A topic we don’t discuss enough when it comes to our dogs, is car travel safety! Most dogs will need to take a trip in the car at some point, even if it’s just a quick trip to the vets. So with it being National Pet Travel Safety Day, we want to look at how can we make sure your dog is safe on any journey!
Did you know that car travel with any pet can be very dangerous, if they aren’t properly restrained? We're used to strapping ourselves in to stay safe and it's important to do the same for our dogs.
Why do dogs need to be restrained in the car?
There are lots of reasons to keep your dog secured while you’re driving. Unrestrained dogs can not only be a distraction, but a risk to themselves and others in a crash. Did you know at just 30mph an unrestrained dog weighing 20kg, would be hurled forward with a force equivalent to the weight of a small moose?
Not only does restraint keep your dog safe in the car, it’s also a legal requirement. Yes you read that right! The Highway Code says that drivers must ‘make sure dogs and other animals are suitably restrained’ in your car. If you don’t follow the Highway Code, you could be considered to be driving without due care and attention. If you’re in an accident with your dog is loose in the car, it could break the terms of your insurance and be counted as dangerous driving. It may also invalidate your pet insurance if they are injured and need treatment.
So, what do you need to do to keep you both safe?
There are lots of different products that the Highway Code deem acceptable forms of restraining your dog in the car. From a pet carrier to our personal favourite; a seat belt and harness.
Take a look at our Bungee Seatbelt Restraints
>>> Not only can they be used in both the backseat or boot, but include a bungee feature for extra safety! The bungee feature creates some flex and give during sharp turns and sudden braking; which reduces the risk of choking or injury to your dog!
For safety we advise only attaching seatbelt restraints to your dogs harness & never their collar.
Tips to make car travel more comfortable for your dog!
When it comes to travelling in the car, all dogs will be different. Some will have no problem and others will hate it! Here are a few tips to make your dogs journey more relaxed and comfortable:
Start Young: Introducing them to the car as early as you can, means they’re more likely to be relaxed and comfortable during car journeys. - Start in a parked car and getting them used to sitting in it with you and then gradually build up to longer journeys. Always make sure to end with a good experience such as a treat, a walk or an exciting day out!
Back not Front: Don’t let your dog ride in the front passenger seat. The weight of your dog will signal to the air bag that it needs to deploy in the case of an accident. With its 200 mph force on deployment, it could possibly injure your dog or worse! Meaning back seat is the safest place for your dog.
Take a Break: Give your dog opportunities to stretch their legs and have a drink. Try and have rest stops to a park or service station that has a dog walking area, every two or three hours. Not only is it good for your dog, but a break is good for us, too!
Keep them Cool: Cars can warm up really quickly, so it’s important to be aware of your pet’s temperature when you’re on the go, and remember to pop the air conditioning on or open a window to keep them cool.
No heads out Windows: one of the biggest things we see is dogs sticking their head (if not their entire upper body), but the list of dangers is scary; they might lean too far out of the window and fall, lose his eye -even something as small as a bug or flying piece of gravel off the pavement can damage the eye, see a dog (or squirrel!) and suddenly jump from the car or your car could be hit by a passing car, crushing your dog between the two cars. To keep your dog happy and safe, just crack the window about an inch. Fresh air and scents will come rushing in the window, providing plenty of enrichment!
NEVER Leave them Alone: Remember that you should NEVER leave a dog alone in a car. Doing so puts them at risk of heat injuries, hypothermia and theft.