Are doggie car seats really necessary?

What you need to know about pet safety in cars

If there’s one thing that almost every dog owner knows, it’s that man’s best friend loves to go for car rides. Whether it’s just a quick drive to the store or an exciting trip to the dog park, every day millions of Americans bring their dogs along for the ride. But have you ever really wondered “is it safe for dogs to ride in the car?” With millions of dogs on US roadways and accidents becoming an increasing concern, it’s important that pet owners understand the steps that are needed to ensure their dog’s safety in cars.

dog with its head out a car window

Do dogs have to be restrained in a car?

Although there are over 43.3 million households with pets in America, only 16% of dog owners report that they use a safety seat to restrain their dog in the car. While using a dog seat for cars may seem like an unnecessary step in the already expensive world of pet ownership, research and testing shows that restraining your dog while you’re driving is a crucial part of pet car safety.


From Consumer Reports, here are some pet safety products and specifics, as well as a list of motion sickness medications and common remedies for dogs.

First, restraining your dog in the car will reduce that your dog will distract you or unintentionally escape from the vehicle. While it might be cute to see a fluffy little dog sitting on his owner’s lap driving down the road, the dangers of this scenario become clear when you learn that over half of dog owners have admitted to petting their dog while driving and 4% even admitted to playing with their pet while also driving down the road.

Taking steps to restrain your dog and keep your eyes on the road is the first step to preventing an accident. If your dog escapes after a collision he may get lost or worse, become a danger to other vehicles on the road.

Second, if your dog is restrained when an accident occurs then the likelihood that your pet will be inured decreases drastically. Whether your dog is restrained by a special harness, crate, or other pet safety product, this will prevent your dog from hitting objects inside the car or other passengers in the event of a collision.


In an accident that occurs at 25 mph, a pet can be thrown forward with a force 40 times greater than its weight, hitting objects and passengers with thousands of pounds of force.

Finally, restraining your dog can help ensure that if you are in an accident, your dog will not run away before you can grab his leash. First responders recommend dog restraints as a part of basic car safety because they allow emergency personnel to attend to any injuries without worrying that a worried dog inside the car will try to protect its owner.

How can I keep my dog safe in the car?

Pet safety is important and there are many steps dog owners can take to ensure that their dogs and fellow passengers are as safe as possible.

Don’t let your dog distract you.

Take frequent breaks so your pet can go to the bathroom and make sure your dog has everything it needs to be comfortable before you leave for a trip. Keep your eyes on the road and if your dog needs attention, pull over first.

Alert first responders about your dog.

Some companies offer “dog on board” window signs that can tell first responders to be on the lookout for your pet after an accident. If you are able, tell first responders that your dog is in the car and is safe to approach, or that he has escaped and may be in the roadway causing a traffic danger to other vehicles.

Restrain your dog in the car.

There is a wide variety of pet safety products available for dogs of all sizes. Whether you chose a harness, a doggie car seat, or a special travel crate, restraining your dog will protect both you and your pet. Make sure that whatever you chose is properly installed and used with every trip. You can even investigate crash ratings of different products to determine what is best for you and your dog.

What happens if my pet is injured in an accident?

Unfortunately, although more and more dogs are being injured in car accidents, pet owners are learning that those injuries are not always covered like a passenger’s injuries would be. While some auto insurance policies offer special coverage for pets, not all companies include this coverage automatically.

Pet health insurance may help you if your pet is injured in an accident, but each policy differs. These policies also have coverage limits and deductibles to consider.

If the driver who hit you has liability coverage your pet’s vet bills may be covered if the driver is liable, but only because your pet is considered your personal property. In the sad cases where a pet dies, this means that pet owners often don’t feel adequately compensated for the devastating loss of the furry family member. Contacting a lawyer can help you understand what you and your pet deserve after an accident.

Has Your Pet Been Injured In An Accident?

If you were involved in an accident with your dog in the car, you may be eligible to file a claim for vet bills and other expenses, in addition to the costs of your own injuries. Fill out our free case evaluation form to see if you can make a claim for injuries and damages. An experienced auto accident attorney at Morris Bart will assist you in the evaluation process. Initial consultations are FREE and we work on a contingency-fee basis. Click here to see more about our office locations throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas. Call us at 1-800-537-8185 today.

September 13, 2018 | Categories: Safety Tips |