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How Does Your Dog Ride?
Canine car safety highlighted at the Chicago Auto Show.

I'm sure my 11-year-old Catahoula, Desoto, longs for the days when he could stick his head out the car window and feel the breeze on his face. But after hearing about traffic accidents in which the dog was seriously injured because he was not restrained, I feel better knowing that he is safe when traveling. For years now, my minivan has boasted doggie seatbelts for the middle bench seat and two large wire crates in the back. If necessary, I can crate two dogs in the back and harness the other three on the bench seat.

This past weekend, the Chicago Auto Show featured Kane County police dogs to emphasize canine safety in cars. Pet-focused consumer group Bark Buckle Up shared interesting stats and educational info. For example, an unsecured dog in the car could be thrown and be seriously hurt or cause injury to other occupants of the car. Also, a traumatized, protective dog could impede police or firemen from quickly responding to the human victims.

If you travel with your dog, how does he ride?


Julia Kamysz Lane, owner of Spot On K9 Sports and contributing editor at The Bark, is the author of multiple New Orleans travel guides, including Frommer’s New Orleans Day by Day (3rd Edition). Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Poets and Writers and Publishers Weekly.

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Submitted by Anonymous | February 24 2009 |

I keep the seats down in my Bettle and use it as a hatchback, so our little 10lb Terrier mix sits in the passenger seat, as every good co-pilot should. I looked at several in-market solutions and they were all too restrictive since he likes to flip belly-up if he's really enjoying the ride. He has his own doggy seat belt that's clipped into the seat belt holder (the head rotates) and then to his harness. He sits on one of those rubber-backed slip-free (for sudden stops) chair cushion to raise him up a bit, and I have the seat as far back as I can to keep him clear of the airbag should it ever deploy. When I'm in the passenger seat, I clip his seatbelt to mine with a caribeener, and he enjoys a ride on my lap that usually comes with a complimentary ear/head scratch.

Submitted by Terry Angel | July 27 2009 |

I drive a semi with my 85 pound German Shepard he does what every good shotgun dog does watches traffic with me.I would be a lot more tired without him with me,he has learned what i look out for,and helps if he sees it first.He gets excited when he knows we are going to one of my deliveries where he gets extra attention from the recievers He's spoiled so in ansering the question he is free to roam inside the truck from the front seat to his bed in back at his leasure

Submitted by Sunny's Mom | February 25 2009 |

When I'm being a good dog owner, I use one of those big plastic shipping crates. If you hang around a kennel club enough, sooner or later you'll collect a few stories that go something like, "The handler was killed, the car was totalled, but the dog in the shipping crate was fine." I want to know why they can't make the cars out of that stuff in the first place.

Sometimes I'm not such a good dog owner, and my kid rides on the folded-flat back seats watching where we've been. He's developed an excellent sense of balance and has spent enough time looking forward to know what brake lights mean. It isn't safe, but it sure has developed his intelligence!

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