Dear Labby

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Dear Labby_old

Dear Labby,

We just got a new puppy from the shelter. We don’t really know what he is, but he looks kind of like a shepherd/golden mix. We like to take him everywhere so that he gets socialized. He’s really pretty well-behaved for a pup. The shelter said they thought he was 6 months old. Our question is about taking him in the car. He loves to go with us, and jumps right into the back of our SUV. Sometimes I worry about him bouncing around back there – does he need a seat belt or something to keep him strapped in?

Bouncy Puppy


Dear Bouncy,

Congratulations on your new addition and on adopting from the shelter – glad to see more evidence of the fact that shelters do indeed have puppies! You are right about getting him out and about and socialized as early as you can – the more experiences he has early in life the better he will be prepared to handle new ones as he gets older. As far as car rides – they are great, but YES, you should be using some type of restraint for your dog’s safety as well as your own. It always scares me to death when I see dogs riding in the back of open pick-up trucks. My biggest fear is they go over a bounce or pothole, or the dog sees a squirrel and out they bounce into the road…and then I run over them because I can’t stop! It truly is a nightmare I have…I stay far behind any truck I see with a dog in the back. Dogs sitting on your lap or hanging out the window are just as bad. They are distracting to you as a driver and truth be told, turn into projectiles in the event of an accident.

So, short answer, YES use a restraint. There are several options you have:

  1. Use a crate – there are many inexpensive options out there and are a very safe and secure way to keep your pet safe in the car.
  2. Use a special dog seat – if your dog is small enough.
  3. Use a seat belt extender that attaches to the existing car seat belts.

You can go to Amazon or Petco and see a ton of different options. The seat belt extender is probably the easiest – just be sure to buy one that will adapt as Bouncy gets older and bigger.

Also, it should be noted that it is the LAW in some states that a dog must be restrained – check your local regulations.

Readers – any particular brand or model of crate or restraint you use that you would recommend?

Best of luck with your new pup.



We’re joining up with 2 Brown Dawgs for This ‘N That Thursday Blog Hop!


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  1. This is great! When Kayo was a puppy she jumped out the window! I had her on a leash that I was holding onto – the collar broke when she jumped out. Luckily she jumped out right when we pulled up to our house and I was stopping the car.

    When I was younger, I went with my best friend’s family on a road trip to our favorite beach. Her dog Bodhi was a puppy and he jumped out the window while we were on a road going 40 mph! He was fine but it was SO scary. We happened to be the only ones on the road so he was a lucky pooch.

    Buckle up puppies for safety!
    BoingyDog recently posted…When Hiking With Your Dog in the Rain, Wear Boots Dang ItMy Profile

  2. OMD! I have the same nightmare as you when I see a dog — or more than one — in the bed of a pickup truck, always unrestrained! Hubby wanted to train Callie and Shadow to ride in the back of his truck back when they were puppies, but I put my foot down. “Absolutely NOT! My dogs are going to ride in the back seat, calmly, or they’re not going to ride at all.” And for nine plus years, they have been very good in the back seat.

    As for pet auto safety, check out Maya and Pierson’s Mom’s blog on the subject: She has all sorts of good information on the blog! I’m currently using seatbelt harnesses that I picked up at PetSmart a few years ago for Callie and Shadow, but I probably ought to upgrade to better ones. Ducky rides in her travel crate. It fits nicely in the back seat; and as long as she has her favorite Nylabone toy to chew on, she’s a happy pup.
    Callie, Shadow, and Ducky’s Mom recently posted…FOLLOW UP FRIDAYMy Profile

  3. When you make your list of items to purchase; check the reviews. There are a lot of great products out there that work and there are plenty that don’t work very well. I have found that taking a few extra moments to read the reviews of the products you purchase will be well worth it.

    One thing we did was practice being in the car just in our driveway, then we drove up and down the street, then we worked our way up to our first trip to a friends house. We were warned about taking our puppies to the park and pet store, because of the risk of parvo and other illnesses, so we waited until they were fully vaccinated and altered before making those monumental trips, which they loved.

    Have fun!!!
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted…Dog Sitters |Trusting a Stranger with Our Dogs, Cats and Home #RoverDotComMy Profile

  4. Dawn, over and Pet Auto Safety, does great reviews on dog seat belts, harness, etc. She’s a good resource.
    Flea recently posted…A Great Dane Stole My HeartMy Profile

  5. We are big on car safety, especially since we used to ride with Mom on the German Autobahn. I dog needs to be belted in with a quality seat belt. Sadly most of the ones sold in the US are not safe. I did a post on seat belts and the kind we wear last month.
    emma recently posted…Your Dog as a Fitness Buddy | GBGV | Furry Book TourMy Profile

  6. I daren’t put a table too close to my window in case my Westie wants to do a jump on it, look outside, then disappear!
    Michelle Liew recently posted…BowingMy Profile

  7. We use a car seat. Someone got ticketed for driving with a dog in her lap here. Granted, she was also driving badly but still.

  8. Thanks so much for participating in TNT. Car rides are great. The more the better when the dog is young. When Freighter was small we would sometimes drive him in the car just to drive him in the car. He is the best traveler of the three.

    We mostly use crates for our dogs. When Thunder was young, before we had any other dogs, we had him ride in the back seat. He used to get carsick all of the time. I ended up sitting in the back with him and eventually he grew out of it, but for a bit it was nasty.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…This ‘N That ThursdayMy Profile

  9. urgh i can’t stand people who let their dogs run in the back of the truck. if you want to know what makes up your dog you can contact wisdom and do a genetic test on your dog to see what his make is. Congrats on your new puppy.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…This ‘N That ThursdayMy Profile

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