Every responsible dog owner knows that you shouldn't leave a dog in the car in the heat for even a few minutes, particularly with extreme summer temperatures - but what other considerations should you have when taking your four-legged friend for a ride?
For some dog owners, taking their pooch on a car journey is an absolute pleasure. For others, it's miserable, especially if their dog is agitated or sick in the car.
So what can you do to ensure a smooth journey? Check out our handy tips below.
Keep your dog cool in hot weather
Most dogs enjoy the cool breeze from an open window while travelling – but make sure your dog can't hang his whole head out of the window. You wouldn't want your dog to hurt themselves on something as you drive past.
Use sun screens on your windows on hot days
This way, your dog can stay in the shade while travelling. It's also important never to leave your dog unattended in a car in warm weather. Dogs can be severely affected or killed by heatstroke, which can occur within just a few minutes in hot weather.
Harnesses, crates and guards
It's important to stop dogs from roaming about on the back seat or trying to push through to the front, distracting you while you're driving. An unrestrained dog could be seriously injured if you have to brake suddenly, or worse, if you're involved in a car accident.
There are a couple of options to make life easier:
- Clunk click, every trip - Dog harnesses are fitted around the neck and chest of your dog and fasten securely to your car's existing seatbelt fittings. They come in all shapes and sizes, so make sure yours is a comfortable, snug fit for your dog so that it does its job when needed.
- Dog crates - If your dog is crate trained then transporting him in a cage could be a great option. Make sure your car crate is big enough to house your dog comfortably, allowing it to sit up and stretch, but not so large that the dog would be thrown around in the event of an accident.
- Guards - Dog guards can be fitted to your car between the back of the seats and the boot area, to provide a restricted area for your dog to be in while you're travelling. Make sure there's enough room in your boot for your dog to lie down and sit up comfortably.
However you choose to restrain your pooch, make sure its not seated in front of an airbag. While impact-activated airbags are an important safety feature to protect the lives of adult passengers, small children and animals may become injured in the event of an airbag going off.
Getting in and out of the car
It may sound obvious, but always open the car door on the pavement side of the road – not on the side of the traffic. This'll make it safer for your dog when getting in and out of your car.
It's worthwhile spending some time training your dog to wait before getting out of the car once you've opened the door. If your dog knows to leap out the car when you arrive home, it may do the same in a heavy-traffic area.
If you're on a long car journey, make sure you stop every couple of hours so your dog can stretch its legs and go to the toilet. It's also quite common for some dogs to suffer from motion sickness, so look out for any signs of distress and give them plenty of breaks and drinks of water along the way.
Travelling abroad with your pet pooch?
Taking your pets on holiday can be just as much fun for them as it is for you. But just like us, they need to be looked after while you travel together. For added peace of mind, find out more about insuring your dog