All Aboard? Then Buckle up!
Rule 57 of the highway code states “When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly”.6 Nov 2017
But according to a recent survey commissioned by car leasing company, 56% of more than 1000 UK pet owners were unaware of the law when driving with their pet.
In fact 1 in 5 admitted they do not restrain their dog at all and 12% allowed their dog to sit unrestrained in the front passenger seat.
So what’s the big deal? You are, by not restraining your dog when traveling putting not only their life at risk but also yourself. Perhaps part of the problem is the use of the word ‘restrain’ which may sound cruel to many. Instead let us use the term ‘secure’.
In the same way you secure a baby in a car seat to protect them, you should secure your dog as well. There are several different ways you can do this and there is something to suit every car and every family.
You may use a dog crate, if you do, make sure it is an appropriate size for your dog. I would also recommend a non slip mat rather than a blanket or towel so they don’t slide around all over the place.
If you are using a car guard to keep your dog in the boot, make sure it is fitted properly! You don’t want it popping out as your driving and your dog to hop into the front seat.
I use a seat belt adaptor for both my dogs. This clips on to their harness and plugs into the seat belt buckle. I leave the adaptor in the car so its there when ever I need it. I wouldn’t advise you use these on a collar as in the event of a sudden brake, you risk pulling them tightly around the neck.
When it comes to very young pups it can be very tempting to have them sit in the lap of a passenger, after all they’re so small and sleepy but the fact is, if there is an accident there’s nothing to stop them going flying. It’s far better for them if you put them in a pet carrier that you can secure to the seat with the seat belt, in the same way you do with a baby seat.
This is the same for cats, rabbit and guinea pigs. In a pinch you could use a ventilated cardboard box, but make sure it has a secure lid! If you have a cat, rabbit, guinea pig or small pet you should really have a suitable size carrier.
At the end of any length journey, whether its a trip to the vets or moving house the most important thing is that you and your pet have a made it safely.