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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I realize that this may be asking for some contrarian input, but that's cool.

Our puppy was having issues with her current travel crate, so I got the-next-size-up. She fits much better into the new crate. But, the crate is now too big for our car. I can only imagine the scenario when she fills out (she's currently 36lbs at 5+ months).

It seems like, in the not-too-distant-future, our options are going to be either (a) put in a divider and use the entire back of our hatchback as a "crate", (b) get a harness that clips into the seatbelt, or (c) get an SUV that can handle the crate.

Any alternatives or advice? Oh, yeah, 'C' is not really an option right now. ;)
 

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Outside of keeping the dog out of your face, the crate doesn’t really do anything. I can think of maybe 2 crate brands that are crash tested. As far as I recall, there are no crash test approved seatbelts. As a matter of safety, I would just work on keeping the pup out of the front seat.
 

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If you absolutely cannot have a crate I say use a seat belt harness. Crates do a lot more than “keep a dog out of your face” They keep the dog from becoming a projectile in an accident and they keep your dog safe while first responders are working with you after an accident. I see so many stories of dogs getting away after an accident and being lost. A sturdy harness that buckles to your car is the next best option. I don’t know what kind of SUV you own but Midwest makes special SUV crates that are designed to fit in a SUV. I have 2 of them and I love them!
 

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If you absolutely cannot have a crate I say use a seat belt harness. Crates do a lot more than “keep a dog out of your face” They keep the dog from becoming a projectile in an accident and they keep your dog safe while first responders are working with you after an accident. I see so many stories of dogs getting away after an accident and being lost. A sturdy harness that buckles to your car is the next best option. I don’t know what kind of SUV you own but Midwest makes special SUV crates that are designed to fit in a SUV. I have 2 of them and I love them!
You should probably elaborate on the crate aspect. Most crates do only basically keep the dog out of the face. Wire crates and plastic crates both notoriously collapse on impact. So outside of it being ejected from the vehicle and smashing, freeing the dog, it could also crush your dog. Seatbelt harnesses vary, but most do more harm than good in a crash. They took, “prevent the dog from becoming a projectile”, at the expense of crushing their sternum. And sometimes they even fail at the first part. The only crates I could recommend in good faith are Gunner crates.
 

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I stand by my statement. A loose dog in a vehicle can be very dangerous to the people in the vehicle. I just looked up the crate you mentioned. I don’t know about the op, but I know I don’t have the luxury of buying a $600-$800 crate. If you double that since I have 2, that 3 to 4 car payments. I’m not only thinking of the dog’s safety, the people in the vehicle will be killed if an unsecured 60+ pound dog comes flying across the car and slams them in the head. Somehow, someway, the dog needs to be secured by the best method you can afford/works with your vehicle. The way mine is set up, there’s no way the dogs are flying through the passenger area. The rear end of my van would have to be crushed in over a foot to get to the crates. Plus they both sleep towards the front while traveling. It would take a LOT to crush the rear end that far on my vehicle.
 
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I stand by my statement. A loose dog in a vehicle can be very dangerous to the people in the vehicle. I just looked up the crate you mentioned. I don’t know about the op, but I know I don’t have the luxury of buying a $600-$800 crate. If you double that since I have 2, that 3 to 4 car payments. I’m not only thinking of the dog’s safety, the people in the vehicle will be killed if an unsecured 60+ pound dog comes flying across the car and slams them in the head. Somehow, someway, the dog needs to be secured by the best method you can afford/works with your vehicle. The way mine is set up, there’s no way the dogs are flying through the passenger area. The rear end of my van would have to be crushed in over a foot to get to the crates. Plus they both sleep towards the front while traveling. It would take a LOT to crush the rear end that far on my vehicle.
I do agree about the price point. There are mid level crates on the market. The problem with wires and plastics, is that a dog, just the force of the accident, could cause it to break through the crate. A wire crate is not designed to withstand the force of a dog hitting it and it may still become a projectile. But yes! I do agree that any sort of containment is better than letting a dog run free in a car. Ill attach the 2015 study done on crates. Of note is that most of us do not have 110# dogs, and that is the weight they used in the wire crates.

