Gracie loves a car ride --- except when we end up at the vet's office!
I've taken Gracie on short car rides ever since I adopted her. Through the years she's accompanied us on a few long car trips without any problems. She'd much rather spend a lot of time in the car with us than be left home without us.
Years ago I tried using a dog seat belt on Gracie but it seemed uncomfortable for her. Now I take my chances and let Gracie sit/lie on the car's back seat. I cover the seat with an old quilt or blanket. For longer car rides I wedge pillows on the floor between the back and front seats, to create a floor of pillows as high as the back seat (or sometimes a little higher). My hope is the pillows will prevent injuries if I stop short and she's thrown forward.
I don't take Gracie on car rides in the summertime unless it's absolutely necessary. If I must, I always use the air conditioning and never leave her alone in the car. We had a few cooler days this past week so I let Gracie accompany me on an evening ride through a few drive-throughs (bank, library, post office). Even on a cooler summer evening I wouldn't leave Gracie in the car to go into a store. With the windows open the temperature inside the car could still get too warm for a dog.
I know many people leave their car windows wide open so their dogs can hang their heads out in the wind as they drive. It looks cute and the dogs permitted to do this seem like they're in seventh heaven, but I never thought it was a good idea for my dog. I keep all the car windows closed if we're on the highway. When we're off the highway I open the two back windows a bit so Gracie can take in the new smells around her as we drive. I never open the windows wide enough for her to stick her entire head out.
A car ride --- even a short one --- provides a change of scenery and plenty of intellectual stimulation for a dog. There's not much a dog wants more than to spend time with his people (or his person). Riding around with you is usually a lot better for your dog than than staying at home alone, wondering where you are and when you're coming back.
Above Photo: Gracie patiently waiting for me to stop taking pictures so we can begin our car ride. "Let's go already, please!"