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Doggie seat belts???

June 8th, 2009, 11:46 AM
We are having a conversation about dogs being buckled in the car.. Personally I don't use one.. I have a SUV and a divider that allows them to be in the back, or sometimes I use a kennel. But My little dog, about 8lbs, I usually allow loose with us when I am running around as I take him almost everywhere I go.

I am just wondering what other people do, as I trust your opinions more than those I am conversing with on this topic. Am I a bad dog owner because I allow him loose in the car? I know that if we were in an accident he could be hurt, but I suppose it would have to be a pretty bad accident and I only have him loose when I am driving in town, and it is a small town, no highways or fast roads or whatever, all just quiet streets..

So what do other people do? I don't mean like a trip to the vet, I am wondering about others that take their dog everywhere, like taking my kids to and from school ect.. Many short trips every single day...

Also I know they study and research child seats, and seat belts I don't know how much doggie seatbelts have been studied, I assume they would have to be almost custom made for the dog to make sure that they don't put pressure on any soft areas of the body, with the force of a crash if it was not on something similar to our hips, it would probably cause more damage, I assume these were only invented to restrain a dog in a car, and not for the purpose of saving their lives.. I am very curious about this, please help, and tell me if I am a bad dog owner and I should get one and start using it. That would mean less trips as when I have my kids in the car there are no more seats, unless I buckle him in the front, and then I would be a bad owner for putting him in front of an airbag.. according to these people...

June 8th, 2009, 12:00 PM
my brother is an air rescue/trauma paramedic, this is his thoughts on pets loose in a car or truck.

"he has seen a 5 pound dog become a deadly weapon, like an airborne missle during a head on collision, a maltese killed the passenger in a car when it was struck head on by a pick up truck, the dog was thrown like a missle forward and struck the lady in the back of the neck killing her instantly"

he feels the same about (in his opinion the worse thing ever) is an unopened can of soft drink, on impact its shot forward at the speed of what the car was traveling at the time it was hit.

I have brina on a leash/seatbelt, partway down the leash is a seatbelt clip that snaps into the cars harness, she can still look out the window or lay down, no worries about her jumping out or getting loose accidently if we stop for something.

June 8th, 2009, 12:11 PM
Melinda, where did you buy the leash with the seatbelt clip? And do you know if it fits all makes of seatbelts?

June 8th, 2009, 12:25 PM
We seatbelt the dogs when they have to go somewhere.

Ethel has a partition in the back of her Jimmy, but unless the dogs are attached somehow and she gets rearended and the hatch flies open......poof dog runs out.

Also when I lived in Spain, we were involved in an accident and the first instinct is to open the car door and get out to have a dog jumped out and ran off, my b/f at the time had to go to the hospital with head injuries and we had no time to look for her :sad:.....Later in the day we went back to look for her and because she was so darn smart, she was sitting there waiting for me in the exact same spot :D....I don't consider that the norm though.

June 8th, 2009, 12:27 PM
Melinda, where did you buy the leash with the seatbelt clip? And do you know if it fits all makes of seatbelts?

We have harnesses that have a loop for the seatbelt to go through...I think we got them in Petsmart, for a larger dog, they were about $30-$35.

June 8th, 2009, 12:31 PM
I'm with Melinda on this one...both my dogs have harnesses that attach to the seatbelt. They can lie down or sit. They have worn them from Montreal-Toronto on many occasions without any discomfort.

If you are in a crash you do not need "doggy weight" coming at you from the back of the car while your are trying to steer.

As a flight attendant I can tell you that with turbulence things just fly all over the place. The same in a car in a collision. Anything that is not tied down becomes a projectile.

To drive home the point, we went to the funeral of a very very good friend, 200+lbs, who flew through the windshield in a crash because he was not wearing a seatbelt. An 8lb dog would become a bullet.

They make them very comfortable and both my dogs know that when the harnesses come out they are going for a car ride. Have never had a problem getting them on.

June 8th, 2009, 12:50 PM
We have harnesses that have a loop for the seatbelt to go through...I think we got them in Petsmart, for a larger dog, they were about $30-$35.

Thanks for the info!

June 8th, 2009, 01:45 PM
I bought mine here at pet value in cornwall, but I've also seen them at walmart (different company)

June 8th, 2009, 06:34 PM
This is a subject near and dear to me lately as I was in a bad accident (without dogs) in April. My dogs are in our vehicles almost every day and I have used seatbelts for the dogs for quite a long time. In my last truck things got a bit more relaxed as the back seats folded up and they actually were on a foam on the floor so were much more solid then they are in the new truck where they sit on the back seat. Now the dogs wear their seatbelts every time! plus I have filled in the leg room area with solid foam to extend the seat and make more comfort/room.

Beware of cheap flimsy seatbelts that utilize plastic buckles in load bearing areas. They will likely break! This might not be as much of a factor with a small dog but I have one 65lb lab and one 105lb lab.

The seatbelt I had for Riley he outgrew (for hopefully the last time now :frustrated:). Some companies do the auto safety testing. I found this website quite informative for information to consider when choosing as well as some reviews of products. I tried the Pet Buckle but Riley hated it! Unfortunately he hates harnesses, coats etc and this one had very heavy (seatbelt style) buckles that caused the harness to move around on him very uncomfortably plus it criss-crossed across the chest and under the legs which was not comfy either. Riley had to be forced to move even after a week so I returned that one.

The next seatbelt I bought was from Columbia which is a vest style and surprising Riley found this not to bad and didn't seem to mind wearing it. Unfortunately I forgot to unhook him once and when he went to jump out of the car the triangle piece holding the chest straps to the back strap broke open :frustrated:. Not a good indication that this would be very safe in a crash IMO. I actually used a carabiner temporarily in place which is strong and enabled me to use it until I found another one. I actually really liked the harness so I think I will take it in and have it sewn and then use it for his tracking harness.

I tried to order one from Champion which are very highly rated but cancelled the order after a month without them shipping :shrug:. Apparently this is a very common problem with this company and the service is non-existant.

So, the final one we are using now is which so far I quite like :thumbs up. It is similar to the Columbia one and seems quite comfy for Riley. It uses metal rings in the load bearing areas so seems very strong and safe :thumbs up.

I have found this to be a great option to connect the dog into the seatbelt. It clips into the seatbelt holder instead of running the car part of the seatbelt through the harness which always seems to get the dog tangled in my experience. We use these in hubby's car and in my truck I have short connectors that come over the back seat and are anchored to tiedown areas behind the seat. That keeps the leash part up a bit higher and allows them to move a bit more while still preventing forward motion.

My next one to try was going to be this one which I did like but Riley would have to lift his leg up and over to put it on/off which he hates so I didn't want to use it.

This one is also highly rated but supposedly is very difficult to put on

June 8th, 2009, 06:56 PM
see with ones like this, this is my concern.., that if that dog is exerting 1200 lbs like it says, it is pretty near the neck, and that would do a lot of damage too, no? It would protect the people from getting hit by the dog yes.. But most that I have seen are very close to the neck if not actually on the neck.

My dogs are always in the back, in the cargo seperate part, and my little dog is trained to lay on the floor of the back seat, he is not on my lap hanging out the window or anything, he actually fits nicely. When we are travelling far, or going on a highway or somewhere we will be going faster than 40 kmh, the go in the kennel in the back, that is clipped to the car seat anchor bolts, that I find safer. But I do take my dog everyday, many times a day, and if a seat belt has to be used he cannot come, I have 3 kids and they take up all 3 of the back seats, do you see my conumdrum? I am a BAD doggie mom if I don't use a buckle, ( that I question the saftey of) so I can now leave him at home all the time? That would be very cruel in his mind as I almost never leave him behind, He has never been alone, If I have to leave him I leave him with my DH, or sometimes I have taken him to my moms.. he is a baby poor guy he just has to come! But I don't want to be the worst owner of the year!

