When you go for a drive with your dog in the boot, it’s easy to assume the journey will progress without issue. However, as any owner knows, that is not always the case.
While many dogs prefer to ride upfront with their owners - using harness-based restraints that lock into the seatbelt fastener – we often assume that the boot is a safe place for our pup that requires very little additional thought.
In reality, there are a number of problems that can arise during a journey if your dog is travelling in the car boot - and as an owner, it’s important that you take all necessary precautions before setting off.
Before you leave…
1) Make sure that you take a bowl for water and some food. Due to the sunlight coming through the windows, it’s very easy for your dog to overheat. Combat this by ensuring their levels of hydration remain high throughout the trip.
2) Most dogs aren’t the biggest fans of car trips, so make sure you pre-plan a few stops along the way for them to get a breath of fresh air and stretch their legs.
3) During warm weather, keep the air conditioning on at a low temperature to prevent your dog becoming nauseas – nobody likes to be stuck in a car with fresh vomit until the next service station.
4) Turn on child locks for the rear seats’ windows and door handles. In the unlikely event that your dog jumps out of the boot, it is possible that they could accidently trigger the switches and open themselves up to danger.
5) Take your dog for a decent walk before setting off – your dog will be much more relaxed once they’ve spent any excess energy, and are more likely to sleep more soundly during the journey.
Ways to ensure your dog’s safety in the car boot
Dogs either need to be secured in the boot and a guard in place to block access to the passenger interior or in a secured crate or cage within the boot. If you use a harness, ensure it is the right size and fitted correctly.
There are a number of ways to maintain dog safety when they’re travelling in the car boot, but as different dogs prefer different methods, it’s important to experiment and find the best one for your pooch.
For smaller dogs, especially those who suffer from anxiety, a transport carrier can be a godsend. A carrier with excellent ventilation provides a cosy, compact environment for your dog without the worries of them being thrown about due to sudden turns and emergency stops. You should always choose a carrier just big enough to allow your pooch to turn around in - and to help them relax, you can easily furnish it with comfortable blankets. An added benefit of carriers is that if your pup is liable to urinate or vomit during the trip, it’s much easier to clean a blanket than your car’s interior.
Using an RTA-certified barrier is a great way to prevent larger dogs from getting hurt in the event of an accident. While they may pick up a small bruise or two during an emergency, a few bruises are always preferable to them being launched through the windscreen due to a sudden stop. Barriers also allow larger dogs more space to spread out during longer journeys, preventing cramps and keeping them in good spirits.
In most cars, the boots have fixtures that can be used to affix a harness. Harnesses are excellent tools to ensure dog safety in the car boot, as well as preventing them from jumping over the back seat. Leads that only control your dog at the neck are not advised, as a sudden stop can cause irreversible harm, and even death. Harnesses on the other hand spread the support across the entire of the upper torso, limiting the likelihood of injury.
When you take a break…
1) Dog safety when travelling in the car boot extends to anytime you decide to take a break from the road - so when you do make a stop to let your dog stretch their legs, ensure that they are secured using a harness before opening the door. Dogs that have been stuck in a car for a while are likely to launch themselves at the opportunity for a walk and fresh air, and if you are near active traffic, the risk of an accident increases dramatically.
2) Allow the car to air out by opening the doors to prevent the air from becoming stale during the next leg of the journey and potentially leaving your pooch feel unwell.
3) NEVER leave your dog unattended in the car – even for a minute. Your car acts as a greenhouse, and even in moderate temperatures the air can quickly become too warm for your furry friend to cope with - and a cracked window does very little to negate this.
Don’t ignore the legalities
A rarely discussed issue related to dogs in cars is one that heavily affects their owners as well, and that is the terms and conditions of their insurance cover and their driving license.
The highway code states that all pets should be suitably restrained in a way that they cannot interfere with the driver’s concentration. Whilst rare, the police are always within their right to refer you to the UK courts if your dog enjoys sticking its head out of the window, or begging for your attention while you drive – the outcome of which could be the loss of your license.
Similarly, if you are in an accident and witnesses state that your dog was not adequately restrained, your insurers are within their rights to invalidate your cover – opening you up to legal fees, repair costs, and medical bills.
If you’re looking for high-quality, affordable dog accessories, why not have a browse through our products? From comfy beds and mats, to harnesses and grooming supplies –Bunty Pet Products is here to offer a fast, efficient, and friendly service.
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