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Equipment for In The Car

What equipment should I use in the car?

Using appropriate equipment in the car is important for everyone’s safety.

Unrestrained dogs can not only be distracting as you drive but are also at serious risk of injury to you and themselves in the event of an accident.

Dogs left to free-roam in the car may be more likely to become hyper-stimulated and excessively excited if they move around frequently, reacting to everything they can see. Further, excessive movement in the car may exacerbate any car sickness or anxiety your dog has about travel. We do not recommend that dogs ride in open trays in the back of utes and encourage you to include your dog in the cabin if possible. Dogs riding in open ute-trays must be restrained.

There are two general options for traveling safely with dogs in the car:

  1. Use of a car harness and seatbelt tether. Many harnesses are marketed as car harnesses but few have passed industry requirements for safety under crash test conditions (if they have been tested at all). When selecting a car harness, invest in the best quality that you can afford. Ensure there is ample padding in the chest plate, and that the buckles or clasps are of good quality. The heavier your dog, the more under pressure the harness will be under in the event of a crash. More information about one of the crash tests conducted for car harnesses can be found here: https://www.nrma.com.au/paws-and-secure-your-puppy. Most harnesses have a D-Ring that a seatbelt tether can clip in to. Seatbelt tethers are either a strong loop of fabric that you can thread the normal seatbelt through or can click into the seatbelt buckle.
  2. Crate training. If your dog and car are suited – crate training can be a wonderful way to ensure your dog is restrained, comfortable and calm, without the complications of movement and getting tangled in seatbelts or too-long seatbelt tethers. Dogs that are used to crates at home, will often prefer to travel in a crate in the car. You can find more about crate training by watching the video below: 

For some dogs you may need to experiment with what they prefer, or their preferences may change as they get older. Work with your dog to ensure everyone can enjoy their car travel safely and easily. Spending an extra few minutes in developing a positive association (with treats) for each car ride initially will pay dividends in the future.

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