My wife and I have two dogs, both of which love going for car rides.  If we’re planning to leave, we have to spell out ride (saying r-i-d-e) in front of the dogs, or else we won’t be able to leave without them.  If you have a dog, chances are yours is the same way.

That said, how safe are you with your dog (or dogs) in the car?  According to dog owner surveys, about 80% of dog owners drive without securing their dog in the vehicle.  Why don’t we buckle in our dogs, like we do our kids?  It’s a hazard to everyone in your vehicle, and even potentially those out of your vehicle!

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Volvo has done different studies that have shown drivers with loose dogs in their vehicle are distracted more than 10% of the total drive time.  They also found that if your dog is secured and buckled in, both the dog and driver have lower heart rates, and less stress.

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I did a little research, and Massachusetts does not have any laws about using a doggy seatbelt to secure your furry friend.  The only exception is if your dog is riding in the back of your pickup truck, then they do need to be secured, or in a secured crate.  Don’t pull a Mitt Romney here.

What Massachusetts does have, is rules about anything that “may impede or obstruct the driver while operating the vehicle.”  Obviously, this includes unsecured dogs in your car.  So, while you can’t be stopped for not buckling in your dog, you could still be pulled over for having a loose dog that appears to be blocking some of your view. 

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Also, keep in mind dog safety laws vary state to state, so make sure if you’re driving from one state to another that you know all the rules.

My wife and I have special dog seat belts we (usually) use for our pups.  Just remember, don’t ever attach a seat belt to your dog’s collar, and make sure the harness they’re using is the right size, and made for traveling.  And of course, ask your vet if you have any questions.

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