If you own a dog then you may, at some point, have to put him/her in a car. Whether it’s a trip to the vets or a longer journey there are several things to consider when it comes to the safety and comfort of your best friend.
Harnesses, Guards and Crates
We wear seatbelts and we make sure our kids are safely secured too. The same should apply to your dog. They might be well behaved and sit quietly on the back seat. However, if you need to brake suddenly or if you bump your car, they could be thrown forward and get injured. In a more serious bumb they could become a missile that will shoot forward and injure any of the people in the front of the car.
When deciding how to secure your dog, there are several choices available:
Dog Guard – This is a mesh which can be fitted between the boot and the back seat. This stops the dog from climbing over the seats. However, it doesn’t offer as much protection as your dog will not be protected from impact with the rear or side windows. They need to be sturdy and properly secured in place to be effective as protection in case of accidents.
Crate – If you are going to put your dog in a crate you need to ensure, firstly, your car is big enough to hold it and secondly, the crate is big enough for your dog. You need to make sure your dog is able to stand at full height and there is room for them to turn around and lie down in a normal position. Make sure the dog can see out of the container and there is enough ventilation. Also, by adding bedding to the crate it will help prevent the dog from slipping around.
Harness – If your dog is too big for a crate or you would prefer another option, then it’s worth considering a padded car harness that secures your dog by linking in with the seat belt system. Make sure to measure your dog to make sure you get the right size. We have read these are not entirely safe as the straps can dig into the dog’s skin during an accident.
By choosing one of these options, it will ensure your pet has a safer journey. However, there are still other things to consider if you are going on a long journey:
Before putting the dog into the car, make sure they have exercised beforehand. This will help them settle as they will have burned off some excess energy.
Some dogs get motion sickness/car sick. If you know you are going on a long journey, don’t feed them before you travel. Leave it a couple of hours. Also, don’t give them food whilst travelling. Keep them calm and give them a new toy to play with so it takes their mind off being in the car. If this is a problem then we do have medications that can assist with travel sickness and ease their stress.
Make sure you have plenty of water and take regular stops so your dog can stretch its legs.
Don’t let your dog stick its head out of the window. It could result in injury. We have had dogs at the clinic that have done this and have had particles or small stones flicked up by tyres that shoot into their eyes. Also, some dogs may try to jump out.
Very Importantly, do not leave your dog in the car, especially on a hot day. Whilst in the car, ensure the dog is not in direct sunlight. Leaving a window open a crack is not sufficient as the inside of the car can get very hot and every year dogs die unnecessarily because they have overheated in cars.
These are a few hints and tips which we hope you will find useful. If you want more information, please call us at the clinic or leave a message on our Facebook page and someone will get back to you.