How A Dog Car Seat Works
Just like small children, dogs don't fit into the standard car seat belt. But manufacturers of dog car seats need to take more than just the animal's size into consideration, since a person can't explain to a dog that they need to sit still while in a moving vehicle. Plus, since dogs move around on all fours, it's not comfortable for them to sit upright with their stomachs facing forward in the same way a person does. For that reason, dog car seats give one's pet a little room to move around.
Most models look like a glorified dog bed, but with elevated walls that prevent a pup from jumping out. Many are also equipped with padded interiors to keep a dog safe when the car is turning or stopping. There is usually a permanently-attached harness or leash on the inside of the car seat that secures the dog without making them feel constricted in their movements. Because some dogs become nervous in the car and forget their potty training, many dog car seats come with removable pads that are easy to clean.
There are several ways to ease a dog's anxiety in the car. One such method involves letting them remain within close proximity to their owners. Some car seats are designed to fit securely between the driver and front passenger seats. Dog owners with smaller pets can purchase a seat that doubles as a carrying bag when they get out of the car. These seats usually have storage compartments for essential travel items for pets, like treats, poop bags, and straps that hook securely around the back of a car seat or that sit comfortably on one's shoulders when used as a bag.
A Brief History Of Pet Transportation
As long as humans have had dogs, they've needed a way to travel with them. Several interesting methods have been developed over the years to solve the problem. In 1932, when most cars still had running boards on their sides, there was the Bird-dog's Palace. This crate-style device was constructed with metal on the outside to prevent dents or damage and insulated with soft material on the inside to prevent contact with the metal. On rainy days, people could place an oil-cloth over the crate to protect their dogs from the elements.
In 1936 a sack came onto the market that could clamp onto the running board and the back seat window sill. The sack was equipped with openings at both the top and on the side from which a dog could stick their head out. This, however, did not have the sturdy design of the Bird-dog's Palace. The hooks that attached the device to the car had rubber tubing to prevent any damage to the vehicle, suggesting that the designers may have been more concerned with the car than the dog.
In 1975, a woman named Marie French received a patent for her pet trailer, which hooked up to the back of a car, and, with the exception of some food and water bowls, was relatively empty on the inside so pets could roam freely. It also featured built-in viewing ports so that pets could look outside, while also keeping it properly insulated. When listing her reasons for creating the trailer, French stated many of the same safety concerns that pet owners still have today, like the hazards of leaving a dog in a locked car when the owners get out and the lack of proper seatbelts for pets.
Additional Car Safety Tips For Dog Owners
A well-exercised dog is a well-behaved one, which is why all owners should take their pets for an extra-long walk or trip to the park before putting them in a car, plane, or any mode of transportation. Owners should get their pet accustomed to their car seat before even putting the dog in a vehicle. A dog should be encouraged to try out his car seat while he's inside the house through the use of treats and praise. This will help him associate the seat with happy experiences.
If one has a long car trip planned, they should help their dog build up to being ready for that by taking them on several mini-car rides every day. It's much better to be forced to pull over for a whining dog when one is close to home as opposed to being hundreds of miles away and in unfamiliar territory. Owners should never feed their dog in a moving car. Eating while in a moving vehicle is one of the top choking hazards for dogs. Remember that dogs don't know to chew slowly and swallow carefully when they're in a moving vehicle.
As much as dogs may enjoy the experience, it's not safe to let them put their head out the window while the car is in motion. Owners who want to keep their dog happy and distracted during a ride should bring the pet's favorite toy or treat, so long as the treat isn't small enough for them to swallow.