Pet Car Safety
Do you know the law around travelling in a car with your pets? Many people don’t realise this is covered in the Highway Code but it is.
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.
Now if you have been transporting your animals in a car without them being suitably restrained you have been at risk of a fine should there be an accident caused while you were distracted by your pet. But don’t worry, as the highway codes suggest there are many examples of suitable restraints.
When you’re considering which restraint to use and considering if it’s in your budget remember that pets that aren’t restrained in any way may not be covered by insurance if you have a crash, meaning any subsequent health care costs will be down to you.
Dog seat belts – they work in the same way as human seat belts and plug into the buckle as normal then can be clipped onto the dog’s harness at the other end. The seat belt is adjustable so you can set the correct length for the size of your dog. They are designed to be long enough to offer your dog the option to sit upright but not long enough to allow them to move around in the back seat.
Dog harness – a dog car harness does not allow dogs the same freedom of movement in the back seat as dog seat belts, they are attached directly to the car via the harness. The harness fits around the chest and upper body as with a standard harness. The vehicles seat belt then slips through an opening or strap on the back of the harness, resulting in your dog being belted into the car as it is with a human passenger. Some dogs don’t like to be so restricted in movement whilst in the car.
Pet crate or carrier – Carriers have come a long way since the early days, you can now get something that is lightweight, stylish and even wearable! Your carrier needs to be well-ventilated and big enough for your pet to stand up and turn around in. Measure your pet and add on another 5 to 10 centimetres to be sure it’s big enough. The carrier must also be strapped in to ensure it doesn’t move around as you drive.
How to Make Car Travel Comfortable for Your Pet
Avoid feeding your pet just before loading them into the car for a journey. People get car sick for the same reasons.
Keep the car at a comfortable temperature. The confined interior of a car heats up quickly and dogs, especially those with thicker coats, will feel the heat even more severely. Remember not to leave your dog in the car on their own. Cracking a window open is not enough to keep dogs cool in a parked car.
If you’re on a long trip, take regular stops to allow your pets to stretch their legs and have a drink.
Getting your pets used to car travel from a young age makes a huge difference to their ability to relax and enjoy a trip, provided you make it comfortable for them.
Don’t let your pet hang their head out of the window. They could get stones, dust or other debris in their eyes, and they’re more likely to get seriously hurt if you have an accident.
Can’t take your pet with you?
Don’t worry we offer animal sitting services in your own home. Find out more here.