How to travel safely with Pets
Making sure your pets are comfortable for their journey will also make your life easier.
Regular breaks are important and invest in a spill proof water bowl so they have access to fresh water when they want it. Experts recommend that you stop every two hours. Your dog can stretch his legs and also relieve himself, so there'll be no accidents in your car! It is also suggested that by giving your pet just a small amount of food and water on your rest breaks you can reduce the chances of them getting car sick.
Perhaps the most important thing is to make sure your pets are well secured. A cat carrier should be of a big enough size so they can comfortably turn around and lie down. This will stop them becoming too distressed. Always double check the fastenings on your carrier and ensure it is well secured in the car. Having a scared pet running loose around your car while you're driving down the motorway is not an experience you want to have!
There are a wide range of restraining harnesses available for dogs if they are happy to sit on the seat for the journey. For larger dogs, the boot is usually the best option. However, if your dog is loose in the back and you have to brake suddenly, this could propel the dog forward. To prevent this you have several options: a dog crate is ideal. It's a good idea to get your dog used to the crate in the house first so he's familiar with it, then secure it safely in the boot before your journey.
It's also well worth investing in a barrier that you install in the opening between the boot and the back seats. Do bear in mind that you will need a guard that is made specifically to fit your vehicle. Your local Swansway Group dealership will be able to help you to find all of the right accessories to help keep your pet totally totally secure in your car.
When you're in the market for a new vehicle, do bear in mind the requirements of the pets as well as yourselves! A panoramic roof is a real treat, but your dog can soon overheat on a hot day. A car with a built in sunshade for the panoramic roof would easily solve this problem. Take a look at the Jeep Grand Cherokee for a good example of this.
How can I keep my dog safe in the car?
- Keep things secure
- Don’t leave your dog in the car
- Keep them cool
- Stay calm
- Positive reinforcement
- Take supplies
- Always have the lead close to hand
It’s important to keep your dog safe and legal when travelling with them in the car.
Many people have bought pets during lockdown, meaning dog ownership in particular has skyrocketed. Because they need walking, transporting them in the car can be a regular occurrence.
With lockdown rules easing in the UK, this is likely to become even more common, so we’ve spoken to dog welfare charity Dogs Trust to find out the best way to keep your four-legged friend safe and comfortable in the car.
A spokesperson for Dogs Trust said: “Not all dogs love travelling in the car, so please be aware of this before embarking on a trip. If you’re unsure, avoid journeys while you seek the guidance of an experienced behaviourist. If you know your four-legged friend enjoys a car ride, it’s important to make sure they are safe, comfortable and feel confident.”
Dogs Trust also recommends calling 999 if you spot a distressed dog locked in a vehicle.
Keep things secure
According to the Highway Code, dogs must be properly secured in a vehicle. There are various ways to do that, such as a properly-fitting seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or in the boot behind a dog guard.
Many modern cars in particular have dog-specific accessories that are designed to work with your vehicle, but you can also get these items from pet shops or car-specific shops.
Keep them cool
Keeping your dog’s temperature down while they’re in the car is hugely important. You can buy non-spill water bowls for the journey, and occasionally stopping to give them a quick walk in the fresh air will always help.
You should also avoid travelling at the hottest times of the day, and consider buying blinds for the windows. Most important of all, never leave a dog in the car on a hot day.
Don’t leave your dog in the car
It might be tempting to leave your dog unattended for a short period, perhaps while you nip into a shop to pick up a couple of items. However, doing so can increase the risk of theft, so take them with you if you can.
Pets can't deal with the heat like we can. What might feel like a fine temperature to us could cause major problems for your pets.
Additionally though, you also need to consider that sadly pets can be stolen when they're on their own in a vehicle so keep them safe and with you at all times. If you’re filling up with petrol, make sure the car is locked, or ask a passenger to take them for a quick stroll to stretch their legs and keep them safe.
Keeping your dog calm can be a great way to make the journey better for them. Meanwhile, you should also make sure the dog is paying attention to you before opening the door – if you just let them jump out as soon as they can, it will train them to do so, even when it might be dangerous.
Therefore, you should train them to not leave the vehicle until you’ve put the lead on.
Travelling in the car can be a scary experience for dogs, especially if they’re quite new to it. You should try to keep the first journeys short to get them used to it before building up to longer trips, and provide positive reinforcement when they’re well behaved.
Always have the lead close to hand
You should always keep your dog’s lead close to hand when you’re driving because if you need to leave the vehicle in an emergency, keeping the dog safe will be one less thing to worry about.
It’s a good idea to take your dog’s favourite food with you, particularly on longer trips. This way if you get stuck in traffic or you’re driving through their usual dinner time, your dog won’t have to suffer on an empty belly.
For safety, always ensure that you let your dog out of the car on the pavement side, this will reduce the risk of them running into traffic, and save your nerves and those of other drivers.
If you have a big dog then it follows that you need a car with plenty of space such as the Q3 from the Audi Q range. With a generous 420L boot you've got plenty of space for even the biggest of dogs in there!
Another car with a generous boot size is the Honda Civic Tourer. Not only do you get a whopping 642L boot, you've also got plenty of options when it comes to seat arrangement. This flexibility is great for families, but also brilliant for pets. Some breeds of dog can injure themselves quite easily jumping in and out of a car so a ramp is a great way to help them get safely loaded.
You can view our range of Pet Safety Accessories online as well as our range of cars to suit you and your four-legged friend. Or pop in to your nearest showroom and we'll be happy to help you find your perfect match for a furry-friendly trip.