Isthere ANYONE who takes their dog everyday and does NOT use one?

THe research though, Unless they have doggie crash test dummies that are super advanced to see if the dog would survive like they do with people, I still question. I have a friend that was in a bad accident and was wearing her seatbelt, but because she was small, the seatbelt actually did more damage than she would have without it. She now has titanium in her back, and couldn't move for 18 months. The same as kids I guess, if they wear a seatbelt that doesn't sit right, not in a booster, the seatbelt can actually kill them.

We also live in a pretty small place, the fastest you go on major roads is 50 kmh, we only have 4 of those in this city, usually we are going 30-40.

There was an accident this morning in front of my house! a 3/4 ton truck ran a stop sign and hit a mini van and pushed it right into a telephone pole. I heard the noise and looked out and called police. They were all fine thankfully, the truck hit right at the passenger door, and there was someone sitting there, and a kid in the back. That is the good thing about where I live I guess.. that is about the worst accident you will see on the roads I drive, and they were fine, but that is part of what now has me concerned..

That and the people telling me I am terrible. The conversation was about kids not in car seats, and someone said almost as bad as loose dogs in the car, then they jumped down my throat, one person actually said, " well then again I guess to you it is 'just' a dog right? I was so mad, If they knew me I don't think they would be saying that!!! If I thought that I don't think my dog would be with me in the car, he would be at home tied up outside in -50 right? I don't want to be a bad momma, so maybe this is something I have to figure out, or leave him behind :(

June 8th, 2009, 06:58 PM like this one!! See if that was not a lab, and another breed that you would buy the same size for, like say a poodle, and were in a crash that would kill the dog!

June 8th, 2009, 08:17 PM like this one!! See if that was not a lab, and another breed that you would buy the same size for, like say a poodle, and were in a crash that would kill the dog!

Actually if you look at their website the harness does not go around the neck. The impact point is the criss crossed harness across the chest. Riley wouldn't wear this so for me it was useless. Also on that same site you should watch the video

If your dog is that small then why not use a seatbelt on the front seat for him? He shouldn't be heavy enough for the airbags.

June 8th, 2009, 08:25 PM
see with ones like this, this is my concern.., that if that dog is exerting 1200 lbs like it says, it is pretty near the neck, and that would do a lot of damage too, no? It would protect the people from getting hit by the dog yes.. But most that I have seen are very close to the neck if not actually on the neck.

Isthere ANYONE who takes their dog everyday and does NOT use one?


That is why I wouldn't recommend using just a plain walking harness as a seatbelt. They tend to sit higher around the neck. Most of the seatbelts have a padded chest strap (or vest design) that will be absorbing most of the impact. The ones I have had sit more across the chest and shoulder area much like a human seatbelt.

Lots of people take their dog everyday :shrug:. It doesn't make you a bad mom but the risks are high. I was only going about 60km when I had my accident and it was enough to deploy the airbags and caused enough damage to write off two vehicles. Even if the dog design isn't perfect I would rather deal with some injuries to the dog then to have him go through my front windshield or injure someone else in the car. It also helps if the doors come open or if I am injured it enables paramedics to get to me if he is freaked out.

June 9th, 2009, 07:17 AM
Very good points...

I have a Ford Explorer, and when I travel through town I put my Golden and my Shih Tzu in the back end. There is a barrier so they cannot come up towards the front of the vehicle. I have two children in the back seat, and so putting the dogs in belts just would not work for us.

I'm wondering how bad this is? I don't really have other options.

June 9th, 2009, 11:20 AM
I have seat belt harness issues with my dog. I don't know if the harness just doesn't fit right, my dog's body shape isn't conducive to using this type of restraint or what. I have an Easy Rider harness that I bought 7 years ago for my rescue Scottie. It never worked for her. She would manage to twist backwards in it and climb from the back seat to the front seat and perch on my shoulder at the driver's side window. I never even got out of our driveway with this on her. I was driving a smaller car at that time, and the seat belts didn't lock using this and she could crawl into the front seats.

