Top tips for travelling with a dog in the car

Follow our top tips for driving safely with a dog in the car

Man’s best friend can also make the perfect car companion. This is especially true at this time of year when the sun is out, the windows are down and the open road is ahead.

We look at how you can have the best possible journey with your dog.

Creature comforts
Why not get custom-made features to enhance your dog’s travel experience? Did you know that you can get a spill-proof dog water bowl, special ramp and even a built-in kennel for your car?

Don’t forget that water breaks are even more important for dogs than they are for humans, helping them to avoid dehydration. So make sure they get plenty of water top-ups on long journeys.

Give your dog the brush-off
Avoid unwanted canine car hair by giving your dog a good grooming before your journey. But if a pre-trip brush doesn’t do the trick, then why not invest in a lint roller or vacuum? Or you could always buy a protective seat cover.

Potty training
Taking your dog for a walk in advance of a journey could prevent unwanted accidents later, especially if they’re not used to being a passenger in the car.

Once again, this is where specialised seat covers for dogs come in handy. Should the worst happen, then we recommend keeping in-car cleaning products handy.

Space mission
Use your common sense. If you’ve got a huge dog, such as a St Bernard, then don’t buy a Mini to take him out in.

And, vice-versa, if you’ve already got a small car, then don’t invest in a canine which will only just squeeze into it, creating added discomfort. Of course, you can adjust your seats to make additional space.

Hot dogs
It’s the picnic season, but hot dogs are definitely off the menu. Barely a week goes by in the summer without a story about pooches being cruelly left sweltering in cars with the window up.

Believe it or not, it is not against the law to do this. But it does qualify as abusing an animal under your care and you could get a fine.

If you see a pet that has been left in a car on a warm day, the first thing to do is call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.

If you’re in a supermarket car park or at an event, ask the staff to make an announcement to alert the owner of the car.

In a desperate situation where a dog is in serious distress and at risk of death, call 999 and ask for the police.

Freedom of movement
Lack of restraints can mean lack of safety. Loose pooches can distract us as we drive. They can also easily move or block the foot pedals, gear stick and steering wheel.

Recommended restraints include dog guards or cages, pet carriers or seat belt harnesses. Drivers who fail to use items such as these could even see their insurance invalidated.

That‘s because of the potential for injury, particularly if you have to brake suddenly. Should an accident happen, then you may be charged with dangerous driving.

Draping out of the window
OK, so there are fewer more amusing sights in the warm season than dogs hanging their heads from a window. But debris from the road could injure your dog’s mouth, nose and eyes, so avoid this at all costs.

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