There are often occasions when you have to have your pet accompany you in your vehicle. This can be a stressful time and although there are no specific laws in the UK regulating the carrying of pets in your vehicle, there are safety requirements which you must adhere to. Taking the necessary precautions before heading out on your journey with your pets in the car can help you to reduce the risk of any accidents as well as any substantial fines.
Here are some top tips to make driving with your pets to ensure that their welfare is maintained, as well as a safe and hassle free trip for all.
1. PREPARATION Before heading out on your trip, ensure that you take some time to get the dog used to the car, perhaps even with the engine off too. It’s important to introduce your pet a cage if you are using one. Maybe present the cage to your pet positively and once the cage is placed into your car, lure them in with treats and allow them to get into the cage themselves. Do not force your pet into the cage.
2. SAFETY When it’s time to depart on your journey, it’s important to make sure your pet is secure. Many pet owners sometimes like to let their pet’s free rein in the boot or in the backseat, but this not good practice and could result in an accident. If you were to brake suddenly, you would want your pet to be safe and protected, so carefully restraining them will help keep everyone safe and happy.
3. FOOD SMART Avoid feeding your pet right before your trip. Perhaps feed your pet a few hours before to allow them ample time for digestion. Feeding your pet a few hours before will also help to avoid your pet getting carsick, as dogs can suffer from motion sickness the same humans.
4. PACK APPROPRIATE SUPPLIES When embarking on a long car journey, ensure that your pet is comfortable by placing appropriate supplies in its bed or blankets for padding. In doing this, it can help to reduce the number of distractions you may have to deal with while driving. Make sure that you pack supplies such as water, treats, leads and some of your pet’s favourite toys.
5. DRIVE STEADILY If your pet is unaccustomed to long car journeys, remember that this experience will be completely new to them so try to keep their anxiety to a minimum. The easiest way to do this is to drive steadily and not too fast.
6. MAKE REGULAR PIT STOPS Similarly to when you’re travelling with children, you should be prepared to make frequent stops. When making long journeys you should be prepared to stop every two hours or so, so keep a keen eye out for service stations. Your pets will be happy to stretch their legs, go to the loo and have a few light refreshments.
7. KEEP IT COOL We all know that cars can get hot and if you think it’s hot, imagine how your pet must feel in their furry coat. While we maybe getting the blast of the air con or a rush of a breeze through the window, the chances are your pet isn’t getting the same. Make sure there’s a good source of ventilation going direct to your pet at all times and if you do choose to open your windows, ensure that your pet is secure and that paws, tails and tongues are kept inside the vehicle at all times.
8. GET THE TREATS OUT Once you have arrived at your destination, then it’s time to shower your pet with praise. Treating your pet after a long journey will help to reinforce good behaviour and may help them to stay relaxed and calm on future outings.