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Tips for Driving with Pets

12th April 2018

As the weather heats up, more of us like to pack up our pets and head away for the day – but do you travel legally with animals in the car? Make sure you know how to transport your pets safely and legally before taking them out on the road.

Make Sure They Are Legal!

The most important task when it comes to transporting your pets is making sure that you abide by all legal requirements. When driving, you cannot let your dog or cat roam freely around the vehicle – instead you must ensure that they are properly secured. If they are not, your car and pet insurance may be invalidated.

You can ensure that animals are correctly secured by using a seatbelt harness, a pet carrier or a dog cage as long as you are sure that they are safely controlled. Wherever you seat your pet, you should not allow them to ride with their head hanging out of the window. This could be dangerous as it could lead to injury.

Keep Them Comfortable

Dogs are energetic creatures and being cooped up in a car is not going to be the most fun experience for them. Before heading on your journey, you should take your pooch for a long walk so that it does not have any pent up energy. You should also take regular breaks, especially during journeys longer than one hour, to allow your dog to get some fresh air and stretch their legs.

Motion sickness can occur in pets and so you should avoid feeding them for a couple of hours before the journey. You should, however, make sure that they stay hydrated by making fresh water accessible to them. To make the journey less stressful for your pet, make the car feel more familiar to them by bringing along a favourite blanket or toy.

Ensure They Stay Cool

This is especially important on hot days as dogs in particular may need some help keeping cool in the confines of a car. Use your air conditioning or open your windows to help create a cool temperature inside the vehicle. If you notice your dog panting heavily or drooling then make sure you stop for a break and allow them to refresh. NEVER ever leave your pet in your vehicle on a hot day – no matter how short a period it may be.

You might also want to consider using sun shades on the window if it is a particularly bright day. Sitting in bright sun is uncomfortable for pets and so this will help to shield them from the glaring rays.

Equipment Checklist

To keep your journey as stress free as possible you should pack the following items to keep your pets safe and comfortable:

  • Seatbelt harness, pet carrier or dog cage to transport your pet safely
  • Fresh water and a water bowl
  • Light snacks and treats
  • Food if travelling over the time you would usually feed them
  • Waste disposal bags
  • Leads
  • Any medication or treatment that may be required over the duration of the journey
  • Familiar blankets and toys
  • Collar with identification tags
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