Driving with your pet 

Long car journeys can be boring and as with small children, can make some pets restless, anxious and in some cases even sick. So, whether you have a furry feline, a canine companion or even a scaly sidekick, if you are thinking about taking your pet on the family road trip this summer, it’s important that you think ahead and plan for their safety and comfort during the journey. 

Where we can’t promise miracles, here are some steps you can take to ensure that they are restful, comfortable and safe this summer.

Before you leave the house, don’t forget

Before you leave the house, make sure that you have everything you need to ensure your pet is comfortable during the journey. Pack enough food and fresh water (I put this in bottles) to give your pet during pit-stops. Remember to pack any medication that your pet is taking, their leash and food bowls. Your dog might be well behaved and will only need to go to the loo when you stop for a break, in some cases, as with my cat, the nerves of travelling often mean that they will soil their crates during the journey so pet friendly wet wipes and plastic bags are advised.  

Also, dogs and cats like familiarity, so I always make sure that I put their favourite toy and blanket in their designated spot, this will act as a calming aid for your beloved pet.

Comfort first

If you are travelling with your pet in a crate/ pet carrier, it’s important that you have the right size crate. If it is too big, or too small for your pet then he/she could get hurt or injured. As a rule of thumb, your pet should be able to stand up, lie down and turn around inside their crate without touching the sides. This also means that if they are sitting upright, there head shouldn’t be touching to top of the crate/ pet carrier. Oh and don’t forget that the length of your pet also includes their tail, make sure this isn’t bunched up.

Buckle your buddy up!

We have all watched and loved the videos of dogs riding shotgun with their heads out of the window enjoying the fresh air and, where this makes for a cute video, it is actually quite dangerous for your pooch. Make sure your pet has a designated spot in the car, where they can’t get up to mischief which could either harm your pet or cause an accident.

On a serious note, it’s worth noting that if you’re pet causes you to have an accident, you are liable under your motor insurance policy.

Remember routine

Your pet will feel more at home if their routine stays the same. If you are travelling over the course of what would usually be breakfast or dinner time then stop, pull over and feed your pet. This will allow your pet to feel more comfortable and not like they are doing something out of their routine. 

Take a break

Your pet probably doesn’t like being in the car any more than you do so make sure you take regular breaks to allow your pooch to stretch his legs and get a bit of fresh air. Whether you are taking a long or a short journey, it’s advisable to plan your pit stops to break up the journey and check out that where you are going to be stopping is animal friendly.

Did you know that, under UK legislation, the Road Traffic Act 1988 makes it an offence for a dog to be off-lead on some designated roads?

If your dog runs into the road and is either hit by another vehicle or causes an accident then you can be liable for that accident.

Keep check of your noise levels

As with humans, excessive noise can also harm animal’s ears. Having your radio on full blast whilst driving is definitely not going to be appreciated by your pet.

Do not leave your pet in a parked car EVER

There are some countries where locking animals in a hot car is illegal. So, whether you are travelling in the rain, wind or hot sunshine please be aware that it’s dangerous to leave your pet in a locked car. If you are travelling with more than one adult why don’t you take it in turns to have a quick leg stretch and toilet break, in the meantime the other adult can facilitate your pet in doing the same!

Do you know how quickly the temperature in a parked car rises?

Time

Temperature (°C)

initial state

21

24

26.5

29.5

32

35

10 minutes

31.5

34.5

37

40

42.5

45.5

20 minutes

37

40

42.5

45.5

48

51

30 minutes

40

42.5

45.5

48

51

54

40 minutes

42

45

48

50.5

53.5

56

50 minutes

44

46.5

49.5

52

55

58

60 minutes

45

48

50.5

53.5

56

59

over an hour

46

49

51.5

54.5

57

60

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