Car travel with your dog
When it comes to choosing a car we will think about what we would like to drive, how we will fit the kids in comfortably and for many of us UK drivers, will our pet dog/s have enough space. There are plenty of makes and models of cars to choose from, and depending on the size of your dog or the amount of dogs you have, there is a wide variety of vehicles to choose from.
What to consider when getting a car right for your dog
- Large boot space
- Back seats which will fold down flat
- Sun roof
- Rear Lift Tail Gate
- Attachments in the boot to secure crates from sliding
- Barrier divider from the boot to the cabin
- Extra underfloor storage
What are the laws in the UK when travelling with a dog?
Rule 56 in the high way code states ‘Do not let a dog out on the road on its own. Keep it on a short lead when walking on the pavement, road or path shared with cyclists or horse riders.’
Rule 57 in the highway code when referring to your dog in your car whilst travelling ‘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.’
Be aware that if you are involved in an accident with your dog in the car, your insurance company may not pay-out if it is clear that your dog was not restrained in anyway. It is definitely worth baring that one in mind!
How to keep your dog safe in the car whilst driving
Dog safety harness
I personally used to have a special harness for my dog when she travelled with me, and to be honest that was most of the time, it was like a normal harness but then had a clip attached which would plug into the seat belt. It worked very well. There are a variety of harnesses available out there and well worth shopping around.
Car guards / barriers
If you have several dogs or have a larger breed of dog then your alternative to a harness is the boot, and to stop unwanted visits from the back, a dog guard. A quick search on google led me to Halfords who seem to have everything sewn up nicely when it comes to car accessories when travelling with dogs, not bad prices either.
If you prefer and indeed some dogs do prefer, their own crates which they can travel in. These can be placed in the boot, and secured to stop them sliding around. The crates should be large enough for the dog to stand up sit and lay down, with bedding to make them comfortable.
All of the above options do really depend on your dog and what they are used to, at the end of the day the most important thing is that your dog is happy and safe.
Here are some tips on travelling with your dog.
Make sure you leave time between feeding your dog and travelling to help with travel sickness
Give your dog a walk before travelling on long journeys so that they are calm, and therefore could sleep whilst you are travelling
Make sure that the car is airy, so your dog does not over heat
Always ensure you have a water bowl and water with you on every journey
NEVER EVER LEAVE YOUR DOG IN A CAR ON A WARM OR HOT DAY