Recently we were out and about doing our rounds and running errands and we noticed many cars go past that had dogs in them that were not restrained. Some drivers allowed their dogs to hang their head out the window. We recommend all animals, when travelling in cars, should be restrained and here is why.
The Highway Code states drivers need to ensure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop too quickly. If the police saw you with a dog that wasn’t secure they could pull you over if they felt you were being distracted and not driving to the best of your abilities due to an animal loose in the car
The law recommends a seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or guard as ways of restraining your pet while driving. We have a blog on the different types of restraints which you can read by clicking HERE.
An article from a well-known insurance company that features an opera singer in their adverts warns drivers it could invalidate their car insurance if a pet is not restrained and a claim made. Which means if you have an accident you could end up paying for your car to be repaired, repairs to any other car involved plus any medical expenses that occur. Insurance companies are very clear about this. If there is an accident and they feel an un secured pet may have contributed to the accident, then they are well within their rights not to pay out on a claim.
Finally, there are those who allow dogs to have their heads out of the car windows. We have all seen pictures of dogs with their head hanging out of windows with their tongue lolling out. Not sure why they like it as I have tried it and wasn’t keen. However, as vets, we see the other side of this. It can be incredibly dangerous as bits of grit could fly up into their mouth or eyes. You may be unlucky enough to see what a small stone can do to your windscreen when you are driving along. Can you imagine what it would be like if it hit your dog’s face.
Also, it could cause damage to their ears. When the dog’s ears flap in the wind, their soft ear flaps (pinnae) can easily become irritated and become very tender. The rapid flapping of the pinnae against your dog’s head from high-speed winds can cause trauma to the ear and can results in swelling.
We are not saying don’t travel with your pets in a car. At some point every pet will have to go on a journey. Whether that be to the vets or an even longer trip. We just think everyone should use a bit of common sense and keep their pets safely restrained. It will be safer for both you and them. For more information on dogs and car travel take a look at our blog HERE.