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  • Writer's pictureSarah Price

Guidance on how to safely travel in a vehicle with your dog

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

As a dog owner, you may need to transport your furry friend by vehicle, whether it's for a leisurely stroll or a trip to the vet. In January 2022, an important rule was added to the Highway code regarding transporting dogs. The rule specifies that dogs should be appropriately restrained to prevent distractions while driving and to avoid injury to themselves or others in the event of sudden stops.

What does this mean for a dog owner?

It's important to note that this rule doesn't require all dogs to be placed in a crate in the back of the car. However, it does require that your dog is properly restrained in a way that suits both your vehicle and your dog. Since every dog and owner is unique, it's crucial to familiarise yourself with the available options to guarantee safe travels for you and your furry friend.

What restraint options are available?

Car harness and dog seat belt

A great way to ensure your dog is safe and comfortable in the car is by using a car harness and seat belt. Not only will this keep your dog restrained at all times, but it will also prevent any potential accidents. Just make sure to turn off the airbag if you choose to use the front seat and use a short seat belt to keep your pup in place. I recommend the Kurgo crash-tested harness, which comes in 5 sizes, is adjustable and includes a seat belt tether.

Boot Guards

When it comes to traveling with larger dogs in your car, a dog guard is a great way to keep your dog in the boot while allowing your passengers to ride comfortably in the rear seats. However, if your dog tends to eagerly jump out of the boot as soon as it's open, consider tethering your dog to a secure anchor point within the car. Attaching the tether to a harness rather than a collar is the safest option as it distributes any force experienced across the whole chest rather than just the neck.

Whilst boot guards can be purchased for specific cars there is also an option to use a universal boot guard that can be fitted to almost any vehicle with rear headrests.

Crates and carriers

Traveling with small dogs in the boot of the car can sometimes be a nerve-wracking experience. Sudden stops or sharp turns can make them anxious. That's where a crate or carrier comes to the rescue, providing a safe and secure haven where your pup can relax during the journey. Plus, it keeps your boot area clean and fur-free. Before you invest in a crate, be sure to measure your car's boot and the crate itself, taking into account any incline from the rear window if you drive a hatchback.

I use a removable boot liner and rear seat covers when I am transporting dogs. I find them quick and easy to remove, clean and disinfect. It also means that when I am not transporting dogs I have clean seats and boot for passengers and luggage.

Tips when travelling with dogs

  • Never leave your dog in a hot car.

  • Always carry water to cool your dog down.

  • On long journeys take regular breaks, allowing your dog time to stretch their legs, go to the toilet and have a drink.

  • Do not feed your dog a large meal prior to a long journey, they may become travel sick or need to loo.

  • Use a pet travel bag to store all of your essential accessories in one place.

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