How should I restrain these big dogs in the car?
That’s a question that I have contemplated many times. I have surveyed other Newfie owners, read multiple blogs, and scoured the internet for suggestions.
The overwhelming consensus is that most people keep their big dogs loose in the cargo area of their SUV’s. We have done this for years, but I keep worrying about something happening and them getting hurt.
The ideal situation is a strong, reinforced crate in the back. Recently, I heard of someone that was in a terrible accident and her dog was saved by being in one of these crates. The challenges are, 1. the options are very limited for giant dogs, 2. I need at least two if we are all traveling together and only one will fit in my cargo area and 3. they are incredibly expensive.
The one that I’ve considered is the Gunner Kennel .
I do have an extra wire crate and have used that on occasion when I’m transporting only one dog, but it just doesn’t seem sturdy enough. It’s not an issue of keeping them under control, they lie down and sleep as soon as we pull away from the house, I’m looking for a way to keep them from flying through the car. I don’t think a wire crate would stand up to the pressure of a 100 plus pound dog suddenly hitting the sides and since I have the ability to “catastrophize”, would they get speared by a wire?
I’ve looked at many harnesses, but since my dogs don’t ride in the middle seat, I would have to figure out a different way to belt them.
We have an old jeep, our “beach buggy” that we used to take Maisie and Annie to the beach. (It’s our 25 mph transport to and from the beach, 1 mile from our house.) We removed the back seat, found a bed that fit the area perfectly, attached leashes to the cross bar and then hooked into their harness to keep them restrained. (We also bought the Petloader steps for Annie because she didn’t like using a ramp or being lifted).
I decided to try this option with Winn on our recent road trip to Ohio. I researched crash tested harnesses and the one I settled on was the Kurgo. We found one for Maisie at an REI Garage Sale a couple of years ago and I was pleased that the Kurgo was still listed at the top of the review charts. Maisie’s is too small for Winn (they are vastly different sizes) and since Winn needed her own anyway I purchased one for her and two seat belt straps with swivel attachments to secure them each to the tie downs in the back of the car.
This solution worked very well for our long, highway drive. Winn was able to change positions and if she needed a potty break, I could see her pop her head up to give me the signal. It was also very easy to load her into the car and then hook her up. While I hope we never have the opportunity to test it, I feel better knowing that if something terrible happens, they will stay in the relative safety of the cargo area.
We have several road trips coming up and I’m relieved that I’ve settled on a solution. Maisie and I are going to Kansas City, MO for a blogging conference, Winn and I are going to Frankenmuth, MI for the Newfoundland National and all of us (I think) are going to Ontario, Canada for a Water Dog training seminar. Now I can focus on writing about all of our adventures!
disclaimer: the links I have provided are non-sponsored, they are items that I have found on my own for my personal use.
4 thoughts on “Getting road trip ready”
I’ve struggled with this as well. At the moment Katie is in a soft crate on the back seat of our SUV. She used to be in that crate in the back but she didn’t like it back there, couldn’t see me. So then I tried it back there with the seat back folded down so she could see, but I worried about getting hit from behind so I settled on the seat behind me. Still not optimum as the crate is only cloth and is not secured to the vehicle.
When you’re in Frankenmuth you are only a couple hours from me. Maybe a little less. If you have time in your schedule, and if I’m in town maybe I can come up to see you and your girl. Maybe without Katie if she’d be a distraction. We’ll see how it all goes. Also if you need anything while you’re there we’re close enough to help.
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Thanks! It would be fun to meet, I’m only committed during our trials and then I’m just hanging out and cheering on friends in other events. I’m in no rush to get home so we could meet somewhere else if that’s easier. Let’s keep in touch about that!
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If Katie likes riding in the middle, maybe she’d do well with this harness. It’s designed exactly for that purpose using a regular seatbelt.
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