6 Car Gadgets for Pet Owners to Stay Safe While Driving

When it comes to safety on the road, pets are often overlooked. According to a pet owner survey conducted by Kurgo Pet and the AAA, 84% of the respondents said they bring their dogs in their vehicle but don’t use a pet restraint, with 60% admitting being distracted by the animal’s presence. 

The survey also reports that 80% of pet owners drive with their pets in the car — and since crashes in the U.S. surpass 5 million yearly, there’s a good chance there could’ve been pets in some of those accidents.     

But there’s no need to leave your beloved pet home — there are a variety of pet safety items you can purchase for your vehicle. They’ll keep your pet safe and secure, reduce your chances of being involved in an accident and consequently, keep your auto insurance affordable. 

The timing couldn’t be better — with Black Friday and Cyber Monday soon approaching, you may be able to score a great deal. Although big retailers haven’t revealed holiday deals yet, chances are, the following best-selling items will be included. Don’t leave home without these six pet travel safety gear ideas.

1. Vastar Dog Seat Belt Leash 2-pack

Over 45% of U.S. crashes are rear-end collisions. If your pet isn’t restrained properly, they can injure themselves and other vehicle passengers in a rear-end collision. Vastar’s dog seat belt harness keeps your dog securely in place using a bungee- style strap that absorbs some of the shock if you brake suddenly. The Kurgo Pet/AAA survey found that an unsecured 10-pound dog will exert roughly 500 pounds of force during an accident at 50 miles per hour. Keeping your dog securely restrained could save lives.

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2. rabbitgoo Dog Car Barrier

The most dangerous place for children and pets is the front passenger seat. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warns that the force of a deployed airbag can cause a fatality and recommends all kids under 12 sit in the backseat. Pets should also ride in the back for their safety since they’re similar in size or smaller than a child. They may be resistant to the idea of riding away from you, but your lap or passenger seat is not a safe spot for your dog. A dog car barrier like rabbitgoo’s keeps your dog or any other pet from trying to make his way to the front seat.

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3. Pawaboo Dog Safety Vest Harness

A distracted driver is more likely to be involved in a car crash. The Pawaboo safety vest and harness keeps your dog in place so you can keep your eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel. The comfortable, padded vest harness is a safer way to restrain your dog without the harsh shock that could occur if your car is struck in a crash or you have to hit the breaks. It’s available in several sizes from small to extra large to ensure it fits properly on your dog, regardless of size.

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4. AmazonBasics Portable Folding Soft Travel Crate Kennel

If you’re a fan of crate-training your dog, you know that your furry friend may feel safest within his crate. If you’re planning on taking a road trip and loading your car up with a bunch of bags, camping gear or other items, they could become dangerous projectiles in case of an accident. A pet travel crate that can fit in your vehicle is a good way to keep your dog safe, secure and in-place. AmazonBasic’s kennel is made of durable fabric that won’t rattle and can be collapsed for easier traveling.

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5. PetSafe Happy Ride Deluxe Booster Seat

If your smaller pet tends to hop up and down to catch a view or wants to climb up on your lap while you drive, you may need to find a safer way to help them enjoy the views out the window. The PetSafe booster seat can be hung on a rear seat at a better height so your pet (weighing up to 25 pounds) doesn’t miss out on what’s going on outside the window. The padded booster includes a harness to secure your pet safely in place. 

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6. Rayco Pet First Aid Kit with LED Safety Collar

Your car is probably stocked with items you may need in case of an emergency, such as battery jumpstart cables, road flares and more. Don’t forget Fido! Rayco’s first-aid travel kit for dogs is compact enough to fit under a seat or in a seat pocket and has everything you need in case your pet is hurt in an accident or emergency. The kit includes first aid to remove ticks, treat insect bites and stop small cuts from bleeding until you can see a vet.  The LED safety collar greatly improves the visibility of your pet if you’re out in nature camping or hiking.

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How to travel with a pet in the car

Traveling with your pet in the car takes preparation. Some get anxious when it comes to car travel. The better prepared you are for the road trip, the easier it will be to travel with your pet. If your pet is extremely anxious and isn’t willing to get into the vehicle try the following method: 

  1. Take your dog out for exercise or a long walk, followed by leading them near the car. 
  2. Place some treats in the trunk and encourage them to take the treats.
  3. Try and get them to stand on their hind legs and eat the treats from your vehicle’s trunk. 
  4. Gradually challenge your dog to enter the car for longer periods of time using treats.
  5. Once your pet feels more comfortable approaching the vehicle, take them for a short drive around the block, rewarding them with treats when they’re calmer.

Be sure to schedule longer rest stops so your dog can have a short walk. Stop regularly to provide your pet with water. Depending on the weather, you may need to stop every hour or less so your pet can stay hydrated.

Finally, make sure you pack all the essentials your pet may need. Switching food during a road trip by purchasing whatever food is available at the location could affect your pet’s digestive system. It’s best to pack enough food for them to last the whole trip — and then some extra. Besides the proper  pet food, consider the following items your  pet may need on your road trip:

  • Portable food and water bowls
  • Enough drinking water for the road trip
  • Toys or chew bones
  • A dog bed
  • Pet pee pads 
  • Any medication your dog may be taking or need
  • A  pet first aid kit
  • Contact information for your vet back home
  • A copy of your  pet’s medical history including vaccinations and boosters
  • Pet medication

Once you’ve packed a special bag for your pet, make sure to arrange a safe and comfortable place in the car where your pet can rest comfortably or look out the window. Some safety considerations you should keep into account are:

  • Make sure your pet travels in the rear seats — the front row is extremely dangerous. If an airbag is released, the force of the airbag’s deployment is violent.
  • Restrain your pet in the rear to keep you from getting distracted. And protect your pet from being injured or killed in an accident. You can use a dog seat belt or harness in the back seat. Better yet, set up a portable crate or a dog bed in the back for your dogs. If your dog tends to jump from the cargo area to sit on your lap, you may need to install a car barrier to keep your dog in place
  • Be sure to properly secure all items in the vehicle. In case of an accident, items could fall or shift, potentially hurting your pet.
  • Although dogs love hanging their heads out the window, the practice isn’t safe. Hang a dog booster from a rear seat so smaller dogs can enjoy the view safely instead. Refrain from letting your dogs stick their heads out the window — road debris could injure your pet. 

Cynthia Paez Bowman

Contributing Writer

Cynthia Paez Bowman is a finance, real estate and international business journalist. Her work has been featured in Business Jet Traveler, MSN, CheatSheet.com, Bankrate.com and Freshome.com.

She owns and operates a small digital marketing and public relations firm that works with select startups and women-owned businesses to provide growth and visibility. Cynthia splits her time between Los Angeles, California, and San Sebastian, Spain. She travels to Africa and the Middle East regularly to consult with women’s NGOs about small business development