Inevitably, in your dog’s lifetime, they are going to have to travel in a car. Whether this is when you pick them up and bring them home, take them to the vets for their check-ups and vaccines, or to the park or the beach for adventures.
But how do you travel your dog in the car correctly and making sure their safety isn’t compromised?
Don’t you worry, we have the answers right here for you!
From the different types of restraints and car seats to the correct and best way to transport them in safety and comfort, we have you covered.
So, while we’re talking about comfort, get yourself comfy and read on!
The Legal Way Of Travelling With Your Dog
As it states in the Highway code in rule 57 “When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.”
This simply means that if you are travelling with your dog in the car, whether it’s five minutes down the road or two hours away, they must always be secure and restrained.
This is not only put in place for your safety, but for your dogs, pedestrians, and other road users.
It can be very easy for your dog to jump over the back seats if they are in the boot and distract you whilst driving which can be very dangerous. We love our pets and never want to intentionally put them in danger, so always keep them safe and restrained.
What Is There On The Market?
As there’s so many different designs and adaptations of restraints on the market today, it’s nearly impossible to list everyone.
But we are going to give you a better understanding about what a good restraint looks like and how it works in keeping your pooch safe.
A crate can be a great way to ensure that your pooch has a safe and secure journey.
This will prevent them from moving around, trying to get to you whilst driving, and in the unfortunate event of a crash, stops them from being thrown around the car and hopefully reducing the severity of any injuries incurred.
Crates can be great for nervous dogs as they may already be acclimatised to a crate from training as a puppy. This will make them feel more relaxed and help them to settle.
If they prefer to sit in the boot instead of on the back seats, then you will need to purchase a boot gate.
This is a barrier to prevent them from jumping onto the back seats and coming to say hello to you whilst driving, this can not only be stressful but also very dangerous.
A boot gate simply fits to the back of the back seats and fills in the gap. If you are to use a boot gate, your dog should still be restrained by a harness or a crate in the boot.
A harness or a seatbelt is a great way to safely travel your dog without the worry of them moving about and being in danger if the event of an accident.
Using a seatbelt or harness allows them to be on the front or back seat and remain safe. This is great for those dogs who can be nervous or unsettled in a crate in the boot.
Why Your Dog Should Be Secure When You Are Travelling
The biggest reason for securing your dog is to ensure their safety. We love our dogs so much, so why put them in any danger?
Afterall, our dogs look to us to keep them safe, so it’s our responsibility to remain vigilant and aware of what safety issues may arise.
Whilst it is yet to be made illegal for you to travel with your dog loose, it stated in the highway code (rule 57) that if an accident is caused due to your dog not being restrained, the police may class this as dangerous driving and your insurance policy may not be able to cover you due to your loose dog causing an accident.
By securing your dog in either a cage, seatbelt, or behind a boot guard, you are minimising the risks to yourself, or anybody else in the vehicle.
Another thing to consider is how some dogs become travel sick whilst riding in a car. To prevent this, allow them to look out of the window and have your window cracked open for a fresh breeze to blow through. Also, try to avoid feeding them right before the journey.
If you are travelling long distances, plan toilet breaks, and leg stretches to get the blood circulation going. Whilst we might be able to travel a longer journey and ignore the discomfort, our canine friends are not so good at this and require more regular breaks.
This may not be a bad thing, as it will also give you a chance to stretch your legs and have a little adventure too.
If your dog is positioned in the front seat, be sure that you deactivate the passenger airbag and do not let them hang their head out of the window. If they hang their head out of the window, there is an increased chance of injury from flying debris.
We hope that after having read through this blog, you’ll feel more confident travelling with your canine companion and have a better idea on how to keep them comfortable and safe whilst travelling.
Always be sure that whichever restraint you are using, it’s been correctly fitted and working in the event of an accident.
Finally, if you are taking your pooch on holiday with you, enjoy all the memories you both will make!!!