 

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Even though dog seatbelts aren’t crash tested and probably would not withstand an accident, they are great for keeping the dog out of your way. I would put a harness on your dog, and attach the harness to the buckle using a connector. The one I have has a clip on one side and the other side goes directly into the buckle. It will give your dog boundaries in the car and keep them contained.
 

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This is one of those topics where people forget where most of us came from and how we grew up.

My memories are growing up with my parents buying an old clunker station wagon every few years. They'd buy these cars for $400-600 that were already 20 years old and drive them for like 10 years until engine had it and it was time to buy a "new" car. :) You had the bench seat in front - where if my mom was going on shopping trips, one of us kids would get to sit in the front seat with her. If we were really lucky, there was room for 2 kids up there in the front seat. And then there was a bench seat in the back where 4 kids could comfortably side by side. There were 6 kids in my family - which means that my youngest 2 siblings sat in somebody's lap. And there was room for our dog(s) to sit between someone's legs in back. My youngest 2 siblings were babies before they changed everything and started the new rules about all kids under a certain weight having to sit in a child seat.

With my older niece - my sister was super protective because this was her only child - so we were thinking my niece was going to be a teenager before my sister let her actually just sit in the backseat (She was always very tall, so literally she could have gotten away with just being buckled in the backseat from the time she was 6-7 years old) Likewise, my niece was 16 or 17 before my sister finally allowed her to sit in the front seat.... 🤣

My baby sister meanwhile is facing the reality of having 3 car seats (3 babies age 3 and under) - and this was a reason why she and her husband upgraded to an SUV (basically a minivan though)

I think a lot of that is related to how people approach where a dog sits in the car and how the dog is contained.

With small puppies (younger than 4 months) - I like to have a crate in the front seat.

First few dogs learned how to ride nicely in cars sitting between someone's legs or sitting in someone's lap.

My Jacks was the first dog I raised while driving around in my car and it was a COMPLETE NIGHTMARE driving with a puppy who was jumping up on the dashboard and clawing at the windshield while I was trying to drive. o_O

After him - it was URGENT to have a crate while raising a pup and until they are big enough and old enough to know how to sit nicely.

Buckling dogs in or not - and sticking the dogs way back in the death zone in back or not - that's up to others to decide (with their OWN dogs). But if you choose or choose not to - remember that a lot of us grew up LONG before the child seat generation (and before it became mandatory for adults to buckle up) and we survived. ;)


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All this talk of crashes --->Everybody be careful out there. With less traffic on the road people in my area are driving crazy on the road. I've heard the same from my family in Seattle and Atlanta. I'm beginning to wonder if a symptom of corona is bad driving skills.
I heard car crashes are down - probably because people aren't stuck in traffic every day.
 

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In the past (and currently) I have used/use a regular wire crate for Logan (puppy) and a seatbelt harness for Abby. We're homebound, like everyone else mostly, and this has just been for trips to the vet recently. My plan was to get a new vehicle (that's delayed now) -- the new Ford Bronco when it comes out. My current vehicle is a two wheel drive and I want a four wheel drive for the North Carolina mountains. My first trip up there, I let my front two tires go into the grass at night while doing a three point turn and got stuck/bogged in mud like you wouldn't believe. Doy. A nice man, who didn't turn out to be a serial killer, pulled me out and I sent him cookies. lol

Anyway, I will be on the road a lot heading back & forth to the mountains once we are all free again, so I'm just going to bite the bullet and purchase a crash tested crate. I have always worried about Luke and Abby being in seatbelt harnesses and the wire crate isn't going to offer much protection, other than stopping the projectile thing. I have a seatbelt and airbags, so they need good protection also.
 

