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How to Harness a Dog in the Car

How to Harness a Dog in the Car

It’s fun to bring your dog for a ride. Most people love to take their dogs with them during long or short trips. However, dogs can be nagging at times,

and you need to observe safety before hitting the road. For that reason, you’ll learn how to harness a dog in the car.

During unofficial travels, just like I do, it’s good to take a ride with your family and have your dog for the kids to have fun with it.

On some occasions, you may even choose to take with your dog while visiting a friend, heading for lunch, or going to a park. But when alone, it’s even riskier because dogs tend to;

  • Escape through the windows
  • Bark
  • Jump around the vehicle
  • Block the mirrors and other distractions

What is a Dog Harness?

white and brown jack russell terrier puppy on green grass field during daytime

It’s a safety item usually made of fabric and sponge material to secure a dog sitting or upright at the car’s back seat.

Dog harness work with the existing car’s seat belts for better protection. They are designed with extra straps and mechanisms to lock them around the seat belts.

A well-designed quality harness should withstand potential forces like dog jumping or the force in the event of an accident.

A dog harness fits the dog’s head and secures it by the neck. Another strap moves through its chest and is then attached to its back.

Although a dog harness may not give the dog movement freedom, it can save it from impact if an accident occurs.

Other Dangers on an Unrestrained Dog

  • Airbag’s deployments can harm the dog if it jumps around the vehicle during accidents.
  • If the dog pops its head through the window, debris and wind may irritate its eyes.
  • Excited dogs can jump through the window and die of road surface impacts.
  • Dogs are lighter, and they can be launched severely into the windshield in case of an accident.

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black short coated dog with blue collar

How to Harness a Dog in the Car Back Seat

You should first shop for a quality dog harness that will offer comfort and secure your dog. With that said, the best dog car harness I recommend is Kurgo Journey Multi-Use Dog Harness. It’s well tested and proven safe by many dog owners.

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Step 1: Fit the Harness on the Dog

Adjust your harness to fit your dog’s body size. Most harnesses have adjustment points depending on the dog’s size.

Once the harness fits on the neck, pass it through the chest and secure the straps on the back. The straps have a back clip to secure. Ensure the harness is free for comfort.

Step 2: Fix Your Carabiner Clips on the Back Seat’s Belt

Attach the carabiner to both the chest and the waist seat belts. For some harnesses, you may have a strap to tie around. Secure them in a comfortable way for your dog.

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golden retriever puppy sitting on the road during daytime

Step 3: Set Your Dog on the Seat and Secure it

Place your dog in the back seat and check if it’s comfortable. Afterward, secure the harness’s back straps on the carabiner clips attached to the seat belts.

If you don’t have the clips, you can slide the dog seat belt through the harness back strap but first loosen it for comfort. Then, adjust the seat belt and secure it.

Drive along the homestead to test if your dog is comfortable before starting the journey.

Usually, the dog may jump around and make some noise if it’s not used to harness. However, if this behavior persists, find ways to make it more comfortable.

Safety Tips For Travelling With a Dog in the Car

  • Schedule Regular Stops

Dogs need to stretch their legs and take a walk regularly. Schedule stops in safe places for the walk. Secondly, they may need to relieve themselves. A trained dog will never poop in the car, but you may notice it’s becoming uncomfortable.

  • Test Your Dog With Shorter Trips

If your dog is not used to traveling, it’s good to test it with shorter trips. Dogs experience motion sickness too. If you notice it isn’t tolerable to trips, you better leave it at home or find other ways to make it more comfortable.

  • Avoid Feeding Your Dog in the Journey

It may not be reasonable to feed the dog in the car since cars aren’t comfortable for dogs. Consider feeding your dog three hours before starting the journey.

If you’re taking a long trip, schedule a one-stop that you’ll feed the dog and take some hours before resuming your journey.

  • Have the Air Conditioner On

Turn on the air conditioner to keep the dog cool. Dog bodies tend to get warmer than humans, which can lead to discomforts, especially on closed windows.

  • Avoid Loud Music in the Car

Soft music can calm the dog. But loud music can cause discomfort. Just keep your music at a reasonable volume.

  • Only Harness the Dog at the Back Seat

Don’t be tempted to secure your dog in the front passenger seat. It may disrupt the driver by taking his attention through barking or jumping around.

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FAQs on Restraining a Dog in a Car

What is the Safest Way to Restrain a Dog in a Car?

The safest way to ride with a dog is by restraining it in a crate, harness, or dog seat belt. No matter how effective the method is, the dog shouldn’t be restrained on the front seat. On the other hand, secure the dog in the cargo area if the car has passengers in the back seat.

How Can I Calm My Dog Down in the Car?

Keep the temperature inside cool by turning on the air conditioner or opening the windows. Secondly, limit the dog’s food and water before the trip. And third, consult the veterinary doctor for the best ways to treat motion sickness and anxiety in your dog.

Can a Dog Sit on a Passenger’s Lap?

Although it may be enjoyable to have your dog play with you on your lap, it’s against the traffic law. Dogs should be restrained while traveling to avoid disruptions and accidents. Follow tips on how to harness a dog in the car if you intend to travel with your pooch. 

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