Fast forward to Cassie. I've tried the harness on her with minimum success. Cassie can also turn around in the harness, but doesn't try to often. My problem is that she will stand up to look out of the back window, then get the car's seat belt twisted. Obviously, I can't use this if she is getting tangled. It isn't always safe to pull off the road when she gets twisted. We've tried very short trips, but I just don't feel she is safe in this. I've always used the travel crates before, feeling the dogs are safer in them, but I'd like the seat belt option with Cassie. She will sleep in the crate in the house, but when we try to put her in it to drive, she will hypersalivate to the point I thought she had urinated in the crate. Can anyone advise? She is a Scottie, and I have had issues with regular harnesses as well. Her body and chest are stocky, her neck is thin, and her little short legs can work out of the harnesses. It is hard to find a harness that I can adjust for both chest/neck and underarms. The seat belt harness and her walking harness have the strap from the center breast bone to stomach. I tried an easy walk no-pull harness, but could not get this to work; she pulled her legs through when she saw a cat! Should I look at one of the vest-style harnesses? Would this make her overheat--her hair is very long on the chest? My goal is to keep her safe in the car and control the drooling. She has never vomited, so I don't think it is motion sickness nausea causing the drooling.

June 9th, 2009, 04:53 PM
I have been looking at seat belts for my dogs so this is a very interesting thread. At one time I had found a system that actually required pieces to be installed in the back of the SUV that the restraints connected to, but now that I own my SUV and can put something like that in it, I can't find them. The ones that hook into the normal seat belts will not work for me because when the seats are folded flat, you can't get to the connector.

None of my family has ever used doggie seat belts at all - and the only time that it could've been bad was when my son passed out behind the wheel of his car (medical issue, not intoxicated). He went over an embankment and through a fence. He had his newf with him, and poor Parker got slammed forward on impact. It didn't hurt my son or Parker, but from that day forward Parker would not get into that car. If my son tried to force him, he would run away. He was fine with other vehicles, just not that one.

June 9th, 2009, 09:08 PM
I used one all the time when I had a smaller dog. He's more secure, he's safer, I'm safer, all the reasons mentioned above. It was a nice padded harness that the seatbelt fit through.
I need to get one for scruffy, too. Will head to Petsmart this w/e.

June 9th, 2009, 09:58 PM
I want to add my concerns to seatbelting a dog in a vehicle, or even the back of a truck.

I had the ocassion of listening to a lady that had been in an accident, and her little poodle ran off. That dog was never found. We think it had been hurt, and ran off scared to die, or was food for some other wild animal.

My Dog is in a harness,with a leash, which is then clipped to a belt and into the seat belt clip. This does give her movement, she can lay down, sit up, but if I open the door, she cannot get out until I unclip her. I was in an auto accident a few years ago, in which if she hadn't had her seat belt clipped onto the harness, she would have ended up on or in the dash. I don't have to worry about her being thrown around in the vehicle if I have an accident, and the emergency response people don't have the time to try and chase the animal if it gets loose. A police officer told me, I was smart to have her seat belted, when he asked me about using seatbelts, and I said that the 2 adults had theirs on, but the dog did also.

I have also heard of reports that dogs have got excited while being in the back of a truck and tried to jump out when they saw another dog, and of course the vehicle behind them hit the dog. I get very upset, and start telling truck drivers off, when I see the dogs not tethered.

As I drive a van with 3 sets of seats, my dog is in the middle one, I can see her at a glance, and she can see me. Because of the tinted windows, she is out of the sun while travelling, but when it gets hot, she stays home.

This belt I got, was from a pet store, at that time was about $15.00, and had two attachments to fit the seat belt clip, you just pick the one that fits. The belt I have is about 18 inches long. My girl is worth that and more.


June 10th, 2009, 12:57 AM
Very good points...

