We often spend lots of time discussing safe ways to transport of furry friends in our cars, so here some of my tips.
The UK Highway Code states that dogs must be suitably restrained when in a vehicle so that they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly. Make sure you have a seat belt harness or suitable method such as a dog guard or crate for restraining your dog in the car.
Pet restraints, toys, leads, treats, food, medication, drying towel, drinking bowl, bottles of water, clean kit (when you pet has been sick), pet first aid kit and I sure you can think of many more things to take. Keep a separate dog travel bay, already for travelling.
Suitable car for your pets
When choosing a new car think about the size of your pet, as one consideration,
- Are they able to jump in and out of the car (think of older dogs, getting a brt frail, are we able to assist them in and out of the car)
- Consider buying a ramp
- A hatchback or small car is perfect for smaller pets. They have room for some extra gear or a carrier, and allow sufficient space for your pet to stand up and stretch their legs.
- Larger dogs tend to mean bigger vehicles.
- Consider buying a pet crate for the car, remember safety, your dog needs to be secure, check your vehicle insurance covers pets in cars
- Air-Conditioning is another consideration, some cars have different temperature settings to allow the car to be cooler in the back.
- Tinted windows another good option, but never be tempted to leave a dog in the car, even with the window open, even in Scotland it only takes 6 minutes to kill a dog on a sunny warm day.
- Dog restraints that allow you to belt your dog in the regular seat belt. Poorly made restraints, may not be suitable for your pet, in fact it could become a strangling hazard. Dog restraints, will also allow you drive safely without additional distractions that your pet may cause you.
- Pet Guard, not only does it stop your pet from flying forward, when you hit the brakes, it also helps to keep your car upholstery in pristine condition.
- Mat/travel bed, making the car trip, just a bit more comfortable, and some familiar smells of home, lovely!
Dogs in hot cars
Never leave your dogs alone in a car on a warm day. Dogs pant to keep cool. In hot stuffy cars they are unable to cool themselves down – leaving a window open or sunshield on your windscreen won’t keep your dog cool enough. Leaving your dog in a hot car may be considered an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
EVERY YEARS DOGS DO DIE IN HOT CARS
Pack all your supplies in a carrying bag, make it easier on yourself, and you less likely to forget something in a hurry. Remember spare leads, poo bags, food, medications, toys, first aid kit, and never leave home with spare bottled water, you never know when you might be stuck in traffic, or get lost on the dog walk, at least we always have spare water, when we get back to the car.
Pet Friendly Places – For tips, ask your doggy friends, websites, pet stores, dog groomers, pet walkers. Going to the park, or countryside, are there dog friendly, no dogs allowed areas, this is the case for most beaches . Going away a bit longer, check out pet friendly accommodation, plan in additional pee stops and give them some time to sniff all these new scents around, it will tire them for the next part of the trip.
Collar ID Tag – Get one with your pet’s name, your name, telephone number. Has your pet been microchipped yet? Get your vet to double check the microchip still works, hasn’t moved.
Pre-packaged food – Don’t shop when you arrive, the local store, might not have the pet food your pet is use too, and we don’t want ill pets, when we are away. Prepack your own dog food, take some extra, just in case. Don’t forget biscuits, treats and toys, remember a toy can also help relieve stress.
Water in re-sealable plastic container – drinking bowl. Remember dehydration is a killer!
Dog towels – If your dog likes to swim, bring along some old towels. They’re also handy if your pet decides to have a mud bath instead. You pet hotel will be thankful also, bringing your own towels.
Leash, common sense!
Medications – Don’t forget the pills! Is your pet fit to travel, seek vet advice. Tick and worm treatments, if going out of the UK, and all other rules regarding the pet passport scheme.
Poo Bags – Don’t want to be caught shot, because it could result in a fine.
Cleaning supplies and a first aid kit.
Be aware of local dangers, such as infected tick areas, water algae, dangerous local plants, even parks that have been recently fertilized or weed killer been put down, most of these local dangers can be research on local websites.
While on the road
- Don’t feed your pet a large meal, before a drive, treats are fine, we don’t want our pet to travel sickness, if we can avoid it.
- Always be positive with your pet, that positive energy will also help reassure our pet
- Stop every couple of hours to let your let take a break and have some water.
- Never let your pet ride with its head out of the window.
- Don’t leave a pet in the car, even with the windows open
- Always put your pet on the lead before opening the door or tailgate to let them out.
When you get to the destination
- Exercise your dog prior to a long trip. A tired dog will be less anxious and nervous due to the stabilisation of the brain chemicals responsible for stress
- A lot of pet friendly hotels, may have suggestion sheets and advice, where to walk your dog, dog no-go areas, such as restaurants, or perhaps rules, not allowing you to leave your dog attended in the bedroom.
- Enter your pets staying area first, be calm, ensure your pet stays, not allow them to explore the room by themselves, for example when you are unpacking.
- Have a look around for any dangerous, chewing hazards, that your pet may be tempted, even the best trained animals, may adapt unusual habits, because they are unsure of their new surroundings.
- Walk around the room/area with your pet, and encourage your pet to sniff, keeping a close eye on your pet.
Have fun with your pet!