Over the years, we've had many, many dogs. When we took them somewhere, they road loosely in the back seat or in the back of the SUV. Even though we drove much more carefully, especially when stopping or turning corners, the dogs usually ended up falling off the seat or were tossed into the floor.
When we got our most recent pet, we realized that we needed to do more to protect her. Dog carriers weren't as popular years ago and I don't remember ever thinking of owning one. But this dog is not one who would lie down on the seat and calmly go for a ride. When she was still quite small, I knew she was going to be a handful and that's not good when you're driving.
We had seen carriers in stores, but hadn't really checked them out. I was surprised at how strong they are and how much safer our dog would be in one of them. We picked out the size she'd need once grown and bought it.
The carrier has reinforced walls with openings in the sides so the dog can get fresh air and just as importantly, she can see the front seats, so she knows one of us is with her. That seems to help calm her down.
We chose a large carrier so she'd be comfortable and have room to turn around. It takes up most of the back of my SUV.
The latch has a squeeze-type release, so it's easy to open from the outside, but not something the dog can open from the inside. We use tie-down stretch straps to attach the carrier to the interior of the vehicle so it can't slide around.
When we are taking her somewhere, we put in one of her sheepskin throws that she has in her bed, along with a couple of toys so she will be surrounded by things that are familar to her.
Because she doesn't get taken out a lot, she's usually a little bit stressed when first she gets in, but settles down after a few minutes. I look back to check on her and usually see her eyes peering back at me through the vent holes.
The carrier is not just for travel. It can also be used in your home.
Now that I have this carrier and see how much safer she is, I will never consider letting any animals ride loose in my vehicle again. It's just not worth the risk.