Dog Seat Belts
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  • Put the dog in the back seat, if you have one. Air bags can kill dogs as easily as children in the front seat, and the back side of the front seat is considerably softer than the dash.
  • NEVER attach the tether to a collar - use a harness of some sort, preferably one that doesn't rely on nylon buckles to carry the load.
  • Train the dog to want to put the harness on - this minimizes the stress on both the dog and the handler by reducing the amount of manhandling required to get him in it.  Start by clicker-training the dog to step into the harness on the ground.
  • Check the fit/adjustment of the harness on the dog frequently. If the harness loosens up, the dog may be able to slip out of it, especially in the forces of an accident.
  • If you can attach the tether high on the car seat, it's easier for the dog to turn around without getting hog-tied.  My dogs have learned to turn to the inside and getting their noses under the strap so they don't get tangled up.
  • I used to attach the dog tether to the stock seat belts by double-wrapping the carabiner around the seat belt strap. But I had some concerns about the "play" in the belt before the inertial reel kicks in. After I thought about it some more, I decided just this morning (6/25/12) to switch my attachment point from the seat belts to the steel posts of the rear headrests. Not only does this take the play out of the equation, but it's considerably easier to manage on the odd occasion when I actually transport humans in the back seat - now they can use the stock seat belts without fighting with the dog tethers.
  • I am going to create a brightly-colored laminated card that attaches to my dog's restraint that says the following - you might want to do something similar:
    "EMERGENCY INFORMATION: Hi - I'm Jasmine. If I am injured in an accident, please call Animal Control or law enforcement and have me transported to the nearest qualified emergency veterinary facility for all necessary treatment. My expenses will be guaranteed by my owner, Holly Newman, and you can call my vet [or my trainer or my friend or my mother or whomever I work this out with] at ###-###-#### for verification of this guarantee."
  • In the discussion following the accident I mentioned on the Intro page, I have also heard other great travel safety tips - like making a laminated card to clip on your keychain that says "My dogs are home alone" with a phone number of an emergency contact. That way if you are injured in an accident without all of your dogs, the ones at home will get the care they need in your absence.

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Last updated 06/26/2012

Holly Newman 2000-2016. All rights reserved.
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