I have a Ford Explorer, and when I travel through town I put my Golden and my Shih Tzu in the back end. There is a barrier so they cannot come up towards the front of the vehicle. I have two children in the back seat, and so putting the dogs in belts just would not work for us.

I'm wondering how bad this is? I don't really have other options.

same situation as me! but I have 3 kids in seats, and often 2 adults in the front, my dogs usually are behind the barrier also, but sometimes my little dog lies down on the floor in the back under feet, I think he should be ok there.

June 10th, 2009, 03:18 AM
I have a friend who was in an accident with her little dog loose in the car. She wasn't going fast,,but the door flew open after the accident and the dog jumped out into traffic. Luckily he wasn't hurt, but he did run away and it took her quite a while and being scared to death that he would get killed before she found him.

I think I saw dog seat belts being sold in the Sears catalogue.


March 6th, 2012, 01:01 AM
Does anyone have any one else have any suggestions for a dog seat belt? I'm looking for 1 for my lab/goldenretriever cross. I read about RuffRider and they seem good, safety tested ect.

Does anyone here use one of these & are you happy with it or have any suggestions for a good safety approved seat belt for a large dog? I asked at our local Specialty pet store and she looked at me like I was nuts for wanting one.

March 6th, 2012, 11:25 AM
I have something similar to this one:

The harness goes with the dog and there is a short (~4 in) belt that clips to the harness with a carabiner but stays permanently attached to the seat belt with a locking clip - super easy to install and keeps my pup in the back seat. He can stand, sit or lay down comfortably
PetSmart sells a couple of models.

March 6th, 2012, 11:38 AM
my dog wears a harness and the leash I have has a seat belt attachement righ in it and it tucks away as part of the leash when out walking.

March 6th, 2012, 12:00 PM
To be absolute safe and to keep our furries safe, it is always best to secure the kennels as well.

I always had my dog seatbelted, when travelling, and it did save her from being thrown into the dashboard, when I got into an accident.

Also, the kennels can become projectiles. I use the regular seatbelt, and place it around and sometimes through the handle of the kennel. That way, nothing is going to be flying about.

I was in a rollover a few years ago, and let me tell you, that even your glasses fly off, mine were found on the road about 5 feet from my vehicle.

As a dog groomer, I was often asked to meet an ambulance at the hospital and take the dog kennels. The people would come to my home to collect their dogs and kennels when they got out. It was a service I did for the town, and the people. No charge either. One time a lady got into an accident, and her little dog was scared and ran away, never to be found. We think a bird or coyote got it. If it had been seatbelted, it would have been saved.

I strongly recommend to people to seatbelt the animals, and do not let them sit on the drivers lap while driving. If the driver got thrown into the steering wheel and crushed the dog, they would feel terrible.

take care

March 6th, 2012, 03:16 PM
For my previous dog, I had a nice padded harness with a loop. The seatbelt went through the loop and he could still lay down.
I don't use one now, but I think I will get one. I got that one at Pet Smart. Not sure if htey still carry them.
My other concern is airbags. This car has 10 of them. Anyone hear of dogs being injured by airbags? Where is the safest place to keep a dog?

March 6th, 2012, 10:37 PM
Thanks for the input everyone!

And yes airbags are a concern they can cause serious injury or death for pets or small children/adults. I read that it's safest to have have your dog ride in the middle backseat. I also just read this:

Etown_chick- the airbag in my front seat passenger automatically turns off if it registers a certain weight (not sure how much) but I know it shuts off if my dog sits there, he's about 55 lbs. But I'll be moving him to the backseat now, just to be safer. Maybe your vehicle does that too.

Now to do some seat belt comparisons. I like the idea of having the clip stay attached to the seat. Less things to fiddle with or lose!

March 7th, 2012, 08:28 PM
they say the safest place is the center of the back seat

March 7th, 2012, 09:50 PM
I always had my dog in the middle of the back or centre seat. I also did that because the windows were tinted, so my dog wasn't in the sun while in the van.

take care