Canine Car Safety

DrPaul -

Canine Car Safety

When it comes to travelling in a car we automatically buckle up? However, many owners still don’t secure their dogs when travelling which puts lives at risk.

A restraint will not just provide your dog with protection whilst travelling, it will also provide you protection… from the law! It is in fact illegal in the UK not to have your dog suitably restrained when travelling by car.

Section 57 of The highway code states:

When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.

Many policies require pets to be properly secured when travelling in a car. Your car insurance and potentially even your pet insurance may become invalidated if you get into an accident and your pet becomes injured because they were not properly restrained. The bills these could generate can be substantial as well as extremely stressful so should serve as another very good reason to buckle up your pup.

With multiple products available on the market it is important to know what to look for. Many of these products are not crash tested which may mean they don’t offer the best protection to your pet should you have an accident. Looking for restraints that have been tested and certified by the ‘Centre for Pet Safety’ will give you the peace of mind that you will be looking for.
The following products have been crash test certified by Center for Pet Safety or just look for their logo.

Safety Harnesses:
● Sleepypod Clickit Sport (Sm, Med, Lg, XL)
● Sleepypod Clickit Terrain Sm, Med, Lg, XL)
● ZuGoPet The Rocketeer Pack

When hot weather is in full force it is also important to consider how you need to keep your pets cool in the car. If the weather is forecast to be hot it is best to travel with doggy passengers first thing in the morning or at the end of the day when it is cooler outside.
Long journeys should be planned with multiple stops along the way and plenty of fresh water should be provided throughout the journey.

If your car is fitted with air conditioning it is best to keep this on circulating with the windows closed in order to keep your dog cool. Those travelling in cars that don’t have the luxury of air con need to carefully think about how they can ensure their dog stays cool; particularly in the event of traffic jams or slow moving traffic. Cooling mats and shades that can be put up on the windows will help but planning your journey is key to avoid any unwelcome traffic in a hot car.

Warning signs of dogs experiencing heat stroke may include
● Heavy panting.
● Excessively drooling.
● The dog appears lethargic, drowsy or uncoordinated.
● Collapsed or vomiting.

If your dog is displaying signs of heat stress pull over somewhere shaded immediately and douse your dog with cool water. If signs do not resolve quickly it is important to locate your nearest veterinary surgery as soon as possible as heat stroke can lead to organ failure and death if left unmanaged.

Paul Manktelow

Veterinary Surgeon

Dr Paul Manktelow is a vet who's worked for almost 20 years on the front line in some of the UK's busiest veterinary hospitals. Paul also appears regularly in the media as a TV and radio presenter, writer, public speaker and podcast producer.