How do I make my dogs safe when traveling? All my dogs — which at one time was four of them — travel in crates. I bought a mini-van just for them! Within the first week after I purchased it, the middle seats were removed so I could make room for all of them to ride safely. If you ask me, this is the safest way for a dog to ride. The crates are secured to the vehicle with tie-down ropes and bungee cords. In an emergency situation, they’re not likely to get hurt or be able to escape from the car because they’re in crates.

If crates aren’t an option, my second favorite option is a harness with a seatbelt strap. This secures the dog in the vehicle (the the seat belt secures us) but it doesn’t give nearly the same protection as a crate. The strap is important too! If it’s too long, the dog can move about in the vehicle — often becoming a distraction for the driver.

Option three for me is behind a barrier. This only is available for SUV-type vehicles and while the dog cannot distract the driver, they are loose in the vehicle behind the barrier. If an accident happened and a window was broken or the door opened, the dog would escape the safety of the vehicle and possibly be hit from another passing vehicle.

My least favorite option is in the front seat. I remember years ago with Tiger was young, he was laying on my front seat and he stretched out his legs and accidentally pushed the vehicle into neutral! After a few very scary seconds, I realized what happened and restored the vehicle to the correct gear. Another issue with dogs in the front seats is that they often are heavy enough to engage the airbag in case of an accident — but not big enough to survive its impact!

Another pet peeve of mine is allowing dogs to stick their head out the window. Many dogs each summer receive injuries to their eyes from debris and/or bugs while riding with their heads out the window. If you insist your dog be allowed to smell the breeze, invest in some dog goggles — and train your dog to accept them.