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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dog-Safe Travel, Around Town and on the Highway--Part II of III

by Carrie Boyko, CEB                                                                              Did you miss Part I? Click here
© Carrie Boyko 
 Oliver Loves his Car Seat
Let's just jump right to present day with this dog-safe travel series. Currently I have a 9 1/2 lb. Papillon, Oliver, along with Tanner, a 70 lb. Golden Retriever--a wee bit of a change from the combination we talked about in Part I of this three-part series. Transportation issues change when you risk a large dog stepping on a small dog in the back seat, so we've taken precautions to protect little Oliver.

Since Oliver's inclination has always been to stay by my side (he is a 'companion' breed, after all), he's much happier when in the front seat. There are only a few safe options for this scenario; we picked a raised car seat, pictured above. While there are different types, mine is a model that has 3 straps attaching it to the seat, so there's a pretty fair backup system in place. An adjustable strap inside the seat area attaches to your dog's harness with a clip. This gives you the ability to decide how much he can move around inside the seat. 

I liked the mesh sides of this model, as Oliver can lie down to rest, while still keeping me in sight. The front pocket provides a place to keep a few small toys, treats or waste bags for quick access.

In addition to the harness strap, the seat has sides (about 6-8" high) and strapping that blocks the car seat sides for dismounting, as these attach diagonally to the headrest. His only exit is up and out, or up and over the front of the car seat. If he were to make this jump, he'd likely end up on the floor of the car, so I highly recommend using the strap and clip at all times. Without it, it's a pretty long fall for a little guy, not to mention the windshield is not far away if a collision occurs.

If I have a human traveling companion, moving the car seat to the back is quick and easy. It truly takes just a minute or so to remove and reinstall it on the back seat. When traveling by highway, I continue to use a crate for Oliver, placing him in the back with Tanner. The crate gives Oliver protection from Tanner's brawn, as well as from being thrown, if an accident were to happen. Although his extremely light bodyweight may not break the car seat clip, I'm not willing to take that chance at highway speeds.

That about cover's Oliver's safe travel arrangements and how we manage passengers with him in a carseat. No problems whatsoever. I'll be back next week with the final edition of this 3-part series. Part III will tell you all about Tanner's crash-tested safety harness and belt. He's as safe in my car as you and I are in our seatbelts. Join me next time for an introduction to auto seat belts for dogs.

Related Reading:
Dog-Safe Travel, Part I
Be Smart. Ride Safe.

Want a car seat like Oliver's? Click his photo above or this link to take you to Pet Auto Safety. You can shop for your own styles and colors, and read up on the features of each type of restraint.If you'd prefer to come back later, you'll find Oliver's photo above as an advertisement in my sidebar for easy access to our supplier.
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Ryan Snyder said...

I bought dog seatbelts for my 2 dogs. I found that it is really hard to find crash- tested seat belts for dogs- especially large dogs in the unioted states. :( but i ordered some that have been tested for, i think, up to 40 mph, which is better than nothing. and they have swivel technology (they move from side to side with the pet) so they are less jerked around in an accident. I hope to never get the opportunity to test them out, but i buckle the mutts up whenever i take them anywhere.

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