How To Travel With A Dog In The Car

Some Dog owners tremble at the thought of having to travel with a dog in the car while others do it on a regular basis. Anywhere from a daily trip to the park to a long trip on holiday, you need to be aware if your dog is safe and secure when you travel. There are lots of options for securing your dog in the car. From seat belts, to harnesses and car crates. The choice will greatly depend upon your dog, your car and you. So let’s take a look at some of the options.

Where Should Your Dog Ride In The Car?

You have a couple of options available to you for where your dog should be positioned in the car. The front passenger seat footwell, the front seat, the back seat or the boot/trunk although I don’t recommend this. It’s natural to want your dog to be as close to you as possible on a car journey, but this is not always the best choice for your dog as there are safety aspects to consider.

A dog riding on the front seat of the car is more likely to be injured in the event of a crash, and will most likely distract you whilst you are driving. While it is tempting to let your dog sleep unrestrained on the back seat of your car, this isn’t the safest way for him to travel either. Many dogs can be quite restless in cars. A large dog walking about and panting in your ear is still a distraction, even from the back seat. He is also likely to be injured, or end up injuring you if you have to brake suddenly or if you are involved in an accident.However, there are dog seat belts or harnesses that you could purchase to keep your dog controlled when on the back seat. There are of course pros and cons to these which we will look at in a moment. The other option for the back of your car is a car crate or a dog divider. A dog Seat Belt And Car Harnesses if your dog is able to stay calmly in the backseat, and isn’t prone to stress or over excitement in the car, than you might like to try a dog seat belt and car harness. If you decide to use a car harness than you will need to introduce this slowly, getting your dog used to being in the harness and not restricted, and rewarding him for his good behavior. The Kurgo adjustable Dog Car Harness is a popular choice for securing your dog in the car. The seat belt has a universal car clip which will fit into your car’s seat belt securely, and a dog harness clip on the other end. The belt can be lengthened to suit most sizes You will need to combine it with a good quality harness to ensure that your dog is kept safe if you have to stop suddenly. Whilst some dogs can be trained to sit still in a car harness, others can find this restriction stressful. Getting themselves worked up, or even tangled in them. The other downside of having your dog riding on the back seat is the mess. Many dogs feet are likely to get muddy and wet on regular occasions. They drool, and in many cases chew as well. Their claws can also do a real number on the fabric of your seats, and if you have leather seats, they can scratch and damage the surface easily, even with the most relaxed of dogs. You might therefore like to consider having a back seat barrier for your dog.

The Backseat Barrier

The backseat barrier separates the space between the front and back seat and simply slides over the front seat of the car Depending on the size of your car, the dog barrier may be the perfect solution for keeping your dog from jumping on the front seat. There are many pet barriers available, but still make sure your vehicle seat will accommodate the barrier before purchasing. The very popular Kurgo Backseat Barrier is designed for safely and to keep your dog on the back seat. It fits most 4 door vehicles( Does not fit 2 door cars) and is super fast to install, is very durable and of course comes with Kurgo‘s famous lifetime guarantee. The downside of a barrier although very durable is that whilst it separates your dog from the front, it does not restrain them in any way. Meaning it is still possible to accidentally damage the interior of your car, as your dog is free to wander around the back seat. This is why for many people, a properly designed dog travel crate is the best option.

Travel Crates

There are a number of options available, and the one you choose will depend largely upon the type of car that you drive and how big your dog is.if your car has a large open cargo area than you might like to buy a traditional wire dog crate to use in the back. They are good value, and if you have a crate at home than your dog will be able to have a familiar one to match it. Traditional dog crates come with one or two doors. If you are fitting your crate into a car, make sure that there is a door on the side the will be facing the front of your car. Double door car crates can be slightly more expensive, but you may find one easier to fit into the space available. However, many cars have sloping back windows, which do not allow a traditional style crate to fit within them. That’s where the sloping crates become very handy. Sloping crates are similarly styled to traditional dog crates, but have a sloping front panel and rear panel to fit into your car better. Giving more room for the crate and therefore for your dog as well. The Trixie Pet Metallic Crate is well constructed, secure and resistant to scratching. The melamine coating on the wood panels will not smudge, and so it will stay looking nice. The crate is framed in aluminum and has tight-fitting hard plastic joints. It comes in a variety of sizes, the larger of which will easily accommodate even the largest fully grown dog. It is also designed to be quiet in the car, so it won’t rattle and produce a lot of noise like some wire framed crates do. The downside of large, heavy fixed structure crates, is that they can be inconvenient to remove and store.

Soft Travel Crates

If you want to bring your dogs travel crate out of the car regularly, than you might find a soft travel crate more convenient. Soft travel crates are lightweight, foldable and comfortable for your dog. The Orvis Folding Nylon Travel Crate is easy to set up and take down. This means that as well as being convenient for irregular use in the car, you can if you like re-erect it and use it when you get to your destination. Perfect for holiday travel. The crate has top, side and front entry doors, and mesh window panels. The base is water resistant, so it can stand up to post-walk muddy paws.

if your Destination is the airport than you may want to consider using a plastic dog carry crate instead. There are of the variety often used for air travel, and if you travel by car and by plane with your dog they can be a great cost saving choice. The Petmate Sky Kennel is a heavy-duty plastic travel crate. Ideal for long distance journeys, with a secure construction including non-corrosive plastic wing nuts and extra strong steel wire. The door has secure latches, which are easy to operate from the outside. It also has plenty of ventilation points and a door which can be looked out from. It comes in a variety of sizes, and you should pick the one which is at least 3 inches taller than your dog, so that he can easily stand up, turn around and lie down without feeling cramped.

Should I Buy A Travel Crate, Seat Belt or Divider For My dog?

The travel car crate, car divider or dog seat belt that you choose for your dog should work for both your mode of transport and your dog. If you have a tiny cargo area in your car and a large dog, than gently introducing them to a seat belt and harness is probably the best option. However, for most vehicles the back is the best place for him. A good travel crate will keep your Dog safe, secure and happy whilst you take your journey.









  1. I personally prefer a travel crate with my doggo. He get’s nervous in the front seat sometimes and as you rightly pointed out, its more likely he’ll get injured if I brake suddenly.
    I let him rest in the back seat as that’s where he’s the most comfortable.

  2. I must admit that I allowed my dog to travel in the backseat unharnessed. When I was growing up, our German Sheppard enjoyed car rides with us and she stuck her head out the window. It probably wasn’t the safest. However, the dog I recently had didn’t feel comfortable too close to the window. He still loved car rides.

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