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Dog Seatbelt Revisited

Even though I’m not a traditional mother with human kids, I like to think I deserve to get at least some of what I want on Mother’s Day. So, I brought Lilly along with us on our various visits. This meant strapping her into her seatbelt in Tom’s truck.

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Lilly modeling her dog seatbelt (from earlier)

Since our initial dog seatbelt product review, Lilly hasn’t had much opportunity to use her Rough Rider Roadie. We’d also never tried to fit me, Tom, and Lilly into his truck before, but we were hauling things, so my car was out.

I could not find the attachment for the truck’s middle seatbelt, so I clipped me AND Lilly into the passenger seatbelt. It was a little awkward, but worked OK.

Dog Seatbelt: Freedom and Freakout

Because I’m pretty uptight about safety with dogs in cars, Lilly typically rides inside a crate (either hard side or soft side), she has never really had the chance to stick her head out the window … as so many dogs do (typically unrestrained).

Our Mother’s Day truck scenario afforded Lilly the chance to stick her nose out my partially opened window. She seemed curious about the fast-passing smells at first, but about a half mile down our main valley road, she:

  • Furrowed her brows
  • Dropped her ears (a sure sign of worry)
  • Curled up against me, chest to chest, arms on either side of my neck
  • Hugged me like this the entire drive down the canyon (about 20 minutes)

Super sweet, to be sure. But, I felt bad she was so worried.

Having Lilly cling to me in this particularly primate position reminded me of the one baby chimp I got to hold back when I worked for the American Humane Association.

Source of comfort, was I. Another example of being Lilly’s woobie, I suppose.

Dog Seatbelt: Gaining Confidence

By the time we got into town, though, Lilly perked up and even scooted over to sit (sort of) between me and Tom.

Unbuckling us at various stops on our Mother’s Day visiting route posed a few challenges — a bit like those tangled metal puzzles.

With each exit and re-entrance, however, we got better and better at it. Lilly seemed to be having fun. She eventually figured out she could lay down, with her head in my lap, and relax for the ride:

  • Safely restrained so that she could not affect Tom’s driving
  • Safely secured in the case of an accident
  • Happily providing the puppy loving this Dog Mom needed

Dog Seatbelt: Different Car, Hanging Out

During one of our stops, we picked up Tom’s mom and used her car to come back up to the house. I buckled myself and Lilly into the back seat of the sedan, each of us with our own seatbelt this time.

Lilly must naturally circle clockwise before plopping down, but the seatbelt prevented that … unless I was prepared to help her slip through various obstacles. I feared making things worse or getting her even more tangled, so I let her sort it out.

So, I don’t think Lilly got to lay down exactly as she would have liked, but she did lay down and slept almost the entire way home.

I still prefer a crate in most cases, but the dog seatbelt provided a nice chance for Lilly to get out and help me enjoy the holiday.

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

kb - June 8, 2011

Another really nice advantage to having a dog in a seatbelt is that they can’t dart out the door when you open it!

For my K, a seatbelt lets her ride in the car without getting carsick. She still gets scared and “hunkers down” but she doesn’t get nauseous if she can face forward and look out the windows.

Casey - June 1, 2011

I’ve long thought about getting one of those chair/belt combos for the cats – they hate the crates and get motion sick when they can’t look out a window. This gives me more motivation for our next trip!

Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell - May 31, 2011

Ah, I love the description you gave of Lilly, but I’m sorry she was worried too. Sounds like she is getting used to the belt. I prefer those over crates. I know I wouldn’t like riding in a crate, where I couldn’t see what is going on, so I figure my dogs wouldn’t like it either.

    Roxanne Hawn - May 31, 2011

    Kerri … With the crates we have, the dogs can see out from most sides. Most often, Lilly chooses to ride facing backward in her crate, but once in a while, I’ll look back and see her watching out the front windshield too. It’s super sweet.

Sam - May 30, 2011

Though Marge, too, generally rides in her harness with a dog seatbelt attachment anchoring her down, I let her sneak up front every once in a while on short trips (like when we’re taking the >1 minute drive down to the beach. She LOVES to poke her nose out the window. If I allowed it (and I don’t), I bet she’d stick her whole head out.

    Roxanne Hawn - May 31, 2011

    Yep, Sam. Lilly seemed to thin it was neat at first, but then something really freaked her out. Strange.

Maery Rose - May 30, 2011

I haven’t been sure how the seat restraints worked. I pictured the dog strapped into a sitting position, which would be awful for a long trip. Good to know they can lay down. I haven’t figure out a way to restrain the dogs in the Mini. I don’t think two crates would fit and I don’t know if there’s anything to secure to. I’ll have to look around.

    Roxanne Hawn - May 31, 2011

    Sure, Maery. Dogs can lay down while wearing these kids of seatbelts. Lilly prefers to lay down, I think. She does so in her crate as well.

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