Do Dog Seat Belts Really Work?

Yes! Dog seat belts work to protect your dog while driving. Whether you are using a dog harness and seatbelt or a secured crate, keeping your dog restrained while in a moving car will help ensure that they don't get hurt in an accident, they don't hurt another passenger, or run away after an accident.

Pets, like children, should be safely restrained while traveling. All it takes is a sudden stop or turn to seriously injure your pet, not to mention what could happen if you got in an accident.

Unrestrained pets are also the cause of many accidents, as they can distract or even interfere with the driver's ability to control the vehicle. Today's pet restraints and car seats quickly and easily attach to a vehicle's seat belt, and provide plenty of freedom for the pet to sit up or lie down. Wire cages or plastic crates are also excellent choices to protect pets while traveling, as they shield pets from falling objects.

Reasons to Put a Seat Belt on Your Dog

“While pets roaming around the car can be cute and convenient, it poses serious risk for both drivers and their pets, both in terms of causing distractions and increasing the chances of serious injury in the event of an accident,” says veterinarian Dr. Elisa Mazzaferro of Cornell University Veterinary Specialists in response to the a study done by Volvo and The Harris Poll.

  • Seat belts reduce the risk of death. In people deaths were reduced by 45% and injuries during crashes reduced too. Putting one on your dog can save their life.
  • Dogs are a distraction. Nine people are killed every day in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver, says the CDC.
  • Unrestrained dogs can turn into a deadly projectiles. During a car crash, a ten-pound dog exerts 500 pounds of force during a 50-mile-per-hour collision
  • Unsafe driving behaviors increases. Study found that unsafe and distracted driving more than doubled when driving with an unrestrained pet.
  • Seat belts work. Seat belts prevent the wearer getting ejected or colliding with other passangers. According to the CDC, in 2017 seat belts saved almost 15,000 human lives in the United States alone.
  • Dogs are stressed when unrestrained in a car. Both drivers and dogs show higher stress levels when dogs were unrestrained.


Only 16% of dog owners use a restraint such as a seat belt harness or crate while driving with their dog. If you're ready to make a change and put your dog's safety first, here are some resources to help you out.

a dog sticking their head out of a car window

What is the safest dog seat belt?

You might be surprised to learn that most seat belts for dogs aren't tested and those that are? Many are not tested in the US. The Center for Pet Safety is a non-profit that tests pet crates, carriers and harnesses and is a good resource for finding the safest pet seat belts.

a dog chewing their toy

Dog seat belt safety for anxious chewers.

If your dog likes to chew, or is an anxious chewer, here are a few tips to keep them from chewing their seatbelt.