Whether it’s a short trip to the vet, training ground or dog park, or a long trip on vacation: the dog should feel comfortable in the car and have a safe place.
Luggage compartment behind bars
Large dogs, in particular, are best accommodated in the luggage compartment of a station wagon, SUV, or van. Because they are legally considered “baggage,” they must be securely stowed. The fabric grilles that vehicles are fitted with will not withstand a dog being thrown forward. The four-legged passenger should be separated from the passenger compartment by a strong grille. Even more ideal are metal boxes, which are available in different designs for all car models and which optimally protect the dog from injuries in the event of an accident.
Only with a seat belt in the car
If you drive a car, you can protect your four-legged friend from the dangers of an accident with a harness and a special seat belt. The strap gives you some freedom of movement but tightens when there are sudden changes in speed. It is best to put small dogs in a stable transport basket, which in turn should be secured with the belt against uncontrolled movements on the back seat. Please put on the seat belt even on short journeys.
Space in the car – in both senses
The dog should always have the same fixed place – in the back, on the back seat in the passenger footwell, or on the front passenger seat. And he should really make room there, so lie down. When you lie relaxed, the risk of nausea, which is often caused by looking out, is lowest. Lying down on longer journeys also calms the dog down.
Consideration for the co-pilot
Jerky starts, heavy braking, and rapid cornering take away the balance of even a well-secured dog. The result: he loses interest and begins to fear the car. So drive smoothly and calmly. Very important: Curses and insults at other drivers are incomprehensible to your passenger. The only thing he registers is that you are angry and that must be at him – after all, there is no one else in the car.
Quiet in the room before the adventure
Many dogs know that when they get in the car, they romp around in the dog park or play with other dogs. They get excited and whine, howl or bark frantically while driving. This irritates the driver and is not without risk. The consequence: you never (!) let the dog get out as long as he is acting like a madman, but wait a minute when he is calm. Only then switch off the engine and open the door. Most four-legged friends understand very quickly that they themselves are delaying their adventure if they loudly demand it.
The car is not a lounge
No problem if you get off the train to post a letter or get some rolls from the bakery. No problem if the dog has to wait in the car for half an hour because you go shopping. But only if it’s not a sunny day. Even during the cooler seasons, the temperatures in the car heat up quickly when the sun is shining. In summer, no dog should have to wait more than five minutes in the car, not even in the shade. And the still common bad habit of leaving the dog waiting in the car during office hours has now even been legally confirmed as “animal cruelty”.
Getting in and out with a clear announcement
Before allowing the dog to jump into the car or climb over a plank, let the dog sit still and then give the command to get in. The same applies to disembarking. The dog has to stay in the car until you give a clear call to get out. This protects you and the dog from unwanted collisions with cyclists, walkers, other dogs, and, in the worst case, passing cars. You also have the option of making a wet or dirty dog car-friendly with a towel.