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In our previous blog post, Driving With a Dog, we shared some great ideas to inspire you to think of ways to bring your pets along on vacation. Here we continue that thought with a look at modern safety when it comes to pups in the car, and the types of restraint best suited for your dog.
Years ago the way dogs rode in a car hire was to open the door, let fido jump in, and then hit the road. No dog carriers, no restraints, just a free-for-all and hopefully they stayed in the back seat. Of course, this is also how we used to let our children ride in the car, but we know better now, and in many countries children sit in rear-facing child seats until they are 4 years old and more. Isn't it time we took a bit more safety precautions with our fur-children as well?
Many veterinarians recommend putting your dog into a travel carrier when in the car, however some dogs find this to be cruel and unusual punishment. For those pups, as well as for dogs that are too large for most travel carriers there are several great and affordable car harnesses available both on the internet and in stores.
The car harnesses I found on the internet ranged in price from $11 to around $50. On the lower end are very simple designs that are basically a way to buckle your dog up to a seatbelt. While these will greatly increase your dog's safety and provide greater protection during a crash, I prefer the harnesses that attach to a runner in the top of the car so that the dog is secure, but can move back and forth in the back seat. Check out the Kurgo Auto Zipline. This is a great option for those traveling in a luxury rental car as it doesn't require a seatbelt since most of the seatbelt style harnesses do not adapt to luxury car hire buckles.
There are also a wide range of doggy car seats, designed to provide cozy comfort as well as safety. I could see this working great for small dogs or an older dog, but not for an active dog who likes to be up looking out the window. The Snoozer brand makes several of these, and includes car robes to keep your seats clean, SUV pet beds for the back of a 4x4 car rental, and pet seats that attach onto the console compartment of your car rental.