German Shepherds Forum banner

How do you restrain your dog in your vehicle?

6527 Views 20 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  denwil2007
I was wondering if most people used some sort of doggy seat belt or travel crate when going to the vet's office, etc?

If you do use some sort of seat belt, could you recommend an effective brand, as there are many on the market.
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
we crate our dogs in the back of our SUV. The crates are strapped down to these cross ties that are built into the ground of the hatch part of the truck. Nice and stable, and i feel safe with them in there. Sometimes, if we;re just going down the road (literally a few miles) i'll let them just sit in the back of the SUV.
Crates which fit snugly in back of my suburban. Neither of my dogs are ever transported out of a crate.
My boys aren't restrained in the car. They just sit on the backseat and look out the window.

I tried using one of those seatbelts when Gunner was a bit younger, but he totally freaked out. I was actually afraid that he was going to hurt himself, he was struggling so hard to get out of it.

Unfortunately, I have a full-size sedan, but I can't get a big enough crate into it. I just limit my route to city streets (no freeways) and drive with extreme caution when I'm carrying precious cargo.

Comfort Ride Travelin' Dog Car Harness

This is the one we use. You hook it onto the the existing people seat belt - works great.
See less See more
Brady sits in back seat or is laying down in the backseat
Coke is more of a "pet", so he doesn't come to shows or Schutzhund, both of which make up for the long drives. In those cases, Kenya is crated on the back seat. When we go to the training club or parks, they have to ride on the seat together, I can't fit two GSD+ sized crates on the back seat of a normal sedan! I have a "dog hammock" so they aren't falling off the seat or tempted to come up front. I would prefer they both be crated at all times, but it's just not possible. When I get an Outback or Forrester I'll get crates or custom fitted dog boxes.

As for dog seat belts, I think the best one is the Ruff Rider.
See less See more
The mini van has now turned into one big crate. Took the two captain chairs out of the middle and they usually either lay on the very back seat or on the floor in the middle. I have to get some kind of barrier though so they dont come up front with me. I hate to say it but I love my town and country. Loved it when the kids were younger and now with the dogs.
Hey - I have a Town & Country, too! Just recently looked at trading it in for an SUV (something a little more "sporty", but still large), but nothing was big enough. I guess I like my minivan more than I thought! LOL!

Anyway, Kodee wears a harness, and this is a great one, although frankly, it was a pain in the backside to get it from the company - took about 6 or 8 weeks before it came. Lousy customer service, but awesome product:

I bought the Puppy Package, to save money, and Kodee now wears the Big Dog Survivor harness in yellow moonglow. I love it - excellent quality, and worth the wait, although I shouldn't have had to wait, if you know what I mean. Looks good, too.

Meant to add: the quality is much better safety-wise than the ones from Petsmart, just FYI. Most of the harnesses I've seen were meant to keep the dog from roaming in the car while you're driving, but were not sturdy enough to restrain them in an accident.

The fleeces look nice, but a girl i talked to at Petsmart who had one said her dog gets super-hot in it in the summertime, just FYI.
See less See more
Carolina, I like that arrangement in your sub - where'd you get it???

I have a Taurus wagon, which no dog crate of adult GSD proportions will fit. It has a jump seat so Morgan wears a harness. I have a short leather strap leash I use to attach the harness to the seatbelt. Then I jam the release under the seat so she can't undo herself (she has)
My kids NEVER go anywhere without wearing their seatbelt harnesses -- not even a quick ride around the block. Most car accident occur within the 5 miles closest to your home after all.

The brand I use is Champion K9, which are GREAT harnesses. But their customer service is spotty. (They're always backlogged, so you have to be willing to bug them by phone and email if your product isn't received quickly.) So based on all the glowing reports here, when people ask me, I usually recommend Ruff Rider. These two brands really are far superior to the pet store versions. But even those are better than nothing.

Crates are good; but IMO, they need to be attached to the frame of the car. My puppy, who is too small for a harness right now, rides in a teeny crate, that I cross-belt to the car. In a serious accident, you want the crate to stay with the car. And in a serious accident, you definitely don't want your dog loose. We were in a major accident with our 6 mo old GSD in the back seat. We were rear-ended by a guy going about 50 mph, and we were stopped. The passenger compartment of our car was compromised. But our GSD pup was belted in and remained securely on the seat. Had he not been secured, he would have, at least, flown into the lower back of the front seats and been seriously injured. He could have flown forward and hit us and injured us and been killed. He could have run into the freeway when the doors of the car were opened.

