Q: How can I safely restrain my dog in the car?
When we had a minivan, a see-through wire barrier kept the dog safely in the back. Now we have downsized to a hatchback, and the barrier won’t fit. How can we keep “Copilot” (that’s really her name) from flying?
Choose a restraint system sized and adapted to your dog.
Those barriers do a reasonably good job of keeping medium- to large-sized dogs from flying forward, in case of a sudden stop. For sedans, hatchbacks and other non-van vehicles, canine seatbelt-harnesses or other kinds of carriers are relatively secure and comfortable. Chest harnesses clip to your car’s seat belts with a short leash that unsnaps easily. Smaller dogs can wear the harnesses in booster seats so they can look out the windows. Alternately, small dogs might prefer to ride in carriers that are secured by a seatbelt.
Bring your dog along when shopping for anything that needs to fit (and be adjusted) properly. Make sure you can return the product if it doesn’t work out. Keep the connections short enough so the dog doesn’t fly like a trapeze artist (or get tangled) — but slack enough to permit some movement. Experiment until you get it right.
Back seats only. Front-seat airbags and dog don’t mix.
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