Like most people, we take our dogs for car rides… a lot! We have for years.
Here’s what we’ve learned, firsthand, about dogs riding in cars — particularly, the safest way to travel with your dog in a car or a Jeep.
Dogs In Cars
Three things come to mind when it comes to dogs riding in cars:
- Make sure your dog can’t jump (or fall) out of the window.
- Make sure your dog can’t roam around too much inside the vehicle (…see below).
- If you want your dog to have the ultimate car riding experience, get them a doggie chin rest
First and foremost… dogs can fall out of the car window.
Yep, while your car is moving.
And even if the window is mostly rolled up!
Second, lots of people don’t want to secure their dog in place when riding in a car.
They think it takes the fun out of it for the dog. Trust me, it doesn’t — especially if you start using a doggie seatbelt & harness (similar to the ones mentioned below) when your dog is still a puppy.
We didn’t always secure our dogs in the back seat, but I can tell you that our car rides became much more enjoyable — for all involved — the day we started doing it.
Third, many dog owners like to try lots of fun new gadgets that are dog-friendly.
That was how we came to love the dog window chin rest called Comfort Cruiser.
It was relatively inexpensive, and seemed to serve a purpose: to cushion your dog’s chin while resting his head part-way out the car window.
Our dogs love these!
Dogs In Jeeps
When we had 2 dogs, we took them both for occasional car rides in the back of our Jeep Wrangler. Destin was our first Jeep dog. Now that we only have 1 dog, we do it practically every day. Tenor is our current Jeep dog.
Here’s what we do to secure our dog in the back of the Jeep Wrangler… without fearing that he’ll jump out, or be tossed out while we’re driving:
#1 – The dog wears a standard chest-harness (goes over his head and around his front lets & attached closed around his chest).
You can buy a dog harness that’s specifically made for use in cars, but you don’t need to. There is a metal ring on most standard dog harnesses (that rests on top of their back) that can be used to secure your dog inside the vehicle.
#2 – Use a dog seatbelt adapter that clips into your standard car seatbelt on one end & your dog’s harness on the other. The seatbelt adapter can be lengthened or shortened to give your dog “more room to roam” or “less room to roam”. We make it so he can just barely stick his head out the very back window/doorway of the Jeep Wrangler.
They sell complete dog travel systems that include both the harness and the seatbelt adapter as well. Petbuckle is one of them.
It is this combination of the harness and the seatbelt adapter that keeps our dog safe and secure inside the back of a Jeep Wrangler:
The dog harness “centers” his weight and makes it less likely that he’ll be propelled out (during a turn, for example). And the adjustable seatbelt adapter dictates just how far he can extend his head beyond the back of the Jeep.
JEEP BONUS TIP: The 2 lower corners of the Jeep window/doorway area (where the metal jeep rail protrudes a bit in order to secure the bottom of the vinyl Jeep window) aren’t really sharp enough to hurt your dog, but they do stick out enough to catch a dog collar — IF worn at the same time as the dog harness in the back of the Jeep.
One of our dogs got “hooked” from the neck/dog collar and was unable to move until we rushed back there and unhooked his collar from the corner of the rail. (Our dog wears one of those part-nylon, part-choke chain type of dog collar… it’s the metal part that got caught.)
So we decided to take off the dog collar each time we put the dog harness on for Jeep rides. Eventually, we switched to a nylon dog collar with a plastic buckle instead of the chain part.
Here are the things I always take along whenever we’re out & about with our dog.
More About Dogs Riding In Cars & Jeeps
- Our Jeep Dogs
- Warning: Dogs Fall Out Of Car Windows
- What To Take On A Car Ride With Your Dog
- Dog Chin Rest: Comfort Cruiser
- A Dog’s Eye View On A Colorful Fall Leaves Road Trip
- PetBuckle: The Ultimate Dog Seatbelt System
Since we’ve been married, my husband and I have owned 5 Jeeps (3 Wranglers and 2 Grand Cherokees). And when we’re not driving our own Jeep, we’re usually renting one (a 4×4 Wrangler on vacation). We keep a Jeep Bucket List of places that we’d like to go next, and we're always crossing more states off our list of 'Places That We’ve Jeeped in the USA'. As our daily driver, we keep the soft top on our Jeep Wrangler year round (and the back window permanently rolled up) so the dogs can enjoy the ride. Yep… even in the winter! I've been sharing my best Jeep ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998. When I’m not Jeeping or writing about Jeeps, you'll find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).