Dog on Leasch

No more barking and howling – how your dog can enjoy car trips

A dog in the trunk or the passenger seat – what’s allowed? What’s forbidden? Tips regarding dog baskets, separation grids and transport boxes for dogs in cars.

As a dog owner, sooner or later the question arises as how you want to cover longer distances with your dog. At first, transporting a dog in a car is a challenge for beginners. Should the dog go in the trunk? Or should you strap the dog into the car? Read the following article regarding dog baskets, separating grids and transport boxes for dogs to see which make sense and how you can get your dog used to travelling by car:

Do you have to strap your dog into the car?

You want to take your dog for a walk in the woods or have to take him to the vet’s – sometimes a car trip is unavoidable. There are two possible ways to transport your dog in a car: either in a separate trunk space, or with a safety belt on the back seat or the passenger seat. The question of whether your dog should be strapped in can be answered with a clear “yes” if he’s not separated from the driving compartment by a grid.

The German legislator has stipulated in the traffic regulations that dogs are considered “cargo” - and must be secured during transport. The reasons for the compulsory wearing of seat belts are understandable:

  • The dog shouldn’t distract you while driving.
  • In an accident, the dog shouldn’t endanger anyone if he’s thrown out of the vehicle.
  • In an accident, the dog should be secured so that nothing happens to him.

Anyone who breaks this regulation risks not only a fine of €35 – €75, but also the life of their dog.

The perfect equipment for transporting a dog in a car

When transporting your dog in the car, you have the choice between putting the dog in the trunk or in the driver’s compartment. Often the decision depends not only on the size of the dog, but also on his character. If your dog is in a separate trunk space, you need a grid. For transport in the back seat or passenger seat, there are aids such as dog harnesses, transport boxes, dog blankets or baskets for on the road:

Separating grids for dogs in cars

Separation grids or nets are stretched between the trunk and the interior of your vehicle. They are designed to prevent your dog from being thrown out of the car or, in the worst case, going through the windshield if you brake suddenly. This solution means more freedom of movement for your dog as there’s no need to fasten a seatbelt in a trunk with a partition grid. It’s important that this is expertly attached so that it cannot slip. Make sure that the netting is adapted to the size and weight of your dog so that it’s not just decoration but can really catch your dog in an emergency.

A dog blanket in the car

For dogs in the trunk as well as in the passenger or back seat, a blanket can be very helpful. Many dog owners use the blanket from the dog’s basket at home, so the dog doesn’t have to get used to a new and strange object first. Your car will also thank you for protecting its seats from dog hairs, wetness, and unwelcome passengers like ticks.

A transport box for your dog

Probably the safest way to travel with your dog by car is to use a transport box. Your dog then has his own place of retreat and is also well-protected in case of accidents. You can also put blankets or cushions into the transport box so that the dog is comfortable. When buying a transport box, you should keep the following in mind:

  • Minimum box size:

Width = twice the width of the dog

Length = from the nose to the tail of your dog + 15 cm

Height = from your dog’s paws to the tips of his ears + 15 cm

  • Easy ventilation and cleaning
  • Good fastening solution for front and rear seat
  • Sufficient stability according to the breed and size of your dog
  • Material: Metal (long rides, but heavy) or plastic (short rides, less stable, but light)

A dog harness for the car

Strapping a dog into a car only works with the right dog harness. For example, if your dog loves sitting in the driver’s seat next to you, he’s only allowed to do it with the right equipment. When buying a dog harness, you should look out for the following:

  • Length-adjustable harness strap to adjust the harness to the size of your dog. The harness should be kept as short as possible.
  • Tear-resistant material, high-quality workmanship
  • Sturdy hooks and seams
  • Wide straps and padding in the chest area that will not constrict your dog.

A dog basket for the car

In contrast to a transport box, dog baskets for cars are usually completely made of fabric. Some models can be closed at the top, but dog owners rarely use this option. Your dog will be very comfortable, but you can’t do without a dog harness as well as the basket.

7 tips for a relaxed car trip with a dog

Your dog starts howling as soon as he sees the car? Or is car sick? Dogs have to get used to this form of transport. But what’s the best way to achieve this?

1. Start practising early

You should start getting your dog used to travelling by car when he’s just a puppy. Some breeders even anticipate this step. Slowly getting to know each other helps best against fear.

2. Patience is the key

The first thing to do is take baby steps. If you want to use a dog transport box, lead the animal slowly towards the new item. If he jumps directly into the car, show your dog your delight at every little success.

3. Rewards are the best

As with many learning processes, you can reward your dog with treats as he gets to know the car. Link the positive feedback directly to the behaviour of your dog. To arouse his curiosity, it also helps, for example, to put a full feeding bowl in the car, let him wait first and then give the command to eat. If you’re working with a transport box, put a treat inside to tempt your dog.

4. Appealing enticements are more than just food

Rewarding your dog with food and treats doesn’t always work. Besides petting and praise, the goal of every car ride is a learning process for your dog: You go to his favourite field together? You explore a new area of the forest? Your dog will have positive memories of this.

5. Try different transportation options

Maybe your dog only vomits when he sits in the passenger seat? A simple trick is to see if your dog might feel more comfortable in the trunk, the back seat or in an appropriate dog box.

6. Don’t immediately go full speed on long distances

Patience also includes the realisation that travelling by car is learned in many small steps: First of all, your dog should jump into a stationary car or get to know his box extensively. Later, drive a few metres with him. Then it’s time for the first proper drive. A long trip to the south should not be the first car journey in your dog’s life.

7. Getting used to the transport box

If you decide on a transport box for your dog, then do a dry run first before you put it into the car. Tempt your dog with food or a toy and only close the door when your dog is totally relaxed inside. If he’s particularly anxious, then train only with the lower part of the transport box initially.

Buckle up for the best insurance cover

Another good reason to strap your dog in: No personal liability insurance will pay if there’s an accident and your dog wasn’t strapped in. For all other unforeseen events on your travels, there’s Dog Liability Insurance: A chewed MP3 player in the footwell of your car or an injured toddler in the carpark who wanted to pet your frightened dog? With the right insurance package, you’re prepared for anything. Now take a look at how Coya will support you financially if your car trip goes differently than you’d planned.


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