Precautions To Take Before Car Travel To Ensure Your Dog’s Safety

In order to travel safely in a car, restraints are necessary. You never know when you may have to stop suddenly or when the unexpected may happen. When we drive on roads, we are at the mercy of our conditions and even good, safe driving does not always ensure our safety. Dogs need to be restrained in the same way as if the unexpected did happen, as with humans, the dog could panic. This may result in injury to the dog or injury to another passenger and many car insurance policies contain a clause which state that pets must be properly secured when travelling. It may invalidate your insurance if you do not properly secure your dog. A dog should always travel to the back of the car.

There are a number of ways to secure your dog in your car and the method used would be down to the preference of the owner and the dog. Additionally, to prevent driver distraction check out this is helpful as this can protect your dog while travelling.

Ways to restrain your dog during travel

  • A specially adapted seat belt or harness designed to fit your dog
  • A dog cage can be used and secured to your car. An unsecured cage could be thrown as the result of an impact and could end up injuring you, a passenger or your dog
  • A dog car seat can attach securely to your seat belt
  • A car barrier is designed to section off a bit of your car, usually the boot or the back seat to allow your dog to be contained in a specific area. This prevents your dog from having access to you and potentially to the controls of the car but in the event of an accident, your dog is ‘free’ and therefore could still be injured

In addition to using the correct restraint, you also need to take the following precautions to ensure your dog’s safety before travelling

  • Make sure that your dog is comfortable with the travel arrangements, have they travelled before and if not, maybe a short journey is best  
  • Make sure that they are not distressed by the type of restraint that you have chosen to use and make sure it fits them comfortably
  • Make sure that your windows are closed, dogs could injure themselves by sticking their heads out of an open window and perhaps brushing against something outside
  • Make sure your pet is not wrapped up in a way that could cause overheating
  • Make sure that your dog has not just eaten a heavy meal as there would obviously be more of a potential for him / her to feel car sick

During travel

  • Maintain a comfortable temperature in your car
  • Stop regularly and allow your dog to stretch his / her legs and have a drink of water
  • Never leave your dog unattended in the car as the car could heat up unexpectedly or your dog could become distressed by being left alone

Safe travel with a dog is essential for all concerned and simple precautions can keep everyone safe in the event of an accident.

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