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Safest Travel Options for Your Dog: Ensuring Safety and Comfort on the Road

Safest Travel Options for Your Dog

Most pet owners love taking their White Lab or English Cream Golden on vacation or to pet-friendly places like TJ MAXX or Home Depot for socialization, training, or bonding. But what is the safest way for our furry best friends to travel with us? We wear seat belts to keep us safe in case of an accident, and we need to think about keeping our dogs safe too.

When it comes to travel safety, there are many options, which can be overwhelming. It’s important to look at all your choices and decide what works best for you, your dog, and your vehicle. These options include travel kennels, harnesses, seat belt attachments, and even car seats! This article will focus on traveling with your dog using the different options available for pet parents.

Fun Fact:

Rhode Island has a law requiring pets to be restrained while the vehicle is in motion. You can face a fine of up to $200.

Travel Safety

Safety Benefits

Ensuring travel safety for your dog is crucial, and there are several effective options available. The main reason these options are popular is the containment and protection they provide. Restraining your dog prevents them from moving around the car, reduces the risk of driver distraction, and minimizes injury chances in case of accidents or sudden stops. Free-roaming dogs can become projectiles during an accident or distract you while driving. Proper restraints also stop them from escaping when car doors are opened, preventing accidents where your dog could be injured.

Mental Benefits

Not only do travel restraints provide physical protection from injuries, but they can also help with car or travel anxiety. Similar to crate training indoors to address separation anxiety, a travel crate or restraint gives your dog their own space to feel secure and safe while traveling. This can also give you peace of mind knowing they are safely contained, along with better organization in your car for luggage or passengers, making the journey more comfortable for everyone. The biggest benefit of travel kennels is cleanliness, as they help contain dirt, hair, and any accidents, especially on longer trips.

Travel Kennels

How to Properly Fit Your Dog for Travel

Most people think that the kennel they have inside the home can be used in the car. While a kennel is better than not having one at all, the size of the kennel changes between sleep/daytime containment and travel safety. When at home, you want your dog to be able to stand up, turn around, and lie down, but still have enough room to stretch out and be comfortable during longer stays. When it comes to travel, though, the dog needs to be touching the kennel on three of the four sides when lying down. A more snug fit restricts excess movement, preventing them from hitting the sides and distributing the force of the impact more evenly, keeping your dog even safer.

What Kennels Are the Safest

There are many kennel options in general, and you may want to look at multiple options to decide which one works best for your dog and your car. When you are measuring your dog for their crate, you need one that is about twice as wide as your dog, 4 inches longer than your dog from tip of nose to base of tail, and just above their head for height. This allows the kennel to be snug but still comfortable.

  1. Ruffland Kennels These kennels are very popular as they are more affordable, not as heavy as others, but still safe during an accident as they are a single piece mold, eliminating weak points. Rufflands also have quite a few vent holes throughout to ensure adequate ventilation for your White Lab or English Cream Golden Retriever. Because they are so durable and only one piece, they also make great choices for known escape artists.
  2. Gunner Kennels Gunner Kennels are most likely the safest option for kennels because of their Center of Pet Safety Certification, meaning they have undergone multiple crash tests and ensure they meet the safety standard for impact during car crashes. Gunners also have a double-wall design similar to high-end coolers for strength and durability. The handles on the doors are steel mechanisms that allow the doors to be locked and durable!
  3. Dakota Kennels Similar to Rufflands, Dakota kennels are made as a single mold that enhances the durability and integrity of the kennel itself. Their door, like the Gunner, has strong latches that keep the door securely closed and locked when traveling. What makes their door unique from Ruffland or Gunner is that it is durable steel with a reinforced frame, which is great in case of impact or if your dog has some kennel anxiety.

Overall Features

There are many other brands that provide safe travel for your dog, but these are the industry front runners right now. What these kennels, and others, have in common are their drainage holes for easy cleaning, safety due to a durable design, the variety of sizes they come in, and ease of use when maneuvering around cars or in the home.

Car Seat Belts & Harnesses

How to Fit a Harness and Seatbelt Attachment

Car seat belts and harnesses have become popular if you do not have the space in your car for a kennel or if they are more convenient if you use a harness for walks/hiking. However, it is very important to fit them properly so that your dog does not come out of the harness during travel. When it comes to measuring your dog, you will need to measure their neck at the widest point near their shoulders, chest at the widest point of their ribcage, and know their weight. Any Y-front harness that has a leash attachment on the back will work for the car, and when the harness is fit properly, you will only be able to fit 2 fingers between the harness and your dog’s body.

The most important piece of equipment for this is the seat belt attachment. It has a leash clip on one end and a seatbelt buckle on the other. This way, when you load your White Lab or English Cream Golden in the car for a road trip, you can easily clip the back of the harness and then buckle in the other end like you would your own buckle.

Car Seats for Dogs

What Are Dog Car Seats?

While these are mostly designed for small to medium-sized dogs, they can still be an option for your White Lab or English Cream Golden when they are a puppy and growing to provide a positive experience for travel. Some options do get large enough for larger breeds, but check the sizes to ensure your dog will fit comfortably.

  1. Booster Seats Dog booster seats allow the dog to be elevated, allowing them to see out the window while staying safely contained. Most come with built-in harnesses or attachment points to ensure the dog is secure.
  2. Bucket Seats This is probably the best option for larger dogs as they sit securely on the seat and act almost like a kennel without the roof. These are secured by using the seatbelt and tall sides to prevent them from moving around the cabin of the car.
  3. Convertible Seats These are great options as they can act as a car seat, carrier, or even a dog bed depending on your needs. These also allow your dog to be out in the car, safely contained, and give them a place to sleep during overnight stays!


Overall, when it comes to travel safety, there are many options, but a kennel tends to be at the top of the list for safety and ease of use for your White Lab or English Cream Golden Retriever. Whether you are going on a long road trip with your furry best friend or just down the street for a quick shopping trip, having peace of mind that your dog is safe no matter what is priceless, regardless of the safety route you decide to go!

Are you thinking about getting a White Lab puppy? Come visit Snowy Pines White Labs at our Ozark home or view our puppy live stream to see healthy dogs in action.

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About the Author


Tom Massey

Tom Massey has owned and operated Snowy Pines Labradors for over a decade. They have become the leaders in English Labradors in the US. He and his team serve customers all over the US and Europe. They house their "dog family" in a state of the art facility on a large farm in the Ozark Mountains. With an obsession for genetics and temperament they raise and train dogs known across the globe for health and personality. Tom serves the pet industry in many forms campaigning for ethical breeding, training, and pet ownership.


Calm Tempered, AKC Purebred, and Certified Genetics.