How to travel safely with your dog

Travelling with your dog

As summer comes around, those of us with pet pooches will be out and about more, taking them to the park, the beach and beyond. But how do you ensure your furry friend is safe when you take him out for the day? Here’s our guide to the essentials of how to travel with a dog in the car.

What the law says

Rule 57 of the Highway Code covers travelling with dogs. It says that drivers are responsible for ensuring dogs (and any other animal) are ‘suitably restrained’ to prevent them distracting you during the journey or injuring you or themselves in an emergency stop.

To put things into perspective, if you’re travelling with a 32kg Labrador at 30mph and have to stop suddenly, the dog could be thrown forward with an equivalent weight of 100kg. That’s a significant amount of potential damage to the dog, the vehicle’s occupants and perhaps even the vehicle itself.

What constitutes suitable restraint?

Holding a smaller dog, such as a pug or Staffie on your lap is not considered suitable restraint. The Highway Code states that the safest way to travel with a dog in the car is to use a seatbelt harness, pet carrier or cage, or a dog guard.

Smaller dogs travelling in the cabin should be restrained with a seatbelt harness, which fits around the dog’s chest and attaches to the seatbelt. They’re inexpensive, starting from around £10 and can make a huge difference to the safety of your pooch should you need to brake suddenly.

Larger vehicles often have the option to attach a steel animal guard, which separates the boot from the cabin. These start from around £30 and prevent harm coming to your animal and your passengers in the event of an incident.

Other pet travel tips

Restraint isn’t the only issue to think about when travelling with your dog. There are a range of other things you can do to ensure your pet’s comfort throughout a journey.

  • Although seeing a dog with its head out a car window is often amusing, it’s safer not to let them do so, as it’s a distraction to other drivers and a danger to the animal
  • If your dog travels in the boot, consider investing in sun shades. Often the amount of cool air that reaches the pet from the air con or open windows is limited, so sun shades can ensure they stay cool
  • Take plenty of water to keep your dog hydrated and ensure you stop regularly on longer journeys to allow them to hop out, stretch their legs, and do their business. Don’t forget your poop scoop!

A note on pets in parked cars

At Carwise Group, we’d never advocate leaving your pet in a parked car, even for a few minutes. Even parked in the shade with the window open, cars can quickly overheat and the environment can prove fatal to your dog. It’s always best to find an alternative to leaving them.