Why We Always Buckle Up Our Dogs

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I recently received an email from one of our community members asking if I thought she needed to secure her dog for short drives around town. She enjoyed taking her dog to run errands including going to the bank drive-in and post office and wondered if we secured our dogs for those kind of trips.

In a word: YES.

We all know that most accidents take place close to home. That drive around the block can easily turn into a fender bender…or worse.

And we all know that it makes sense for humans to wear seat belts. According to the CDC, well over a quarter million lives have been saved by seatbelts since 1975. Responsible parents would never think of allowing children to ride in the car unrestrained, even for short drives.

Pet parents have to assume that same level of responsibility and secure their dogs for every trip. Seatbelts save lives.

Securing your dog in the car has the potential to save numerous lives. Consider this:

  • a secured dog won’t distract you while you drive.
  • a secured dog won’t fly through the car if you suddenly brake. An unsecured dog becomes a projectile on a sudden stop, putting his life AND all the lives of all the occupants of the car at risk.
  • a secured dog won’t escape from the car if you should get in an accident and the doors open accidentally or be opened by emergency personnel.
  • a secured dog won’t prevent emergency personnel from entering the car.
  • a secured dog won’t jump from the car on arrival before you can safely leash your dog.

Our dogs always wear the Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness with Plastic Quick Release Buckles. It’s not expensive, starting at just $23 right now and, even in large sizes for our dogs, very reasonably priced at $28. We bought ours over three years ago; they’ve gone on every trip, gotten wet at the lake, gotten sandy at the beach, and still they’re as good as new.


Just as children are buckled in the car, we all need to get in the habit of securing our dogs every time we get in the car. Like wearing our own seatbelts, securing your dog in the car is just a matter of habit. Whether you opt for a seatbelt harness, a crate, or a booster seat for your dog, please take a moment to look at the different options for keeping your dog safe in the car.

An accident only takes an instant to happen–and it only takes an instant to make sure your dog is safe in the event of a collision.

Kurgo is a sponsor of DogTipper.com.

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About Paris Permenter

Paris Permenter is the founder and co-publisher of LT Media Group LLC. Along with her husband, John Bigley, she edits DogTipper.com, CatTipper.com, and has authored over 30 books on pets and travel.

  • Sandra

    Unfortunately, there’s lots of evidence showing that these “inexpensive” car restraints for dogs aren’t actually providing them any benefits and may lead to “catastrophic results.” According to a study conducted by the Center for Pet Safety and Subaru, the particular harness you’re using (the Kurgo Tru-Fit) was actually one of the brands tested that proved to be sub-optimal in providing actual life-saving benefits to the pup wearing the device. (source: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2013/10/pet-restraints-may-be-inadequate-in-a-crash/index.htm).

    In fact, the study showed the ONLY product tested that actually provided pets any benefit is the Clickit Dog Harness by Sleepypod, retail value of $89.99. (source: http://www.wired.com/autopia/2013/10/dog-harness-safety/) <– that includes a link to the study itself, which is found here: http://centerforpetsafety.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/2013_cps_harness_study_summary_final.pdf) Pricing for the product found here: http://sleepypod.com/shop/dog-harness/clickit-dog-harness.html)

    My point? Yes, it's important to protect our pets and yes restraining them in the car is a part of that. However, it's important for us to do our homework and find actual studies for these supposed crash tests. The sad truth is most of the claims put on the packaging of these products are unregulated and unproven. Heck, there aren't even currently a set of safety standards of performance for dog harnesses like there are for airbags, seat belts, and child restraints. Hopefully the study I just spoke of will start to change that and help us keep our pets happier and safer. :)

  • http://www.essentiallydogs.com Essentially Dogs

    Hi there-
    Sandra, you are absolutely correct. I wrote about this subject in my blog: http://www.essentiallydogs.com/car-safety-devices-for-dogs-are-important. I also included the doggie crash dummy video. I thought that all devices were equal, but I was surprised at what I found out with a little bit of research.