How to travel safely in the car with your dog
Oh we love seeing wagging tails at the thought of a car journey. The excitement of a car adventure in their little eyes is just the best! But did you know that it is your responsibility to make sure that your dog is suitably restrained whilst driving?
According to Rule 57 of The Highway Code, it is the driver’s responsibility to:
“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.”
Whilst breaching the Highway Code itself is not an offence, as this guidance is in place it is possible that you could be charged with dangerous driving or driving without due care and attention should you have an accident with an unrestrained dog in the car.
How should you transport your dog in the car?
There are 4 ways to safely transport your dog in a vehicle, meeting the Highway Code guidance. These are:
1. Use a travel harness – Whether your dog enjoys sitting up front or reclining in the back, a travel harness is a great way to keep them safe. Harnesses come in a wide range of sizes and styles and can either clip directly into a seatbelt buckle or you can buy an attachment to insert into the belt buckle which will clip around your dog’s regular harness (do not clip to your dog’s collar). Make sure there is enough slack for them to feel comfortable but enough so they can roam freely. We do offer a harness fitting service either in store or online should you need some help with this. You can also view our full range of harnesses here.
2. Put them in a crate – Depending on the size of your dog, a metal crate might be your best option. These can be easily placed in the boot or secured to the back passenger seats.
3. Put them in carrier – If your dog is a smaller breed, a pet carrier might be more practical, especially if you are staying away from home as they are easier to pack and less cumbersome than a metal crate. Similarly, they can be secured to the back seat.
4. Boot Gate – Does your dog love to roam around in the boot whilst in the car? If so, a boot gate can safely keep them contained to that area, taking away the risk of them bouncing over to the back passenger seats. If you choose to use a boot gate, it is important to note that you should still use a harness or crate to secure your dog.
Top tips for your car journeys
Just before we sign off, we just wanted to give you a few tips when traveling with your dogs to make for a happier journey!
· Always carry water. Dogs can easily become dehydrated on longer journeys. Portable water bottles are a great solution.
· Use a window shade to help keep the car cool, especially in summer.
· Watch out for travel sickness and speak to your vet if necessary.
· Take your dog out in the car regularly. If your dog only goes in the car to go somewhere stressful like the vets, they won’t be a happy passenger. Take them to fun places too so that they learn to love the car.
· Make regular stops – Your dog will want to stretch their legs, get a drink and undoubtably go to the toilet.
· Invest in a waterproof car seat cover to keep those mucky paws off your upholstery.
Laura, Dolly & Reggie xxx