When he was young, my dog Zack was hit by a car. He was OK, just a little bruised, but the memory of it still plagues my mind.
Since that day, I do everything in my power to keep my dogs safely on a leash when they’re outside a confined space like a building or fence.
Luckily, I discovered the power of a carabiner. Carabiners make my job as Dog Safety Monitor much easier.
Carabiners and Leashes
Carabiners are metal loops with spring-loaded “gates”. You can quickly and easily connect stuff together using carabiners.
I have a carabiner attached to each of my dogs’ leashes at the handle. I don’t even notice them until I need them.
I use the carabiners to temporarily anchor my dogs to things For example:
- a car
- a picnic table
- my belt
- a fence
With my dogs securely on leash and carabinered to something, it’s like having an extra hand or two. I use the carabiners constantly when on dog road trips.
Choose Your Carabiner
Go to your local hardware or outdoor sports equipment store and find the sturdy carabiners. Don’t get the flimsy key-chain and decorative variety (they break and bend easily!) I found mine at a hardware store for under $10 each.
Gates and Shapes
Carabiners come in various shapes. Most are “D”, oval, or pear shaped.
The all-important “gate” is the spring-loaded opening. You can open it easily, one-handed. Just apply a little pressure to open the gate then let it snap shut.
- I prefer a solid “gate”, note the wire-looped kind. There is less opportunity for something to snag.
- I recommend a straight gate. The curved/bent kind can get unclipped if “not used correctly”.
- I chose a non-locking gate. The locking mechanism is a cumbersome. I’d use a locking one, however, in non-temporary situations.
- My carabiners are pear-shaped. The narrow part of the pear keeps it snug on the leash handle so it doesn’t swing around while walking.
Get a heavy-duty carabiner that fits both your leash and intended use.
- Bring your leash when choosing your carabiner. You’ll want to make sure it fits nicely somewhere on or near the handle.
- Pick a place on the car that you can attach the carabiner, like a “clip” on the inside of a door frame. Make sure the carabiner is the right size so it fits easily on whatever you’ll be attaching it to.
The sliding doors on my van have a safety mechanism so it will not close if a dog is in the way. Keep this in mind when attaching a leashed dog to a door frame.
You want to be careful that a car door will not swing shut on your dog.
Making transitions during dog road trips is safer now that I use carabiners. Dogs are much less likely to get into danger even if I am distracted.