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By Dawn Celapino


March 27, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) -- Recently a few of my Leash Your Fitness “dog friends” were in a car accident with their mom. Thank goodness that everyone is safe, but it made me think about how safe my dog, Jack, is in the car with me.


Sometimes I buckle Jack up, but sometimes he roams free and when we get close to our destination, he gets so excited that he jumps all around the car. (He just can’t help it; we go to a lot of really fun places! Jack doesn’t like being buckled in because then he can’t see where we are going. 


But buckling your dog in is for his own good, since it can protect him in case of accident. So what kind of buckle should you use?


Do you put your dogs in the back and think that they are safe back there? That is where my friends were and they were hit from behind. (see their story at What happens if the car is smashed and you are trapped? Or if the door comes open and you jump out and get hit by another car?

What we found is that keeping your furry friend in the front seat is not the best place. If there is a crash and the air bags deploy, they can injure your dog. Letting your dogs free to roam is the WORST option. Our other friend was in an accident and she was also hit from behind and propelled forward into the other car. If her dog would have been free in the car, he would have been propelled through the windshield! As mentioned, the back may not be the best place either.

The middle seat is the preferred place and safely secured with a seat belt. We like this harness system because it is easy to use, does not crush the dogs trachea in case of a collision and comes in cool colors. There are certainly a lot on the market so find one that works for you, that you will use and that your dog will stay in, nce some dogs are escape artists when it come to harnesses.

Check out this website for tons of facts on traveling with your dog. Stay safe everyone because you NEVER expect to be in an accident so ALWAYS be prepared in case that you are!

Dawn Celapino is a fitness trainer with She has taught yoga, kickboxing, boot camp & sculpting classes in corporate, outdoor & residential settings. Dawn loves to run, hike, mountain & road bike, kayak, swim, surf, & yoga. As long as her Cairn Terrier, Jack, is with her, she is happy.

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