Keeping Dogs Safe On Road Trips

by Houndstooth on

It’s not much of a secret that we travel a lot with our dogs.  Sometimes it’s just a short trip into town for errands together, sometimes it’s a road trip to a fun adventure destination, other times it’s training, or it could end up to be a longer road trip that takes us several days.  Most of the time, if we can take a dog or two or three somewhere with us, we do.  However, there’s one thing that’s always bothered me when we take our dogs with us, and that has to do with keeping dogs safe on our road trips.

When Morgan and Küster travel, they ride in a crate.  For Bunny and Flattery, that isn’t so much an option.  For one thing, I can’t fit two crates in the SRX and for another, they really don’t like riding in crates.  I want them to be both safe and comfortable, and so I’ve been looking for a solution that would keep them safe and still let them look around and enjoy the journey.  We tried a couple of different seat belt systems and always had the same problem.  The girls get their legs tangled up because they occasionally want to get up and turn around to get more comfortable.  No matter how I’ve set the crazy things up, the problem happens and it’s not fun to be driving down the road and suddenly hear the Greyhound Scream of Death.  This results in having to pull the car over, get said Greyhound untangled, resettled and then reattached.  It’s not fun for anyone, and that GSOD can take a few years off your life, especially when you aren’t expecting it.

When I saw that Kurgo had a zip line that attaches to a leash to operate as a seat belt, I knew I had to have it.  I ordered one to test it out and see how it works, and I really like it.  Actually, I plan to get a second one now that I’ve tried the first one so that I have one for Bunny in the back seat and one for Flattery in the cargo bay.  There are lot of things that I like about it.

Tether Close Up

Tether Close Up

The first thing I like is that it’s easy to use.  You take a little time setting up the zip line the way you want it and it’s very versatile.  You can put it between two seat belts, handles on the ceiling, around the seat or between the head rests like we did.  Not only can it work in a car, you can use it on a boat or other vehicle that has a seat you want to keep your dog secure in.  I set ours up so that it was up higher, which eliminates the problem of the dogs getting their legs tangled up when they turn around.

Zip Line Between the Head Rests -- Tales and Tails

Zip Line Between the Head Rests

Our dogs are pretty well-trained to wait in the car until we tell them to jump out, but with the zip line, they can’t do that even if they forget to wait for our instructions.  I think back to that busy night on the highway a few months ago when I had that flat tire and had to move Flattery from the cargo area to the back seat and how nervous I was about opening that back hatch along the side of the interstate.  I admit that I had a lot of fear that I would experience the one time when I had to get my dog out of the back and things went wrong.  That was one of the most harrowing parts about that ordeal for me.  If I’d had the zip line then, there would have been no worry about her jumping out and getting away from me.  The tether part of the product is actually a leash, so you can unhook it and never have to worry about your dog getting loose if you want.  If you’re traveling with a dog you’re unfamiliar with, that’s young or unpredictable, that can be a real life saver.

Zip Line in the Cargo Area -- Tales and Tails

Zip Line in the Cargo Area

Another thing I like about it is that it’s fully customizeable.  You can adjust the zip line itself to fit any reasonable area.  The leash that comes with it also has a series of loops along it so that you can make it the perfect length for your dog.  This is the part that has really made it work for us. You can also use the leash by itself if you have something you want to attach it to in the car somewhere, like a handle in the cargo area.

The Princess Has Arrived -- Tales and Tails

The Princess Has Arrived

Things you should know if you decide you want one of your own is that it does not come with a harness.  You’ll need to get one of those yourself.  I’d prefer it if it had a swivel attachment at the end of the leash instead of a fixed clip, but that’s a small complaint.  So far, that hasn’t decreased our happiness with how it works in the least.  There is also not an option to get a second tether by itself, which I wish they’d offer, but perhaps it will come in the future.  Overall, these are pretty small complaints, though.  None of these things will keep me from ordering another one of these in the very near future.

