How Do I Make My Car Safe For My Puppy?

The average American uses their car daily for work, shopping, and many other activities. It’s inevitable that if you adopt a puppy, they will occasionally ride in the car with you. (Some dogs ride everywhere in the car with their owners.)

The first time most puppies ride in a car is the day they’re adopted, whether from a breeder, a shelter, a pet store, or a friend or family member. It’s an exciting time, although it can also be nerve-wracking for an 8 or 9-week-old pup.

The thing is, some pups will take to cars like it’s second nature, while others, not so much. Some puppies will freak out; others will get motion sickness. Every puppy will react differently when in a car, especially the first time.

One thing that should be the same no matter the puppy, however, is the safety measure used to protect them while riding. Like humans, dogs and especially puppies should be protected while riding in a car.

I was thinking about puppy car safety after seeing a pickup truck driving past me on the highway at about 50 mph. In the back bed, standing up, were a large German Shephard and another medium-sized mixed-breed dog.

They looked happy, but what would happen to those poor dogs if an accident happened? I shudder to think about it. What gives me hope, however, is a question I regularly hear: How do I make my car safe for my puppy?

The answer is there are several ways to make a car safe for your puppy. For example, you could put a crate in your car and let your puppy ride inside. Not only is it safe, but a crate also helps keep your puppy calm if they’re nervous.

You can also use dog seat belts in your car to keep your puppy safe, although smaller puppies might not be able to use them. (Your veterinarian can often make excellent recommendations about dog seat belts.)

If your puppy is still relatively small, you could use a pet carrier when riding in the car. Place the carrier on the floor if you have space so that, in an accident, they won’t be thrown around.

Now that you know how to make your car safe for your puppy, I’m sure you have more questions about this important subject. “How should a puppy be in a car?”, for example, and “what age can a puppy go in the car?” 

I’ve answered them and several others below if you want to learn more. For a new puppy parent, it’s essential information that could save your puppy’s life in the event of an accident.

How Do I Make My Dog More Secure in My Car?

Several excellent methods ensure that your dog or puppy is secure when riding in your car. As I mentioned earlier, one of the best methods is to use the crate your puppy uses inside your home.

A crate works well because it keeps your puppy from moving around the car as you drive, which can cause an accident if they distract you. Also, the crate will often protect your puppy if you are involved in an accident.

One excellent suggestion is to attach the crate to your car’s floor or seat. Attaching it firmly to your vehicle will ensure that it doesn’t get thrown around and injure your pup in the case of an accident. 

Several other methods ensure your dog or puppy is secure in your car. One of them is a dog seat belt or harness. Like a seat belt for humans, these specialized seat belts will secure your dog or puppy in one position and keep them from wandering around your car while you drive.

One caveat, however, is that your dog or puppy needs to be well-behaved. Those pups that aren’t will often chew through the belt or fuss like a five-year-old child the entire time.

Another way to secure your dog or puppy in your car is to use a dog booster seat, similar to what you would use for a child. Typically, these are used for small dogs as larger dogs won’t fit.

Where Should my Puppy Go in the Car?

Many new puppy parents make the mistake of putting their puppy in the car’s front seat while driving. While it might be tempting, it’s also the most dangerous location for your puppy, just as it is for a human child.

The best answer for most puppies when riding in a car is to be secured or restrained in the backseat or back behind the rear seat. 

By the way, if you travel with your puppy in a crate and put that crate in the backseat, you should do your best to strap it in with the regular seatbelt. That way, if you suddenly stop or anything unexpected happens while driving, their crate won’t be tossed around in the car and injure them.

What Age Can a Puppy Go in the Car?

Most new pet parents don’t realize there are regulations on when and how they can travel with a puppy. The USDA requires that a puppy be at least 8 weeks old and fully weaned before traveling in any vehicle.

The USDA also says you can transport no more than two puppies between 8 weeks and 6 months of age and of comparable size in the same crate simultaneously. 

In most situations, you won’t need to travel with a puppy that’s less than 8 weeks old unless you also own the puppy’s mother. Even then, the only reason to bring them anywhere in the car is if they have a medical emergency and need to see a veterinarian.

How Can I Prevent my Puppy from Getting Car Sick?

One worry that new puppy parents have is that their puppy will get carsick when traveling in their car. While that might be true, and it’s hard to tell from one puppy to another, there are several things you can do to prevent motion sickness. They include:

  • Not feeding your puppy for 12 hours before traveling in the car.
  • Ensuring that your car is cool enough to keep your puppy comfortable.
  • Bring some of their favorite toys along for the ride.
  • Purchasing a new toy for your puppy to occupy them while in the car.
  • Ask your veterinarian to prescribe anti-nausea medication Or anti-anxiety medication for your puppy. Typically, these are only used for puppies and dogs that get extremely stressed when traveling. 
  • Use a crate, especially the one you use at home. Most puppies feel very safe in their crate and thus will also feel safe in their crate while riding in the car.

Final Thoughts 

The question of how to make your car safe for your puppy is a good one and, if you plan to travel with them a lot, an important one also. As we’ve seen today, you can use several excellent methods to keep your puppy safe while in your car.

One of the best is putting them in the same crate you use at home. Another is to strap them in with a dog harness or seat belt. Both will keep your puppy from moving around, distracting you, and possibly getting hurt in an accident.

I hope today’s blog on making your car safe for your puppy has been helpful and given you the answers you were looking for. 

If you have more questions or want to learn more about being a pet parent, my other blogs are filled with outstanding, real-world information that can be extremely helpful.

Until next time, enjoy these weeks and months with your precious puppy. As I’ve said many times before, they fly by and will be gone before you know it. 

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