This weekend, we’re adopting a shelter dog. His name is Abe, and he’s a 2yo, 25lb Lab/Terrier mix. He’s been in the shelter for about a year, and he’s very timid and scared of new people. He just needs a bit of time and understanding. What better people to give him that time and understanding than two Ag and Bio Engineering grads? 😉

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We’re both outdoorsy people. We love camping, trail riding, etc, and this dog will be joining us on our many adventures. As such, we need a way to safely and comfortably transport him. When we go on these adventures, we usually take my truck because of the extra room for gear. Small problem though: there’s limited room in the cab for a pupper. I decided to remove my rear folding seat and make Abe his own doggy seat, complete with a seatbelt.

This is the backseat area with the folding rear seat removed.

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This is the driver’s side, but the passenger side is just a mirror image. I want him behind the passenger seat so I can keep an eye on him while I’m driving.

I started by measuring the available space and making a level platform out of scrap wood I had laying around. On the left, the seat is all the way forward. On the right, it is all the way back.

After creating the platform to perfectly fit in the available space, I drilled holes for the bolts that used to anchor the folding seat to the truck. I had to counter-sink them into the wood so I wouldn’t have to use longer bolts. I used two bolts to keep it from moving around. The bolts won’t be the main means of securing the dog – I just don’t want it moving around when the dog moves.

Then I went to Menards and got a $2 cheap-as-hell floor mat and 3/4″ roofing nails with large heads. I stretched the mat over the platform and tacked it down securely with the roofing nails. The nails don’t protrude through the wood, so I can store things under the platform in the space it creates.

With the seat all the way back, he will still have plenty of room to sit upright, look out the window, put his head between the front seats, and lay down. When I bring him home, I’ll have the seat all the way forward so he doesn’t feel so cramped until he gets used to it. I’m going to organize the stuff in the backseat before I go get him… Wouldn’t want him getting into my snack stash!

Lastly, I ordered a “doggy seatbelt.” It’s just a length of adjustable nylon with a snap on one end and a universal seatbelt end on the other.

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The intention is to clip one side to the dog’s harness (not a collar), and clip the other side into a standard seatbelt receiver. However, this should only be done in certain circumstances. There are no regulations on canine safety restraints, so there’s no telling how effective these products are if you use them like you would use a human seatbelt. Subaru did a study on this, and found that only one product on the market right now will protect your dog in a real collision if they’re in the seat like a human would be.

The way I’m using this seatbelt is different and will keep Abe safe. He’s positioned behind the passenger seat, and the only function of the strap itself is to keep him where he would be stopped by the passenger seat if we were to get into an accident. The clip on the strap needs to be strong enough to not break in an accident; I don’t trust the clip that came on it, so I replaced it with a heavy-duty version. I used the space in the seatbelt end to anchor it to the old seatbelt anchor in the truck with the standard bolt that was used previously.

I’m excited to pick up our new fur-baby! We’ll see how he likes his truck setup.

Questions? Let us know!

Update: 

He LOVES it! 

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