Road Trippin’ With Your Dog – Safely!

It’s that time of year again when people are up and down the motorway visiting friends and family and getting together for festive events. Others are taking city breaks to get the Christmas shopping done while some are escaping to the country for a well-earned rest. Here at Dog Holidays UK, we’re not only in the business of finding you the perfect dog-friendly accommodation, but we care about how you get there.

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It’s Not Just About The Destination, But The Journey Too

Picture this, you’re off on holiday with your dog; their bags are packed and their head is sticking out of the car window, their tongue flapping in the wind, and their ears and hair all over the place. Sounds fun, but did you know that when travelling with your dog, you are breaking rule 57 of the highway code if you do not have them secured with a harness, seatbelt or crate?

It doesn’t matter whether you’re only going on a short trip, you have a calm dog or a dog that loves to stick his or her head out of the window, when driving with your pooch you must make sure that they cannot distract whoever is driving. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, looking away from the road for only two seconds doubles your risk of being in a crash. If your dog is not secure then you are not only risking your license and insurance but the safety of yourself, your passengers, other road users and of course your dog.

More Dogs On The Road

Since the pandemic there has been a surge in staycations as well as an increased demand for dogs. As your trusted dog friendly travel partner we are here to help and guide you and make sure that you’re up to speed (no pun intended) on all things dog.

So, How Can You Drive Safely And Legally With Your Dog?

Secure Your Dog

Your dog should be secured on the back seat in a dog car harness or in the boot. Never let your dog ride shotgun with you in the front seat, even if they do bagsy it - it’s not allowed.

You can get a crate for your dog to travel in or a special car harness such as the new Car Safe harness from Company of Animals. Crash tested and certified up to 32kgs, it directly links to the car seat belt system with no extra connection clip required. It will safely restrain your dog across their body, protecting them from injury in the event of an accident. The Car Safe harness is available to buy from Pets Corner and Amazon amongst other e-retailers and selected local pet stores.

Make Regular Stops

We all know to go for a last wee before we go on a long journey so of course make sure your dog at least goes for a “try” before you get in the car. As well as this, plan your route so that you can take regular breaks and let your dog stretch their legs and go to the toilet. If you’re going on a really long journey then it might be a good idea to book some dog-friendly accommodation along the way so that you can stay overnight and break the journey up a bit.

Go For A Big Walk Before You Leave

Get your dog nice and tired before a long journey and plan a nice big walk with them so they can get rid of all their energy and they’ll hopefully sleep in the car. That way you won’t have to play endless games of Eye Spy with them.

Snacks!

Don’t just pack snacks for you, make sure you have plenty for your dog too. Take a bottle of water and a travel/collapsable bowl, small treats which you can give your dog throughout the journey and other treats such as a stuffed Kong or a long-lasting chew to keep them entertained and happy along the way. It’s also best to avoid feeding them two hours before starting a journey just in case they get a bit sick.

Beware of Travel Sickness

Just like us, our pooches can get travel sick too, so if you’ve not done a long journey with your dog before then it’s best to have some practice journeys to see if they’re alright with it - if you start with small journeys it eases them in and they’ll get used to it. However, some dogs really don’t get on with cars and long journeys and if yours is one then chat to your vet about anti-sickness or anti-diarrhoea medicine.

Consider the weather

It goes without saying that you should never leave your dog in a hot car, but don’t leave your dog in a freezing cold car either - just don’t leave them, take them with you, there are plenty of dog-friendly places to go to. However, you can help your pet regulate their temperature while driving either by having the heating or air-con on and opening windows when needed.

Drive carefully

Don’t forget, you’re driving with special cargo onboard so drive carefully, no sudden breaks, no speeding and no crazy turns.

Drive Safe Dog-Mums and Dads!

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Sian Humphreys
Author: Sian Humphreys

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