First of all: No, it is not permissible to let a dog ride in the passenger seat, although many people do it this way. If you do not secure the animal correctly, you can expect not only a fine, but even a point in Flensburg. ADAC reveals how to do it right.
Anyone who wants to own a dog has a lot to think about beforehand: how do you train it, how do you go for a walk, which vet should you consider? But what is often overlooked, as always, is the most obvious: wherever you go – to dog school, to the woods, to the doctor – the dog usually has to get in the car. Andreas Muller, head of traffic, technology and the environment at ADAC Südbaden, reveals that you are not allowed to take it on the passenger seat or on your lap. If the police become aware of a dog that has not been properly secured in the car, severe penalties can be imposed.
Even short trips without a seat belt are dangerous – even for an animal
It may seem odd to non-lawyers, but in road traffic, a dog in a car is “a cargo that must be adequately secured against slips, falls, rolling back and forth, and falls,” says Mueller, explaining the legal regulation. “If a dog is not properly insured, a fine of €35-75 may be due. If there is a risk, €60 for the fine will increase by one point in Flensburg.”
In everyday life, it appears time and time again that not all dog owners think about the safety of their animals. According to a representative survey by Autoscout24 from 2021, more than one in three car owners regularly own dogs, but one in five does not adequately secure four-legged passengers. “A dog should not be in the passenger seat of a car!” The head of the Traffic Department confirms. “Dog owners should never forget that even a short drive to go for a walk is a risk if the four-legged friend is not adequately protected.”
The size of the animal does not matter. “Every dog must be secured when driving a vehicle. This is particularly recommended to protect the animal, but also to protect all occupants, as it can also have very serious consequences for the occupants of the vehicle if the dog flies through the interior of the vehicle in the event of a collision.”
The system must fit the dog
A wide range of transmission systems are located on the back seat seat, in the foot of the car or in the trunk of the car:
- dog transport boxes Made of plastic that offers plenty of security at an affordable price according to ADAC. It is perfectly stored in the trunk of a car or in a foot pit. An additional seat belt is required in the trunk, otherwise it will be thrown violently during the evasive maneuver.
There is a rumor that the transfer boxes in the trunk are not safe enough in the event of a rear-end collision. This is just a rumor, Mueller says. “The trunk is definitely not the safest place in the event of a collision from behind. But the dog is also very safe there thanks to the transfer case. Most accidents happen in the front area of the car, so the possibility of being in the trunk should be relatively small.”
- soft bagsWhich can be installed in the back seat with the Isofix system, is also a convenient system, provided that it is installed correctly and selected to fit the size of the dog.
- dog basket They are a good solution for little friends, according to the expert. These are attached to the seat belt in the back seat. However, here it is important to use an additional safety system, such as a fixed chest harness for the dog.
- mesh transport boxes For the trunk is also a practical solution. Here it is important that the volume ratio between the box and the dog is appropriate: if it is too large, the risk of injury to the animal is higher, since it can be thrown uncontrollably. Therefore, it is better to buy one size smaller: there should be room to lie down, but no room to walk back and forth. If the trunk lids are not as large as the entire trunk anyway, they should be tied to the eyes with tie-down straps, or else the dog and the crate will be thrown through the interior of the vehicle in the event of an emergency.
- harness systems There is also a dog. But under no circumstances should it be tied to an ordinary personal belt, as it is adapted to people, and not to four-legged friends. When purchasing special dog harnesses, you should look for fully sewn eyelets, firm steel or aluminum hooks and a good fit. According to the ADAC, it is advisable to try it with your dog, as the straps only provide protection if properly adjusted.
Basically, if you want to decide on a system, you have a very wide range of options. It makes sense to pay attention to crash tests or DIN tests (DIN75410-2). Before you buy, you should think carefully about the right product for your dog. Ideally, you use a closed box of the appropriate size, says Muller. It is recommended to fit the animal prior to purchase just as the patient is acclimated.
How do you get your four-legged friend to get used to his chest?
Keyword acclimatization: What is the best way to get your dog to get used to lying in a mesh box in the trunk without fear? This is not difficult, explains dog trainer Andreas Schuymelin of Oberndorf. You just have to start while the dog is still a puppy. “It’s best to leave the transfer box at home for now and give the dog a regular treat.” A good breeder practices this before handing over the puppy to the owner.
Mostly there are problems because people make it too complicated. “If a dog is unsafe, people usually react very cautiously and make them even more insecure,” says the principal of a dog school in Oberndorf. If the dog is hesitant, sometimes it is more appropriate to say, ‘Come in and let’s go. But of course this only works with dogs who are not really afraid to drive.” There are such cases too. For example, with street dogs collected in the south and not accustomed to the living environment in Germany, or even if the breeder has done preliminary work bad.
If your dog is afraid of driving, you can try to confront him. He describes the procedure, “Then you leave the box open and park the car. You should also leave the engine switched off at first. After that the dog is fed exclusively in the box in the luggage compartment for a few weeks.” If the animal refuses for a few days, this is not a health problem for a dog of normal weight. “Then the dog learns to associate the car with something positive, namely food. And he discovers that the trunk is not a bad thing and that nothing is happening to him there.”
What if the fur nose gets sick?
However, the most common motor problem in dogs is that they get sick while driving. You can also train your sense of balance. “Some dogs find it helpful to look outside while driving. We humans know that while driving, we tend to get sick if we can’t see passing landscapes.” So when choosing a transmission system, you can be sure that your dog has a clear view of the outside. If this does not help, then the owner has to start with short car rides and slowly increase the distance. This is how the problem can be brought under control, explains the dog trainer.