Buckle Up, Fido

Categories: Dog Safety

By Jennifer Lueck

I got my first dog when I was eleven and almost lost him the same year. Louie was a great little dog who loved to go “byebye” in the car. On one memorable car ride, Louie and I were in the backseat and my mom was driving. I had the windows rolled down and she told me to shut them so Louie didn’t jump out. Being a rebellious pre-teen, I said, “okay,” but left them down. I turned my head for a second and when I looked back, Louie was gone! I yelled for my mom to stop the car because he had jumped out, but she didn’t believe me. When she finally looked in the rear view mirror and saw Louie in the street, she slammed on the brakes, did a u-turn and drove back to him. He was a little skinned up, but not really hurt. We were very lucky that he was not seriously injured. From that day on, I have been a proponent of restraining dogs in cars.
Dog restraints serve two main purposes:
  1. Protect your dog and yourself in the event of an accident
  2. Prevent accidents from happening by limiting distractions to the driver
  • In a 30-mpg accident, a 60-pound dog can cause an impact of 2,700 pounds. That’s the equivalent of an elephant slamming into the driver, windshield or another passenger.
  • A AAA survey found that distraction from dogs was a significant cause of motor-vehicle accidents.
  • Unbelted rear passengers increase the risk of death for belted front passengers by five times.
  • Dog restraints help rescue workers and EMT’s in the event of a crash. If the dog is restrained, he will not get in the way of rescue attempts and cannot run away.
  • The backseat is the safest place for a dog in cars with passenger side airbags (unless they are disabled).
  • Accidents happen close to home, so buckle up even on short trips. Progressive Insurance polled policyholders who experienced accidents in 2001 and found that 52% of accidents occurred within five miles of their homes and 69% of accidents occurred within ten miles of their homes.
  • Dogs should be restrained using harnesses; never restrain your dog in the car with only his collar.
  • Use harnesses that are crash tested or made from automotive grade components. A walking harness is not made to withstand the force of a crash.
  • Many harnesses have a strap on the back so they can be attached to your car’s seatbelts.
  • The Kwik-Connect Tether by Pet Buckle can be attached to a seatbelt, latch bar or cargo tie down points. This product is excellent for canine geniuses who free themselves by stepping on seatbelt releases.
  • If you use a crate, make sure the crate is securely attached to the car.

UPDATE: 3-26-15
Solvit Product has information on their website of a tested seat belt harness for your dog.   See this link for Solvit Products.


Putting seatbelts on dogs is a pain, but it’s much less painful than losing your dog in a crash. If you are not convinced to restrain your dog in the car yet, check out this video from Motor New Article crash test.  Motor News Article