Our pets mean a lot to us, and we love nothing more than spending precious moments with them by our side. It’s becoming more common to take our pets with us when travelling, so we need to make sure we are providing a safe environment when taking them with us on the road.
Whether it’s a small cat or a large dog, there is an option for all pets when it comes to car safety.
Travelling by Car
Having your pet unrestrained in the car can cause distractions to the driver (and other surrounding drivers if your pet decides to stick their head out of the window!)
And there’s a big risk that unfamiliar sounds or surroundings can startle and scare even the best-behaved pets.
In the UK, the Regulations for transporting your pet (Highway Code – Rule 57) are:
“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.”
Let’s find out more about these types of restraints and how they help your pet…
When attached to the seatbelt, the harness that goes around the chest and shoulders will keep your pet in place with minimum restrictions. Ensure that your dog can’t get tangled in the harness when moving as this will cause discomfort and distractions to the driver. A harness is most suitable for medium and large dogs.
Owners of small dogs and cats should consider a pet carrier, making sure it is the correct size for them to stand up, turn around easily and lie down in a natural position. The carrier should be attached properly to an anchorage point in the back of the car to stop it moving around.
It’s also important for fresh air to circulate around carrier as much as possible as cars can become hot during the day.
Putting a dog cage in the back of the car allows them to have their own space but limits the movement and likelihood of distracting the driver. This method is popular and used by professional dog handlers such as the police and people who show their dogs.
Make sure the cage is secured preventing any movement and if your pet is nervous about travelling include their bed or a favourite toy in the cage to keep them calm through the journey.
A dog guard provides a partition between the backseat and the back door of the car, giving the dog a large space in the car. This will keep them away from the driver and other passengers but offers little protection in the case of a crash.
Bedding or blankets should be used in the back on the floor to provide some grip for the dog during movement and comfort for when they want to lie down.
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We’d like to hear what you think, do you have any hints and tips or tricks to share?
Let us know in the comments below.