OT: Travelling Dogs over 40 lbs

momfromthenorthDecember 15, 2013

Since this is one of the more active forums and many of us have coordinated kitchen decor (consciously or unconsciously) around our beloved pets...here is my questionL

If you take your largish (over 40 lbs) dog travelling with you in the car for a multi-hour drive, how do you secure him/her? In a kennel? Harness attached to seat belt? Other methods?

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northcarolina

We took our dogs to the beach in the back of our SUV with a dog gate between them and the back seat. We pulled a trailer behind for luggage and bikes. If we had a large enough vehicle, I would have preferred to have them in their crates, partly for their own protection but mostly so they'd be secured while we opened the back door and so we could store some luggage around them. (One of ours is a chewer.) As it was, their beds took up the whole back of the car and there wasn't quite enough room for their crates, which we took folded flat in the trailer.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 8:22PM
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jellytoast

My dog is far from "largish," but she has a special harness for car trips that is thicker than a regular harness and is padded with lambswool. It attaches to the seat belt. I would not want her thrown from the car should an accident happen! Though she prefers sitting in my lap, she got used to wearing the harness rather quickly.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 9:22PM
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pinch_me

My big dogs always traveled on the seat beside me BUT in recent years there have been yearly reports on TV of dogs lost when the vehicle they were riding in was involved in an accident. I knew my dog would "never leave me" if there was an accident.......but what if he would have? On top of the accident stress and/or damage you would also be looking for your pet. How could you do that from a hospital bed? And what if it took more days than you had vacation? What if you got killed? So now I vote kennel in the back. I would rather have my dogs unhappy for a few hours than lost or killed.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 9:38PM
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springroz

I tie mine with the leash to the hooked seat belt. Small and large, both. I cannot stand the loose dog distraction while driving!

Nancy

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 10:04PM
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sushipup1

Our dogs are in crates in the back of the van. Would you let a 40 pound child ride loose in the car?

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 10:40PM
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weissman

Just tie them to the roof of the car like Mitt Romney :-)

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 10:51PM
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iheartgiantschnauzer

Our 2 gentlemen travel in crates. When driving with the dogs, we definitely stop more frequently for stretching.

Crates are the safest transport method for both human and dog..

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 2:10AM
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annac54

Ours always ride in crates. It's safer for everyone if they are not loose to fly around in case of a sudden stop or accident. I gave them the choice once to see what they would do, and they went into the crates. I think they like the security of leaning against the crate sides in the turns.

If your dog is thrown out during an accident, most likely they will be so disoriented or in pain that they will run from anyone trying to help them. It's a good idea to have emergency information so people can help your dogs if you are unable to. The link below is an example. You can make your own or there are several places to buy them.

Our dogs are used to crates, and consider them a prime lounging spot. If left open in the house, our dogs push each other out of the way to be able to hang out in them

Here is a link that might be useful: Emergency crate card.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 2:58AM
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Fori is not pleased

Our vehicle doesn't have a spot for a crate large enough for the dog (unless we stuck it in the back of the pickup). The dog gets the floor of the back seat area, often with feet on him. Looks miserable but he seems to enjoy it. A 4-door truck has a lot of flat floor space available in the back when the rear passengers are in booster seats. He's low enough not to be a projectile unless the vehicle rolls. It's not ideal but it works okay.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 3:36PM
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pricklypearcactus

My 90-95 lb German Shepherd typically rides stretched across the back seats (in either an SUV or extended cab pickup). I have in the past used seatbelt harnesses to keep her safe, though I haven't done so recently because they don't work well if you cover the seats with a blanket like I do to protect them. I should probably revisit the practice to keep my dog safe. Thank you for bringing up this topic as I think it's something I should be thinking about. I never worry about her bolting out of the vehicle as it just isn't in her nature and we're very careful opening the door. In a large enough vehicle I have sometimes put her in her crate for the ride. But unfortunately our current vehicles aren't large enough to get her into the crate while it is in the vehicle and she's too heavy to safely lift while inside the crate and slide it into place. (Plus that would make regular pit stops / stretching breaks difficult due to the need to extract the whole crate in order to extract her.) She has ridden in the front seat when she was smaller, but now prefers to lay out. On short trips I often just put her in the very back of the SUV (with seats up) because she seems to like that spot best and it's easiest to get her in and out (with her hip dysplasia and advancing age).

