How to travel with your pet in a car safely

It’s important to take your dog to new places often to make them happy as they love nothing more than taking in the sights, sounds and most importantly the smells of these place and perhaps meet new doggy friends, too. For some lucky people who live in a rural area where everything is easily accessible walking is the only method of travel they need but for those in more urban areas a trip in the car may be needed, in this blog we’re going to take a look at some tips to make sure you are travelling in the car as safely and fun as possible for you and your furry travelling buddy.

Why would you need to travel in the car with your dog?

If you’ve never had to take your dog in the car in the past you may be wondering if this article is relevant to you at all. Well, it’s always worth considering if you’d need to take an emergency trip to the vets and the fastest way to do that is in the car. So even if you rarely use your car with your dog it’s always good to learn the best way to do it just in case.

You may also want to consider how you’d transport your car if you’re moving to a new house a fair distance away from your current address as well. Taking your dog on holiday or to a boarding kennel are just a couple of other examples of when travelling in your car with a dog may be necessary.

Keep them restrained

You do not want a dog who is untrained in a car to be unrestrained as they could distract the driver which could lead to an accident. Moreover, an unrestrained dog is at a much higher risk of being seriously hurt in an accident as they can be thrown around violently following an impact. In the UK, according to the Highway Code rule 57states “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.”

Interestingly, contract hire and leasing firm All Car Leasing recently conducted a survey for their campaign “Homeward Hound” which found that a staggering 1 in 3 respondents did not keep their dog restrained while travelling in a car. This is a large number of potential fines to be handed it out in the event of an accident!
We recommend purchasing seat belt clip in harnesses, seat covers with a built in leash to keep them restrained or placing them in the boot behind a mesh guard to make sure they are unable to distract you.

Get them tired

It’s an age old canine saying that “a tired dog is a good dog” and this is definitely applicable in this situation. If you know you’ve got a car journey coming up and your dog is coming with you then take our advice and take them for a big walk before hand to tire them out. A tired dog is much more likely to be placid and well behaved helping you avoid any potential distractions and an unpleasant drive.

An added bonus of giving your dog some exercise via a walk before a car journey is that they will probably go to the toilet beforehand, too, reducing the risk that they have an accident in your prized automobile!

Make them comfortable

Your dog’s more likely to enjoy a car journey if they are comfortable. Most cars have soft upholstery as standard but you can enhance this by purchasing specially dog seat covers, a big fluffy dog bed or if you put your pooch in the boot a canine specific boot liner. You never know, if you make it nice enough they may well sleep during the journey and genuinely look forward to the next trip!

Don’t distract THEM

We’ve mentioned how your dog could distract you but it’s equally important to make sure you aren’t the one distracting your dog and getting them worked up. It’s important to teach your dog that being in the car is not a time for play and it’s a time to be calm and collected. In time, your dog will learn that being in the car means it’s serious business and they need to remain calm and behaved at all times.

Drive carefully

It goes without saying that you should be driving safely regardless of whether your dog is in the car or not! But, we would always recommend taking extra caution when you’ve got your pooch in the car because even when they are restrained correctly it’s still not as secure as being seat belted like us. A collision could seriously hurt your dog. Pretend you’re driving with a new born baby in the car is our recommendation!

Keep at it

As is the case with any sort of canine training it’s important to keep at it. If you find your dog not enjoying the drive then try and figure out what went wrong and do it better next time. We also recommend training your dog in a stationary car to let them get used to being in the vehicle and then move on the driving bit.

Your thoughts

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this – do you regularly drive with your dog in the car and can offer advice to other readers on making it a great experience for all? Perhaps you’ve got a horror story you want to share to help people avoid the same situation. Whatever it is, please let us know in the comments section.

Homeward Hound Infographic

For people who want to learn more about dog owners and their driving habits why not take a look at the below infographic from All Car Leasing that we mentioned earlier:
How-to-travel-with-your-pet-in-a-car-safelyInfographic Source:

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