I do a fair bit of traveling and camping with my best friend, Lucy. Here’s what I’ve learned about dog safety in cars and during long-distance driving. Call them gimmicks if you want, but I’ve collected a few things to make our vacations run smoothly over the years.

Choosing to travel longer distances with my dog is not easy. But Lucy is an integral part of my life, and I’d never leave her out of our adventures. There’s a lot of things to consider before hitting the highway with your dog in tow.

  • Regular food and water
  • Bathroom breaks
  • Safety in the car
  • Overnight stops (not all hotels are pet-friendly and different campsites have different rules)
  • Motion Sickness
  • Anxiety/Stress at our destination because it’s an unfamiliar place

Safety designs in cars are meant for people. And just as smaller people (kids) need booster seats, so too does your dog. Airbags travel at 180 miles per hour. That could do a lot of damage to any dog, but it would be devasting to small breeds, like the English Bulldog.

The safest place for your dog is the back seat. Being in the backseat will reduce the risk of being ejected from the car during an accident. It also eliminates the risk of driver distraction. Lastly, a properly secured dog won’t be able to run away from the scene of an accident.

If you do the math, your 20-pound Bulldog becomes a 1000 lb projectile during a crash at 50 mph. Since 1000 lbs of force can do a lot of damage to you, your passengers, and your best friend – seat belts and other safety features are a must.

Full-body harnesses that use clip-on seat belts are not safe for smaller breeds like the Bulldog. The force applied through the harness during an emergency stop is too much for their little bodies. Though for larger breeds, those dogs who are over the 40-pound mark, these types are best.

Dog car seats are designed similar to a dog bed and held in place using the car’s seat belt and straps. They have rigid sides and a comfortable waterproof bottom with a tether strap inside them.  That strap then connects to the dog’s harness. Never attach it to a collar or leash.

The combination of the seat belt, dog car seat, tether strap, and harness will distribute the impact force safely. Though, I hope you never have to find out effective it is.  

I like the Kurgo line of travel products for dogs. I’ve been using them since Lucy was a puppy. Their products integrate with the existing seat belt system. Most of their products have been crash-tested, too, which inspires confidence. They’re a company that cares enough to put their product through real-life situations.

The Kurgo Skybox Booster Seat is good for puppies and younger dogs, up to 20 pounds. The seat will fit a bench seat, a 60/40 split seat, and a bucket seat.

For your mature English Bulldog, the Kurgo Tru-Fit Enhanced Harness is multi-purposed. It’s crash tested and safety rated, with a front D-ring for no-pull training, making it an awesome all-around harness.

Imagen courtesy Amazon

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