belt up: how to secure pets in the car

Posted by Dr. Jules Benson on Jul 06 2009


One of Petplan’s own was recently featured as a guest blogger on She wrote a great piece on pet seat belt safety that I just had to share.


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"Hi! My name is Amy. I spent 8 years as a veterinary technician, and now I work as one of the Happiness Managers for Petplan pet insurance, the world’s largest pet insurance provider. For over a decade I’ve seen your pets both in a medical capacity and now in the insurance claims that follow. I’m sure that those of you who are parents make sure that your children are safely seat belted and/or appropriately secured in your car. Sadly we often fail to protect our pets in the same way. Does Fido bounce around the back seat or sit in your lap while you drive? Let’s talk about dog seat belts.


A few months ago, a claim came to my attention from a family whose dog hopped out of a car window while the car was in motion! Luckily, Niko survived thanks to the quick thinking of his mom and the emergency hospital, but in the process, he lost his fluffy white tail. I had a few conversations with his mom and instructed her on car safety (she’d never even heard of seat belts for pets). In researching ways to support Niko and his family I discovered that most of my co-workers let their dogs hang out unsecured in the car. This prompted me to become the Petplan seat belt “advocate”.


Some dog seat belts are actually padded vests with straps for the lap belt to thread through, but others are more in the line of a “harness” with extra loops on the back that your lap belt will pass through. You can even buy a special dog “booster seat” that comes with it’s own straps, kind of like a toddler safety seat. Any of these can give your dog the freedom to move around a bit, and look out the window. You’ll know that the dog will be safe in the case of an accident, and you won’t have a dog in your lap, obstructing your ability to drive!

My own dog, Baku, has a harness seat belt. It was inexpensive ($19.99 for the “small”), and he can use it out of the car as a harness. It’s adjustable and he can look out of the window while we’re driving. He absolutely loves it, and whenever I take it out of the closet, he knows he’s going somewhere fun (even if it’s to the vet’s office…weird dog!).


Do your homework before buying one, to get an idea of what you are really looking for in safety and comfort. Check the reviews, if any, of the brand you’re buying, to get the consumers’ opinions. Buy the appropriate size for your dog, and always put your dog in the back seat, especially if you have passenger side air bags, which have been known to cause injury in pets while they sit in the front seat.


Here’s a good place to start: to ensure safe travels for you and your dog!"

Great job Amy and THANK YOU to Betsy at Lovethydog for giving Amy the opportunity to share her passion for safe pet travel.

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