, but quite original: a certain York taken to the vet was so upset by the prospect of visiting the doctor that during a stop at the traffic lights … he jumped out of the open window, bouncing off the shelf. The fugitive was found, but only after two days. He was wandering around the area where he left the vehicle so abruptly.

Studies have shown that during an accident a 9 kg object hits the driver with a force equal to an object weighing 450 kg (at a speed of 90 km / h). There is little chance that a dog in a car will survive such an event – not to mention the fact that it poses a threat to the driver.

yorkshire terrier in the car
photo: Shutterstock

The most reasonable seems to be transporting a small dog in a transport cage. There are many types, from rigid plastic to wicker. Plastic ones are more practical – they are easy to wash, they are quite light and easy to attach. Crash tests have shown that it is best to place such a cage on the floor between the front and back seats, because when it is fastened with straps, it happens that even if it does not change its place, its walls crack.

There are also bags made of material in which you can attach the dog, but this solution seems controversial, if only because of the small amount of air that reaches the animal. Even if we have a car with air conditioning, there is a danger of the body overheating quickly, and small breeds are extremely resistant to it.

If you do not like to close the dog, it is worth looking around for safety belts – several companies produce them in sizes for small (S) and very small dogs (XS). They are comfortable, and for animals used to wearing braces they are not a problem.

Medium dog in the car

Although I don’t have my own car, I often go with my bitches to train my friends’ vehicles. These are small passenger cars, station wagons, vans and buses. We try to minimize the danger of an accident, so we have tested different ways of transporting dogs.

I consider a station wagon car with permanently mounted boxes or inserted air transporters (Vari Kennel) to transport dogs. The cage should allow the dog to lie down freely, but it must not have too much slack in it, so that in the event of an accident it is not exposed to injury due to bumping into its walls. In the Opel Passat, Opel Astra II, Skoda Octavia or Ford Mondeo station wagon’s luggage compartment there are two transporters for medium dogs (82 x 57 x 60 cm).

Another safe way of transportation is a dog trailer. In Poland it is still not very popular. It is mainly used by on-line breeders and sledges. If you do not have a station wagon, it is a good idea to set the transporter on the back seat sideways. We fasten it so that it cannot move. Often, just push the front seat. Additionally, it can be secured with rubber for fastening the goods.

dog in the car
photo: Shutterstock

Many owners transport dogs in a station wagon in the back in bulk. If the trunk is separated by a grille or high seats, this is quite safe for people (in the event of a collision dogs will not fly forward like bullets), but less safe for dogs. The larger the trunk and the smaller the dogs, the more likely they are to injury in an accident.

You can also equip the dog sitting on the rear sofa with harness that snaps into the seat belt. It is worth investing in a more expensive one with approval, because most of those that do not have it will not cope with the dog’s collision weight during an accident.

Big dog in the car

Transporting a large dog is a real challenge – regardless of the means of transport chosen. On the bus is not easy, because a large dog takes up as much space (and even more when it goes to bed), which does not please fellow passengers. For similar reasons it is also difficult on the train. The best way to travel with a sizeable quadruped seems to be driving a car, but here it is not as easy as it seems.

When my Labrador Dino was still a puppy, he rode on the floor in front. It was not only dangerous but also impractical – the pants of the person sitting in the front seat were always wedged and covered with hair. I was considering buying special belts, which are attached to the harness and connected to the belts in the back of the car. The dog is sitting or lying on the couch. In addition, I planned to buy a tarpaulin that covers the seats so that the animal does not get too dirty on them. Once I was determined, thinking that it was the only reasonable solution, we changed the hatchback to a station wagon.

labrador in the car
photo: Shutterstock

The station wagon turned out to be perfect. In addition, passengers are separated from the luggage compartment by the grille up to the ceiling. Dino willingly jumps into the spacious trunk, in which he can lie down comfortably. He learned that you sleep in a car, so when it is comfortable, it covers almost the entire luggage area. In the event of an accident, neither he nor us are in danger, because the grille will not allow him to get out of the trunk. There is also no problem of dirty interior of the vehicle. Dino has a blanket in its part, though when we return from the lake or from the forest, we could use a waterproof tarpaulin.

To increase safety, I could still buy a cage, which placed in the trunk would cause Dino to move less during hard braking. The same function also performs an additional grille, which is placed in one-third of the trunk to reduce its area. This solution would certainly work in the case of medium-sized quadrupeds, but for Dink the station wagon trunk is sufficient. A sticker informing that a dog is being transported in the car could be useful. It is important that Dino feels comfortable and safe, which he turns out willingly jumping into the trunk.

Authors: Paulina Łukaszewska, Urszula Charytonik, Aleksandra Więcławska


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