Flattery Ready to Go -- Tales and Tails

Flattery Ready to Go

We have been very happy with our Kurgo products and I highly recommend them for people who want to travel with their dogs.  Their products give us a lot of peace of mind that our dogs are going to be safe in the event that something unexpected happens.  Combined with the hammock that we have in the back seat, I feel like we are good to go to have safe travels to all the adventures that life has in store for us.

20% off dog harnesses, car seat covers and more

[disclaim]We were not compensated for this review.  We were offered the Kurgo Zip Line for a discounted price to use for this review.  We are Kurgo affiliates because we really like their products and believe that they make our dogs’ lives safer and more fun.  We will get a small amount of money to keep the lights on here if you order by clicking the link in this post or the banner in our sidebar to order products from Kurgo, but that doesn’t affect our review of the product. Tales and Tails does not endorse products that we don’t feel comfortable using ourselves.[/disclaim]


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13 Responses to "Keeping Dogs Safe On Road Trips"
  1. Sue Dyer says:

    That’s a fab product. I have a hammock in the back seat for Polly and a seat belt strap. it simple clicks into the seatbelt and then clips to her collar. It’s long enough she can get up and turn around if she wants.

  2. Reilly & Denny Cowspotdogs says:

    those look like great ideas….we have seat belt harnesses for the boys that work wonderfully too

  3. Rebecca says:

    I have been looking at this for some time now and figured I could make one myself, but, like you hadn’t figured out a good way. So … looks like we will be placing an order for this soon. Especially with the little guy now who doesn’t know all the “rules” yet. Thanks for this review!

  4. I have been looking for something like this, but was having a hard time finding one I felt would work. I will definitely have to try this out. My dogs are very good in the car. They know where they are supposed to be and that they have to wait to be let out. You just never know when the unexpected might happen and I’d rather be on the safe side!

  5. I’ve been checking out tether systems for a sailboat and I’ve bookmarked your review. I think I’d prefer a bungee style leash, though. Something that will spring into a shorter shape so there’s less to get tangled in.

    As for car travel, we have a unique system. We only have a car when we’re going on vacation and usually we stuff everything so right in the back seat that between pillow, blankets, clothes, etc, Honey is encased in a secure, tightly packed, and soft “crate.”

  6. M. K. Clinton says:

    We are looking for a new vehicle and will be purchasing a cover for Bentley to ensure his safety and comfort. Thanks for a great review.

  7. jan says:

    Thanks for the suggestions. The Poodle Scream of Death is pretty horrendous too, but the Chihuahua Scream of Death stops all traffic.

  8. Colby says:

    We have a seat belt harness we’ve been using since Linus was a puppy, but I’ve been looking around for something new. Our guide dogs puppies are required to lie down on the passenger side floor boards. I’ve heard it’s safer there because they are in one of the crumple zones of the car.

    I’ll have to take a look at the zip line although both Linus and Adelle are pretty well trained to wear the seatbelt harness and do well even though their movement is restricted.

  9. Maggie says:

    I’ve been searching for something similar… maybe this will work? When I travel with the three boys, it’s either they get horribly tangled, which is unsafe. Or, I have to leave them all free in the back, which is also unsafe. I may check this out and see if I could do multiples in the back of my car?? Saving this as a reference!

  10. Jan K, Wag N Woof Pets says:

    I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to secure the dogs. We got a barrier that keeps them in the back, and it works fine, except that Luke has figured out he can just leap right over it! So he needs to be secured back there, but I’d like them to be able to move around some. This might work for us too.

  11. This looks and sounds like a fabulous set up!

  12. sage says:

    This is the system I started with (the zip line) when we still had Toby. I’ve now got Sage secured in the car with just the strap that attaches to the frame (in one car) or directly into the seat belt latch (in the other). She rides in style on her hammock so at least *most* of the sand/mud from her mud-puddling is contained.

  13. Sara Blair says:

    I thought I’d tried every car restraint system…but that’s one I haven’t tried yet!

    Seat belts don’t work for my spinning Chewy. He’s tangled up before we even leave the driveway 🙂 He’s crated in my car, but this might be a good option for my hubby’s truck.

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