Travelling with dogs - safety regulations
Travelling with dogs in car can be a great adventure for both you and your furry friend, however, it can also be stressful if you're not prepared for the journey.
Dogs require proper care, comfort, and most important, safety during car rides to ensure a pleasant experience.
In this article, we'll share tips and tricks to help you and your dog have a safe and comfortable trip.
Preparing for a trip with your dog
Depending on the length of your trip, you should prepare the environment for your dog, which means packing all of the necessary items and creating a secure, safe space for them to travel.
Pack the Essentials
- Dog food, water, and treats
- Leash, collar, and identification tags
- Bedding, toys, and blankets
- First-aid kit and medication (if needed)
- Waste bags and cleaning supplies
Familiarise Your Dog with the Car
- Take your dog on short rides to build familiarity
- Reward with treats and praise for good behaviour
- Gradually increase ride time and distance
- Consider a dog car seat or restraint for safety
Plan Regular Breaks
- Stop every two to three hours for a potty break and stretch
- Provide water and a small meal if necessary
- Avoid leaving your dog in the car unattended
- Look for pet-friendly rest areas and parks
Keep Your Dog Safe and Comfortable
Securing a dog in a car is not only essential for the safety of the pet but also for the safety of the passengers and other road users. In the UK, there are rules and regulations that govern how dogs should be transported in cars to ensure that they are secure and comfortable.
Firstly, the Highway Code states that "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 means that dogs must be secured while in a moving vehicle. One of the easiest ways to secure a dog is by using a seat belt harness. This harness fits around the dog's chest and attaches to the car's seat belt, keeping the dog secure in case of an accident or sudden stop.
Another option is a pet carrier, which can be secured with a seat belt or placed on the car's back seat. A dog cage or dog guard is also a suitable option for larger dogs, as it provides a safe and secure area for them to travel in.
It's also important to note that it is illegal to travel with an unrestrained pet in the front seat of a car. This is because airbags can cause serious injury or even death to pets in the event of an accident. Therefore, it's recommended that pets travel in the back seat of the car (although they still need to be secured).
In addition to securing a dog, it's also important to ensure their comfort during the journey. This includes providing plenty of fresh water, food if necessary, and taking regular breaks for toilet breaks and exercise. It's also important to keep the car well-ventilated and at a comfortable temperature.
Use a dog seat belt, carrier or pet guard for safety
There are different ways to secure your pet dog whilst they are travelling with you in the car, and providing they not able to move around the cabin, they are legally secured. This can include a seat belt, carrier or pet guard.
Pet owners should never allow their dogs to sit on their laps or hang their heads out of car windows. This can be dangerous for the dog and the driver, as it can cause distraction and reduce visibility.
Securing a dog in a car with a seatbelt and harness combination is an effective way to keep your furry friend safe during car journeys.
Using a seatbelt harness is a popular and reliable method of securing a dog in a car. The harness fits around the dog's chest and attaches to the car's seat belt, preventing the dog from moving around the car or being thrown forward in the event of an accident.
When selecting a seatbelt harness for your dog, it's important to ensure that it's the right size and is suitable for your dog's breed and weight. A poorly fitting harness can be uncomfortable for the dog and can also be ineffective in the event of an accident. Some harnesses come with instructions on how to properly secure them, while others may require additional attachments.
It's recommended that dogs travel in the back seat of the car, as it's safer than the front seat. This is because airbags can cause serious injury or even death to dogs in the event of an accident. Dogs can also be a distraction to the driver if they're in the front seat.
It's important to note that seatbelt harnesses are not suitable for all dogs. Some dogs may be uncomfortable wearing them, or may try to chew through them. In these cases, a pet carrier or dog cage may be a more suitable option for securing the dog during car journeys.
Securing a dog in a car with a pet carrier is another popular option for pet owners who want to keep their furry friend extra safe during car journeys.
A pet carrier is a secure and comfortable way to transport your dog in the car. There are different types of pet carriers available, including soft-sided carriers and hard-sided carriers. Soft-sided carriers are lightweight and easier to transport, while hard-sided carriers are more durable and provide better protection.
When selecting a pet carrier for your dog, it's important to ensure that it's the right size and is suitable for your dog's breed and weight. A carrier that's too small can be uncomfortable for the dog, while a carrier that's too big can be unsafe in the event of an accident.
It's just as important to ensure that the carrier is well-ventilated and at a comfortable temperature during the journey. Dogs can overheat quickly in hot cars, so it's important to avoid leaving them in the car for extended periods of time.
It's important to note that pet carriers are not suitable for all dogs. Some dogs may be uncomfortable in a carrier or may experience motion sickness during car journeys. In these cases, a seatbelt harness or dog cage may be a more suitable option for securing the dog during car journeys.
A pet guard is a metal or mesh barrier that separates the boot or cargo area of the car from the passenger area, preventing the dog from moving around the car or being thrown forward in the event of an accident.
Pet guards are suitable for larger dogs who need more space to move around during car journeys. They are easy to install and remove, and can be adjusted to fit different sizes of car. They are also a good option for pet owners who need to transport more than one dog at a time.
When selecting a pet guard for your car, it's important to ensure that it's the right size and is suitable for your car's make and model. Some pet guards are designed to fit specific cars, while others are adjustable and can fit a range of cars.
Most pet guards come with instructions on how to install them, and it's important to follow these instructions carefully to ensure that the pet guard is secure and won't move around during the journey.
It's recommended that dogs travel in the back of the car for their safety, so a pet guard is most suitable for cars with a separate boot or cargo area. If your car doesn't have a separate area for pets, then a pet carrier or seatbelt harness may be a better option for securing your dog during car journeys.
Travelling with dogs in car can be a fun and rewarding experience if you plan ahead and take the necessary precautions.
If you are looking to upgrade your car to a more dog friendly option such as a compact SUV or even a 7-seater SUV, get in touch with Everton Garage in Lymington who would be happy to help find the right car for you.