Dogs need seat belts, too!
There are no official statistics on the number of pets injured in car accidents, but it happens often, and restraints will help keep you and your pet safe.
Pups belong in the back seat, so they're safe from the powerful thrust of the air bags, and are less of a distraction to you (I know how hard it is to resist leaning over and kissing them as you careen down the freeway).
For large pets, try a harness-type seat belt that attaches to the human seat belt. For small pets, try carriers, or beds with attached seat belt/harness systems. For the latter, they'll not only be very safe, but will be riding in the utmost of comfort and style.
Once you've chosen the right seat belt for your rascal, follow these steps to help acclimate him to the new equipment.
How to get your pup into a restraint:
~Be pawsitive! Use treats and praise. We want them to associate the seat belts with something wonderful. As you’re strapping them into the seat belt, feed them treats with your free hand and tell them how good, and brave they are being.
~Before buckling them into the car, desensitize them to the seat belt in the comfort of your home. It can feel funny having that odd strap around their chest, so start small, with short intervals of time wearing the seat belt (as little as a few seconds). As they become acclimated, build up the time. Then, when they are ready, move to the car.
~Start young. Pets are less likely to object if they're restrained from the get-go (see Cooper here already using his seat belt).
~Take short trips to get them used to it. Don't start with a long trip across the country. First, start with quick jaunts to the park, or a buddy's house, then as they start to enjoy their trips, increase the distance.
Have fun. Pets will learn to dislike restraints if every trip ends at the vet, so take them to shops, friends' homes, any place that is magnificent for them!
Buckle up and be safe!