Does Your Dog Need a Seat Belt? | Reader's Digest

Does Your Dog Need a Seat Belt?

When traveling with your pooch, it's always better to be safe than sorry.

By Lucia Raatma from Reader's Digest | August 2005

Yes, says Rick Marrinson, a Longwood, Florida, veterinarian and content advisor for AAA’s Traveling With Your Pet. “If you don’t let your kids loose in a car, your pets shouldn’t be either.”

Since you can’t exactly strap a poodle into a seat belt, companies have created products to make pet travel safer. We’ve all seen metal barriers that keep dogs in the back of the wagon, but pet stores also sell car seats, carriers and harnesses for $20-$60.

There are no official statistics on the number of pets injured in car accidents, but it does happen, and restraints will keep you and your pet safe. Animals belong in the back so they’re safe from air bags and less of a distraction to you. For large pets, try a harness attached to a seat belt. For small pets, carriers work — if secured with restraints connected to a seat belt.

How to get Fido into a restraint:

  • Start young. Pets are less likely to object if they’re restrained from the get-go.
  • Take short trips to get him used to it.
  • Have fun. Pets will learn to dislike restraints if every trip ends at the vet, so take him to a park too.