But he didn't. He looked at me like "what was THAT?" but remained secure on the seat. He stayed there til we were able to safely move the car to the side of the freeway. He hopped out and began to sniff all the gross things on the side of the interstate. I went to the hospital. Dh took the puppy to the vet. Other than bruising from the seatbelt, the vet said he was perfectly fine. There's no doubt in my mind that the seatbelt saved his life.

You're very wise to look at the various ways to restain your dog in your car. You'll never regret it.
See less See more
When I use a crate, I have it attached to the three "anchors" behind the back seat. I figure if they work for a baby seat or child booster seat, they hopefully work for the crate. I also attach it to the head rests on the front seats just to stabilize it in both directions. If I had a truck, van, or SUV I would have crates mounted (as in, permanently afixed to the frame of the car), but at this point I can't really afford getting another vehicle for dogs.

One time I was driving with Kenya in the back, there were five lanes - 2 each way and a left in the middle. I was in the inside lane and the guy in front of me moved into the left turn lane, then changed his mind but he swerved back into my lane from a dead stop and didn't wait for me to pass or accelerate at all. I SLAMMED on the brakes and Kenya pitched forward. I avoided an accident and neither of us were hurt but lord help Kenya if she had been in the front seat or standing on the back seat when that happened.
See less See more
We have a harness similar to the one DD pictured, but do not use it attached to the people seat belt. We have the cargo area of our SUV set up with a rubber mat and attach the harness to one of the cargo tie-downs in the back using a short leash.

Our VariKennel crate also fits in the back of the car, but it has to go in sideways if the rear seats are up.
I have the champion K-9. Love it! Thanks to everyone on this board that recommended it. Yes, the customer service was slow ... took about 8 weeks to get it, but there is absoluetly nothing like it available in Canada. Had originally bought an inferior brand from Petsmart, which cost twice as much as the Champion K-9, but returned it and ordered the Champion one instead. IMHO, if you can't crate, then a really good restraint system is a must. I drive a Mazda 6, no room for a crate. I like the Champion because it's there when I need it, but doesn't take up the whole back seat, when not in use. When in use, Gracie takes up the whole back seat! LOL.
I use the Champion K-9 as well. I love it. I just wish their customer service didn't suck so much.
Ruff Rider here. For two GSDs either in rented sedans or in the cab of the truck. The strength of the Ruff Rider comes from the webbing itself. It has no metal parts and the high impact plastic buckles are fine but subject to very little stress. The self lead of the harness is designed for the seatbelt to thread through so it maximizes the use of seatbelt technology.

No, I don't get a commission from these folks.
You do need to figure it out a time or two to get used to the, in fact, very simple design.

A seatbelt is a good way to train your dog not to leap out of a vehicle when the door opens, too.
See less See more
Originally Posted By: Liesje I avoided an accident and neither of us were hurt but lord help Kenya if she had been in the front seat
Just a thought -- most airbags deploy at forces that will injure or kill our dogs in the event of an front-end collision. Dogs shouldn't ride in the front seat, unless there really is absolutely no other choice (like a pick-up truck).
Originally Posted By: 3K9Mom
Just a thought -- most airbags deploy at forces that will injure or kill our dogs in the event of an front-end collision. Dogs shouldn't ride in the front seat, unless there really is absolutely no other choice (like a pick-up truck).
I think most airbags could kill or injure people under 80lbs. My dogs are never allowed in the front, they don't fit anyway, and I'm always appalled when I see toddlers strapped in a front seat.
For those of us who say we love our dogs, but do NOT crate or somehow restrain them in the middle/rear of the car, I say really look at what your 'love' is doing.

If you would let your human children ride loose in the car in the same manner, then that's clearly a choice you've already made for your 'family' members.

And unrestrained 'whatever' can kill you as well as die themselves in an accident. If your vehicle spins, or flips, or suddenly stops, ALL loose items will be flung everywhere (on top of us?) and thru/out of the vehicle. I know an 80 pound dog could break my neck if flung into the front from the back seat, for into me from beside me in the front seat. Not a situation I want to be in.

Crates AND Dog belt/harness restraints both keep the dog in the part of the car we want them in (out of the front) and keep the dog in the car (not out onto the road if windows/windshielf break or doors pop open).

Great site to compare dog belts and what to look for in the better systems is on

I also have the Champion system, and it works best for my dogs. Here's how my car was set up and I could fit THREE big dogs in the back seat. (had to get rid of the floor).

See less See more
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.