Our dogs are our best friends, so naturally, we want to do everything with them. When it comes to travelling, we can’t help but want to take our dogs with us. Whether that’s driving for a day out to the beach or travelling across the country to visit family and friends. How can we leave our dog’s home alone to miss out on the fun?
But deciding to bring your dog with you on your next adventure is the easy part, and the logistics of having them in the car are a different issue.
To help you enjoy car journeys with your dog, we have all the answers, tips and advice you need to know here. Starting with the most important question, does your dog need a seat belt?
Do Dogs Need Seatbelts?
Yes, your dog needs a seat belt or to be otherwise restrained during any car journey. If your dog is not properly restrained, the potential for injury, both to themselves and others in the car, is high.
For example, if you are driving at speed and have to come to a sudden stop, a dog in your car would be thrown forward, injuring themselves and anyone else they come into impact with. An unrestrained dog in a car accident would be like a bullet in the car.
So, to keep everyone safe, any dog owner planning on taking their pooch on an adventure must have a dog seatbelt. But don‘t worry; this doesn’t mean awkwardly trying to get your dog to sit like a human.
A dog seat belt is specially designed for your four-legged friend and attaches to their collar or harness just like a lead would. At Poppy & Ted, we have designed our own car seat belt for dogs that is functional and high-quality for an affordable price. Each dog seat belt in our collection can be adjusted to suit your dog's size, clipped to their collar or harness, and then simply attached to the seat belt buckle in your car. It’s that simple to keep your dog safe!
Dog Car Safety and the Law
If you’re still questioning whether a dog car seat belt is really necessary, you may be surprised to learn that it is actually a requirement by law.
According to the RAC, one-third of UK drivers do not comply with this law and do not restrain their dogs while driving. But not doing so can result in a fine of up to £2,500, which is a pretty big price to pay if you are not aware of the law. However, this is a rule you should have encountered when first learning to drive, as it is stated as Rule 57 in the Highway Code.
“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.”
As the rule states, it is also imperative that even when restrained, your dog cannot cause a distraction to the driver. This means where possible, your dog should be restrained in the back of the car and not sitting up front with you. But it is important to mention that while having a dog sitting in a front seat is not illegal, you may still encounter a fine, and it is not the best practice for safety standards.
The rule also clarifies that a seat belt is not the only option for restraining your dog; cages, carriers and guards are also an option. However, we find that a dog seat belt is the easiest, space-saving solution that ensures you can take your dog with you even at short notice! It’s also a suitable option for all sizes and breeds.
4 Tips for Travelling in a Car with your Dog
Now you know exactly the laws and rules regarding having your dogs in the car with you. But what if your dog is a nervous traveller or you’ve never attempted to take them in the car with you before?
Here are four tips to help you and your dog have a safe and fun journey, no matter how short or far!
- Always carry water. Your dog may become dehydrated on long trips, and cars can become quite hot even when running, so invest in a travel water bottle for your pup.
- