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We all know that Bello is more than just a pet – he’s a full-fledged family member! And when the family goes on a trip, of course, we don’t want our four-legged friend to stay at home. But how do we ensure that our furry passenger travels as safely and comfortably as we do? Before you turn the key in the ignition and make your canine companion your co-pilot, check out these helpful tips for a safe car ride with the dog. Buckle up, let’s go! 

Seat Belt and Dog Harness  

For us humans, wearing a seat belt is a given. For our dogs, there are special dog harnesses that can be used in conjunction with a seatbelt. This keeps the dog protected in the event of a sudden stop or accident and prevents them from becoming a projectile. But which dog harness is suitable for driving, and what aspects should be considered? 

1. Type of Harness: 

There are special car harnesses for dogs that are designed to keep the dog securely in the back seat or the trunk. They are sturdy, often padded, and distribute the pressure across the dog’s entire body in the event of strong braking or a collision. 

2. Size and Fit: 

The harness should fit the dog perfectly. It shouldn’t be too tight to cause pressure points or breathing problems, nor too loose as the dog might slip out. Measure your dog’s chest and neck circumference accurately and consult the manufacturer’s size charts. 

Labrador with harness in car
image: Andres Ramos – vecteezy.com

3. Attachment Options:   

A car harness should be compatible with the existing seatbelt or come with special adapters. This secures the dog during the ride and prevents him from being tossed around in case of an accident. 

4. Material and Craftsmanship: 

The material should be durable and easy to clean. High-quality stitching and robust closures ensure that the harness can withstand strong stresses. Regularly check the condition of the harness for signs of wear or damage. 

5. Comfort:  

Padding in the chest and shoulder area increases comfort for the dog, especially on longer journeys. 

6. Legal Aspects:  

But is it actually a requirement to buckle up your pet during a trip? Undoubtedly, it would be advisable for safety reasons, but what does the law in Germany say? You can find the precise regulations and all you need to know in the latest article “Anschnallpflicht missachtet: Diese Bußgelder drohen!” on bussgeldkatalog.org.

The Transport Box 

Small dog in dog carrier
image: Pisut Tardging – veteezy.com

A well-ventilated transport box is ideal for smaller dogs. It provides protection and prevents the dog from wandering around during the journey. The box should be securely anchored in the car to prevent it from sliding. The transport box should be large enough for your dog to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. However, it shouldn’t be too large to avoid excessive sliding during the drive. 

Partition Grids and Dog Compartments 

For larger dogs or vehicles with a trunk, partition grids or specialized dog compartments are suitable. These prevent the dog from entering the passenger compartment and offer additional protection in case of an impact. 

Regular Breaks and the Right Climate Inside the Vehicle 

Long car rides can be exhausting for dogs. Therefore, plan regular breaks so your dog can stretch, drink, and take care of its needs. 

Even though many dogs love to stick their heads out of the window, it’s dangerous. Insects or dirt can enter the eyes or ears, leading to injuries. Drafts can also harm your dog’s eyes. If you want to give your dog some fresh air, only open the window slightly. 

Never leave your dog alone in the car, especially in sunshine. In winter, the car can cool down quickly. Always ensure an appropriate temperature. Especially older dogs can be a bit sensitive and catch a chill easily. Therefore, you should avoid significant temperature differences between the outside and inside of the car. 

Don’t Feed Before the Drive! 

Labrador sitting on the floor looking at food bowl
image: freepik – freepik.com

Do not feed your dog immediately before the drive. A full stomach can lead to nausea during the journey. It’s better to feed the dog after arrival. 

Remember to bring emergency equipment like water, a bowl, a blanket, a first aid kit, and if necessary, medication for your dog. 

Training 

Some dogs are nervous or fearful in the car. Gradual training can help to acclimatize the dog to car rides and make the journey more pleasant for everyone. Train your dog step by step to wear the harness to familiarize it with its use. 

Conclusion

Especially during car rides, which can be stressful for many animals, their safety should come first. It’s not only important for the dog but also for the safety of all passengers in the vehicle. By following the mentioned tips and advice, you ensure that both you and your four-legged friend arrive at your destination in top condition and without incidents. Let’s always ensure that our loyal companions are well-secured during the drive and feel comfortable. 

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