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It seems like, in the not-too-distant-future, our options are going to be either (a) put in a divider and use the entire back of our hatchback as a "crate", (b) get a harness that clips into the seatbelt, or (c) get an SUV that can handle the crate.

Any alternatives or advice? Oh, yeah, 'C' is not really an option right now. ;)
It is totally legit that option C is not really an option. My suggestion would be perhaps a combo of A and B?

If you get the divider and use the back end as the crate - good idea - but I would be worried that your pup is still loose in the car if there is an accident and the doors fly open. I might try using a harness in the back area - put a harness on her and tether her, She will still get to move about a bit, but she will be secured to the vehicle.

Of course, probably no option is 100% foolproof. We have learned a lot about vehicle safety in the past few decades, both in terms of humans (and especially small humans) and our pets. As long as we are making the best decisions with the knowledge and resources we have available, you can't do more than that.
 
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We have a Mazda6 estate car, and Scott travels in the boot, with a metal dog guard barrier between him and the back passenger seats. He has plenty of space, and a comfy bed so he can freely turn around and get himself settled down for the journey.
I know if we had a serious accident (if the car rolled), he could not become a canine projectile, and cause additional injuries to any human passengers - likewise he can't be hit by any flying bags etc. (We also have a top box for luggage.)
I am quite aware that he's not attached to the car seat system with a seatbelt, and he's in the crush zone of most cars, and if the boot door popped open in an accident he could theoretically get loose...
(We always travel him with his collar on and lead attached, so if that happened, there would be something that someone could grab him by... Hopefully?)
It's hard to know how best to keep him safe, maybe a crate would be better, but it would give him less room, for an unquantifiable increase in safety.
But I am sure of one thing; his safety comes after the other human passengers in the car. I love my dog, but the humans safety come first. That's why he's behind the metal dog guard. I wouldn't have him in a seatbelt/harness combo on the back seat if I had any human passengers in the car. They don't seem comfortable for the dog, or sufficiently restricting of inertial movement of a dog-shaped object to me - especially not one that weighs 40kg. Being hit even sideways by 40kg travelling at 60mph is very likely to kill a human.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
We have a Mazda6 estate car, and Scott travels in the boot, with a metal dog guard barrier between him and the back passenger seats.
That sounds like a likely option for us. Do you have a full guard barrier (i.e., floor to ceiling), or just a partial (i.e., top of seat to ceiling). I've noted that both are available.

Thanks to all for your feedback and input.

p.s. This "getting set up" for our new four-legged-family-member is getting costly! :rolleyes: :D
 

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I'll take a photo of our setup tomorrow and post it. I guess it's partial, but it's anchored to the back seat head rests, and it's pretty solid. I don't think a flying GR could easily get to through it... Grim thought...
Yep - they do cost money! But starting out is the main expensive bit - it settles down to after... 🤣
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well...

So far, with respect to travel arrangements...

We spent $80 on a crate, which we used to bring our puppy home, and for about 1 week before determining that it was too small for practical use (she fits, but just barely, and hates getting in/out).
We then spent $140 on the-next-size-up crate, which won't fit in our Civic 5dr Hatchback. It fits in our LX470, but we really don't want to have to drive the LX470 just to accommodate a crate.
Now, it looks like another couple of Benjamins as a follow-on to the crate.

It's a good thing she's adorable. :D
 

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We drive a Chrysler T&C minivan. We leave the far rear seats down, and have a waterproof dog mat to cover the entire floor area. We have a metal tube barrier that attaches to the headrests and bases of the middle seats. I goes from the floor to about 8 inches above the seat backs. We have used this rig for around ten years without a problem. The floor mat has a felt-like surface and is slightly padded and is washable. When we brought Sheena home at 8 weeks, she was small enough to get through the barrier and would get into the middle seat -- so she travelled in a crate in back with Amber. She has grown enough to prevent this now.
 
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