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 3:40PM
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Juno_barks

I cannot get a crate into my car. My 50 lb lab poodle mix comes to work with me every day, and she lays down in the back seat. Now you all have me worrying.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 3:51PM
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sushipup1

A 50-pound dog is not as much in danger of being thrown out of the car as it is being seriously injured or becoming a flying 50 lb. mass to harm the people in the car.

Use a harness/seat belt arrangement is a crate doesn't fit your car, or get out of the habit of always taking the dog in the car with you.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 7:01PM
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suzanne_sl

We used to have a harness like this (this is from the PetCo website):

It was OK, but not real comfortable for sleeping; however, as our vehicle isn't large enough for a crate, this is a good option.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 7:14PM
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dekeoboe

In a crate. We always make sure that the vehicle we buy will hold a crate(s).

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 7:17PM
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Mags438

We have a Great Dane diva. When we only had cars and as a pup, she would wear a fleeced harness similar to pic above that attached to the back seat belt. In the SUV, the 2 back rows are laid down and she likes to stretch across the entire back and look out the front windshield between front seats. She still wears a fleeced harness with a bungee cord that is attached to a car d-ring. We took her with us and she went on every test drive. What I did not anticipate was she would not jump/hop up into the back as most dogs do. So we had to go back to dealer to have a tow thingy put on the back to accommodate a dog step.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 4:02AM
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momfromthenorth

Thanks everyone for your great ideas!

We're going to try the fleeced harness attached to a D-ring and see how that works. If that doesn't work we'll look for a crate that she can fit into.

AnnaC54 That is a great idea to have the "instructions" in with the dog for emergency responders. I always leave such a sheet for our house sitter but its a good item to have in the car with our 4-legged "spoiled child" also. It also makes me think that we need to do likewise here at home just in case something should happen to us humans. Kind of like a doggie will.

Mags - we have to put a throw rug down on the garage floor next to the door where our dog jumps into our SUV. She slipped once on the smooth concrete and wouldn't jump in after that, until I put the rug down. It gives her something to "grip" now when she jumps in. (I was going to say "hops in" but a 45 lb dog doesn't exacly "hop".)

And yes, she has her own color-coordinated rug in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 1:27PM
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lov_mkitchenIOWA zone 6b

FYI, not all pet kennels will survive an accident. Usually they break somewhere that allows the door to fall out OR the kennel itself shatters, bends or pops open. Every time I see the local news with an alert that a dog(s) is running on the interstate or lost somewhere after an accident I check to see if it is anywhere near me. It happens all the time. And the dogs are so traumatized they will not come to anyone, sometimes not even people they know. If this happens in winter, it's a foregone conclusion they won't survive.

One other thought: back in the day, I did wonder if my GSD would let the paramedics help me. Just a thought.

I also would not tether any animal by the collar. What happens when the vehicle comes to a sudden stop? No different than an old fashioned hanging.

I have been extremely lucky in the 30 years my dogs have traveled with me. Hindsight being what it is, I don't take my dog with me any more.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 1:40PM
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uther

My, there are a lot of GSD owners here! I have one too, he's about 85 lbs and stays in the back behind a pet gate. He is safer back there, and although I miss his company up front, it's safer for me not to have his big black "beak" in my face while I'm driving!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 3:43PM
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nessas

Typical pet crates are not designed to withstand a car accident. I've seen a video of crash testing with a dummy dog in a plastic travel crate, and the crate shattered as the dog came flying thorough the door of the crate. Scary. There are some heavy-duty metal crates designed for the back of SUVs that are likely safer, although they're very expensive.

I use car safety harnesses for my two dogs; regular walking harnesses are not strong enough even for a 30 mph crash. The Center for Pet Safety crash tested a variety of canine car harnesses, using test dummy dogs, and you can see the results of their 2013 study on their website. Many brands of car safety harnesses failed their testing at 30 mph, but some worked well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Center for Pet Safety 2013 car harness study

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 1:03AM
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