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Pets in cars: some important precautions

Unless you live on the edge of the park, or on the coast, chances are you will need to put your dog in the car to take them for a walk. Some owners even take their dogs everywhere with them for companionship. And of course, you will need to take your dog, and any other pets, to the vets every now and then for booster injections or when they get ill or injured.

So what is the best way to travel with pets in your car, and what precautions should you take?

Pets in cars

Pet safety in cars

While most pets, such as cats and rabbits, only ever travel in specialist pet carriers, dogs are usually allowed much more freedom. But you shouldn’t let that freedom go too far. A loose dog jumping around your car will seriously distract you when you are driving. Dogs demand attention and will do all they can to get yours, when it should be on the road ahead.

You also need to consider what would happen in an accident. If your dog is loose on the back seat, in a 30mph collision, they will hit you with 35-60 times his body weight. That’s like having a baby elephant thrown at you.

When travelling with dogs, they must be restrained in one way or another. You can either get a harness that clicks into your seat belt sockets, or better still, install a dog guard or dog cage in the back of your vehicle to contain the dog in their own space. If you do not take adequate precautions, you may find that your car insurance company will not pay out for any damage or injury caused by your dog.

Consider your dog in the heat

Never ever leave your dog alone in the car on a hot day, even for a few minutes. Countless dogs die in hot cars every summer because owners have not left any ventilation. According to the RSPCA, if it is 22 degrees outside, it can get as hot as 47 degrees inside an unventilated car in just 60 minutes. If your destination is not dog friendly, don’t take your dog. They will be better off at home, even if they are bored.

Consider other motorists

It might be a cute cliché to let your dog stick his head out of the window and let his ears blow in the breeze, but this is very distracting for other motorists. (Anyone who has ever had their windscreen hit by a stone will also know that it is highly dangerous to the dog too). In the same way you shouldn’t let your dog distract you, don’t let them distract others either.

It is also very important to put a lead on your dog before you get them out of the car. It is all too easy for a passing cat to get his attention, and before you know it they’re all over the road, causing chaos. Keep them under control at all times.

Dogs love to ride in cars, and with just a little forethought, you can make it fun and safe for both of you.

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