Do You Make These 5 Dog Car Safety Mistakes?

Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic
Before you put pedal to the metal, ensure you’re not making these dog car safety mistakes.

Woo hoo! It’s time for a road trip! To a dog, every time she takes a trip in the car, it’s an adventure. Even though it’s super fun for your pooch, there are precautions to take when you pull out of the driveway. Let’s go over a few mistakes you may be making when it comes to dog car safety. Take notes – there will be a quiz later!

  1. You let your dog roam the car freely. You never buckle up your pup. He goes from the back seat, to your lap, over to the passenger seat to look at what’s going on outside. Not only is this a huge distraction, but what happens when you have to hit the brakes unexpectedly? Your dog can be hurt or can hurt someone else in the car. According to, a 60-lb dog traveling at 35 mph can turn into a 2,700 pound projectile during an accident. There are lots of products on the market that can help keep your dog safe, such as a pet barrier, a secured cage, harnesses and restraints, seatbelt attachments and booster seats.
  2. You leave your dog in the car while you run errands. No matter what the season, it’s never a good idea to leave a dog unattended in a vehicle. It leaves her vulnerable to thieves and there’s a chance she becomes anxious and starts tearing apart your sweet ride. Or, she escapes on her own and wanders off (remember the IKEA monkey?) And, of course, there’s heat stroke. You hear about tragic cases of dogs that have died as a result of being left in a car during a hot summer day. Even if you open the window a bit, that’s still not enough to keep your car cool. In a matter of minutes, the temperature in a car can rise 20 degrees. So the next time you run to the store, leave your dog at home.
  3. You don’t leave home prepared. Just like kids, dogs need to be entertained on long car rides. You won’t get the annoying chorus of “Are we there yet?”, but your dog may bark, whine or engage in destructive activity, distracting you from driving safe. Have a dog kit prepared that includes all of the essentials. Be sure to bring food, water, treats, a blanket or pillow and toys to amuse her for the duration of the trip. Trust us… it’ll save your sanity.
  4. You let your dog stick her head out the window. Ah, this is one of the favorite past times of dogs everywhere. But it’s an easy way for your dog to get eye damage from flying dust and dirt. If she must stick her head out the window, outfit her with a pair of Doggles (goggles for dogs) before picking up speed.
  5. You smoke in the car. We’re not going to go on about the dangers of smoking in this article (after all, this is a site geared towards pets). But second-hand smoke is just as toxic to dogs as it is to humans, and it makes them nauseous. When you smoke in the car, all that nastiness is trapped and you’re dog doesn’t know how to operate the power windows. Save the smoke until you can do it in a well-ventilated area.

Are you guilty of making any of these dog car safety mistakes? Did we leave any out? Leave us you dog car safety tips or stories in the comment section below.

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

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