Before I got Bear I used to love seeing a dog riding with their owner and I always thought that was so cool having a dog traveling with you. When I got Bear he quickly became my road dog. He loves riding in the car and I love having him with me. There are a couple of challenges to having a dog riding in the car though.
- He likes looking out the window. Some people keep their windows open and I often see dogs hanging out of it and I have to wonder how many of them have actually jumped out. That would not be funny ya know?
- He also likes to jump in the car and run across the seats to his spot. I have a dirt yard and tan leather seats and the last thing I want is dog tracks and dander on my leather. In my last car I had grey leather and he got his seat pretty dirty in a matter of a few months and it was hard getting it out with normal leather cleaner. I finally cleaned it with my handy dandy degreaser…remember that stuff? LOL it works on everything. It was probably too harsh for leather but I did use a good leather conditioner afterwards and then I traded in the car so I can’t tell you the long lasting effect of using it on leather. I imagine if a lot of sun gets on the seat the leather might become damaged over time but I don’t know that for sure.
- I hit the brakes hard…in fact, I been accused of being a brake queen. Yeah, whatever. When I hit the breaks poor Bear used to go sliding across the seat or on the floor. I would fuss at him just like I do a passenger who suddenly lurches forward when I hit the brakes acting as if they were about to get whiplash…. I would say… “Oh stop exaggerating! You know I didn’t hit the brakes that hard”. He would just climb back on the seat, wag his tail and lay down till he learned how to brace himself. He actually got pretty good at it. That was when he was a younger puppy. I realized that was not very safe for him or myself and something had to change.
I had to figure something out, or he just couldn’t ride anymore. I tried buying a few things for him and I know people in the store was getting frustrated with me as I was with all these rip off products. I purchased one type of setup, took it out to the car to try it out and sometimes I knew within a few minutes that it wasn’t going to work and returned it. Dog stuff can be VERY costly so here I was back and forth returning, buying, returning, buying till I felt myself and everyone involved going crazy. I finally came up with something that I love and everyone who sees it agrees it is a good system…
I knew he had to have a collar but I did not want anything around his neck because if he flew off the seat anything around his neck would strangle him or worse yet, break his neck and kill him. After trying everything I decided on a harness. I purchased several until I found the Sporn Non-Pulling Mesh Control Harness. I found it in Petstupid for $24.99 and then found out I could have gotten it from Walmart online for $14.92. (I bolded that so Walmart will stick in your head and not the other store…Walmart and not the other store… Walmart…did you get that? Walmart). The features I found important is that it has cushion on the straps that go under his legs and therefore does not matt his fur (with my kind of dog matting can be an issue) or hurt him under pressure. I also like the fact that it has a lead on the cord before the hook. The cord is where I attach his leash and his auto strap. This will make sense once you read my whole set up.
The second piece of his riding gear is a seat belt strap. I found it online at Petstore.com PET STORE NOT PET you know who,,,for less than $5. I keep this in the seat belt at all times so when we get ready to ride all I have to do is strap him in. Remember you DO NOT want to use this on a regular collar because if God forbid you have a car accident with the dog in the car his neck can be broken. You may already have a strap you can use. It is just a strap with a clip on one end and a loop on the other (to loop ip though itself and the seatbelt strap). The larger your dog the longer the strap.
The last piece of my set up is a blanket. I picked up my neighbor from the hospital and they had put this plain white cotton blanket on him. When I dropped him off at the nursing home I took the blanket with me. When Bear is riding I keep it folded across the back set and it is perfect for him. If he messes it up I can wash it. Since it is white I can also bleach it. Since it is thin I can fold it up and leave it on the floor in the back or I can put it in the trunk. I usually don’t leave it on the floor because my carpets are black and even though it hasn’t happened, I fear getting white lint all in the carpet…and not being able to get it out but since it is cotton and well washed and dryer dried it does not pill. One day I plan on making it look a little more fancy than a plain white blanket and making some straps for it to attach to the seats but for now it serves our purposes as is. It does occasionally slide across the seat so I may put something anti-skid on it when I find something that I know for sure will not mess up my leather.
I also used to let him ride in the front seat but I have changed that and now he only rides in the back seat. I keep him strapped to the back center seat and I think he likes it. I do this because it is safer for him. Think of a dog like a baby. A baby can be killed by air bags in the front seat and so can dogs. He usually rides standing up looking out the front window or watching me and when he gets bored with that he lays down. In any case he has room to move around…
Don’t say anything about him having on a pink shirt. I buy whatever 0-3 months infant shirts I can find for a dollar or less. Yup and being cheap, color is not an issue, I just want him warm when he goes outside.. LOL…anyway when he is not in the car I put the blanket away but I keep his strap on the seat belt tucked in a little. He rides safe and my seats stay clean. Everybody wins!
Oh yeah and PS…when and if I leave him in the car, which is not often, I do crack open the windows and the sunroof. Oh and PPS…I also use the blanket when the grands are riding with me. They make a mess too and with the blanket I just take it out and wash it…no stress…no fussing…
How does your pet ride?