When you are bringing a pet on a journey, no matter how long or short the distance, it is important to keep them safe in the vehicle.
We restrain ourselves and young children in cars, yet fail to have appropriate restraints for animals. An unsecured pet can be very distracting for the driver and also very unsettling for the pet. There are simple and effective ways to keep your pet safe in a car while driving.
Here are Dogs Trust’s Top Tips for Travelling Safely in the Car:
Make sure your dog is secure and comfortable on a journey for their own safety and so they cannot distract you - they should be fitted with a correctly sized harness or within a travelling crate or container.
Never leave your dog alone in the car - even if it seems cool outside it can become very hot very quickly. Parking in the shade and / or keeping the windows down does not make it safe.
Take care that there are no loose or dangling pieces that could get wrapped around a paw or their neck.
Make sure you keep your dog as cool as possible when driving: avoid travelling during the heat of the day, use sun blinds on the windows and consider opening a window a little to allow a cooling breeze to circulate in the vehicle.
Make sure you have a supply of water and know where you can stop off on route for water breaks. Dogs are not able to cool down as effectively as humans so could suffer from heatstroke and dehydration very quickly.
Allow your dog to become familiar with car journeys by ensuring they have positive experiences over a number of short trips before embarking on a long journey.
Plan your journey time and route carefully as you'll need to stop at regular intervals to exercise your dog.
Consider your pup with regards to your destination. Busy environments, such as bustling city centres or loud carnivals and public events are not always suitable for dogs as they can get distressed.
Feed your dog no sooner than two hours before a long journey to ensure he does not have a full stomach when travelling.
Take a supply of your dog's usual food in the event that you get stuck in traffic or breakdown.
Don’t put your shopping within reach of your dog in case he ingests something he shouldn’t.
Keep the dog's harness and lead close to hand in case you need to get out of the vehicle.
Take care opening doors at arrival – just in case anything has come loose – so teach a wait command to avoid the dog trying to bound out of the car.
Dogs Trust advises that owners shouldn't allow their dog to hang their head out of the window whilst they are moving as this could be potentially dangerous for the dog, and distracting for the owner.
Dogs Trust also have teamed up with Skoda to show why you should never leave a dog in a car on a hot day: