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5 Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe in the Car



It’s important to keep your dog or puppy safe while traveling in the car. This year there is a huge rise in the number of road trips and in new pet ownership. If you are planning to take your new best friend on vacation or just around the block, it is important to do it safely.

Sitting your best friend on your lap or in the passenger seat is tempting, and it’s something we’ve all done. According to AAA, 84% of Americans have driven with their pet in the car, but only 16% use a restraint; and one in six put their dog on their lap.

We spoke with Nissan to learn more about the safe ways to transport your dog to the park, to the vet, on vacation or anywhere you are going. These dog car safety tips aren’t exclusive to Nissan vehicles, so you can use them in whatever you are driving right now, though we will share a few cool features on the 2021 Nissan Rogue, including a Nissan Concierge to help you find dog-friendly restaurants. The goal is to keep you and your dog safe.

“Often drivers may hit the road and just have their pet jump in the back seat for the ride. For a small investment and an extra minute or two, you can take steps to help ensure your pet is secured in the car,” said Brandon Sanders, product safety expert, Nissan North America. “An unrestrained pet can be a distraction and also poses a greater risk of injury to human occupants.”

Buckle up Your Pup

Buckle up your dog for safety.

It is important to secure your dog to the car using a seat belt with a chest style harness. Make sure you follow the directions on the chest harness and get one that is designed for vehicle use. This is an especially nice option for medium to large size dogs.

Tether Your Dog

Another option is to use a pet seat belt, which is a pet restraint tether. This is a quick option that is relatively affordable. You can secure your pet to the seat belt or to the child seat anchors. This helps keep your dog secure so that they don’t distract you and can help keep them safer if there is an accident.

Crates and Carriers Secured to Car

Crates and kennels are safer ways to travel.

Small portable carriers are useful, but many of these are not crash tested. You can get bigger carriers and crash-tested carriers. With smaller carriers, it is a good idea to use pillows to keep it in place and a seat belt. You can also place this on the floor behind a front seat. If you place this carrier on a seat, move the front seat back top limit the distance the carrier can move. Medium to large pets should be in a sturdier kennel that is secured in the cargo area of an SUV if possible.

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Use Boundaries for Safety

While the best option is to secure a kennel in the back, you may want to use a cargo area divider to keep dogs in the area you put them. You can use one to keep the dog in the cargo space, or one to keep them in a second or third row. Explore your options.

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Make Every Trip a Safe Trip

While they love the wind, this is not safe. Make very trip with your dog a safe trip.

It can be very tempting to just toss your pup in the car for a trip to the dog park or to hold him while driving to the vet, but short trips are just as dangerous as long trips. It is best to treat every trip as a safe trip with your dog. While it can be a challenge the first few trips, most dogs will adjust to the new riding style with time. This isn’t about your driving ability, but about the concern for other drivers.

Nissan offers some 2021 Nissan Rogue features that make it a nice option for pet travel. These include;

  • Near 90-degree rear-door openings that make loading and unloading bulky cargo, like a kennel, easier than ever.
  • An updated Divide-N-Hide rear storage system offers options to securely store pet leashes, bowls, grooming tools, food, and more.
  • Rear Door Alert (RDA) can provide drivers with an audio and visual reminder to check the back seat when exiting the vehicle. Interior car temperatures can rapidly increase to dangerous levels in certain climates.
  • Available Tri-Zone Climate Control gives pet owners the flexibility to set rear seat temperatures to a comfortable level for pets, separate from the front driver and passenger temperature control.
  • Available pull-up sunshades on both rear doors can be used to remove unwanted direct sunlight on pets secured in the rear seats.
  • Available Nissan Concierge gives drivers access to a human assistant to help with tasks like finding pet-friendly restaurants, dog parks and more.
  • A deep pocket behind the right wheel arch provides a smart storage solution for items like a gallon of water for rest stops.

You can see some of these features and the Nissan Rogue in the video above. We recently tested out the Nissan Concierge and loved it. If you are a busy person, it’s a really handy option.

Last update on 2024-06-10. This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure policy for more details. Images via Amazon API

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