posted 4 years ago

Keeping your dog safe during a car journey

Be sure to follow these helpful safety tips from the Dogs Trust

Use a car harness, travel crate or sturdy and properly-fitted dog-guard to ensure your dog is safely restrained on car journeys.

Travelling is thirsty work for a dog. Ensure that all animals have a ready supply of fresh drinking water at all times. A worthwhile investment is a non-spillable bowl. Plan to make plenty of stops along the way to allow him to stretch his legs and spend a penny. But be sure to check that you’ve stopped in a safe place before taking him for a walk. Motorway service stations are a good option for a break, whereas you should never exercise your dog on the hard shoulder of a motorway.

The heat inside a stationary vehicle can be deadly and it’s never a good idea to leave a dog alone in a car, especially on a warm or hot day. Make certain that your pet isn’t sitting in direct sunshine while you are travelling and aim to only be on the road during the coolest parts of the day. Be careful that any sun visors you use are not going to obscure your vision while driving. Always ensure that someone stays with your dog when you stop at a service station.

It isn’t only humans who suffer from car sickness. Avoiding feeding your dog just before travelling will help reduce the likelihood of him becoming poorly.

Remember the legal responsibilities you have relating to the control of your dog. The interior of your car legally constitutes a public place, meaning that you could fall foul of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 if anyone was bitten when sticking his or her fingers through the window. Be sure that your dog is using a muzzle in the car if you have been ordered to keep your dog muzzled in public.

It might look cute and cool but allowing your dog to stick his head of the window can be dangerous. He could be injured by a passing vehicles, or his eyes or ears could be damaged by particles in the air. Another possibility is that your dog will jump out of the window, with potentially devastating consequences.

Using sedatives to calm your dog before and during a long journey should only ever be a last resort. If you do think it is necessary, then only ever use sedatives that have been specifically prescribed for your pet by his vet.

Plan ahead and make sure that any vehicle recovery service you subscribe to will allow your pet to travel in the cab of a rescue truck with you in the event a breakdown.

For more information about the Dogs Trust, go to

Picture by Paul Harbarth