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There are lots of other threads on this, but it doesn't matter what size the dog is, a loose dog inside a car is a danger to himself and people in the car in an accident. All the serious dog people I know use some kind of restraint system in the car, whether its a crate or harness of some sort.
Kodi has a donut dog bed to sit in, in the front seat if I'm alone with him, or in the back seat, if there are more people in the car. He is then securely buckled into the seatbelt with a well-made car harness. The brand I use is Vestharness.
While "dog car seats" seem like a nice idea, the ones I have seen all have weak connections between the seat and whatever the dog is wearing. These have been proven to be the weak point, breaking when even a small dog is hurled against them at force in an accident. So if you use a car seat, MAKE SURE that you replace or reinforce that strap with something with really heavy duty webbing AND connections to both the dog and the seat. (or, better yet, the seatbelt)
Also, I've seen people attaching the clip from the car seat to a dog's collar or regular walking harness. Neither is adequate protection, and can cause serious injuries. Even in a dog car seat, use a specially designed car harness that has a padded chest, and spreads the impact over as large an area as possible.
Oh, and if you DO let your dog sit in the front seat, make sure that your passenger seat air bag is disabled the impact of the airbag can crush a small dog... another reason not to let them ride in your lap. (if you're in the seat with them, you can't (or shouldn't) disable the airbag)
Karen, Kodi, Pixel and Panda
(ARCHMX Starborn Kodak Moment BN, PCD, NA, NAJ, CDX-CCH, RE, RL1X3, RL2X3, RL3X2...
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Last edited by krandall; 12-07-2012 at 08:25 AM.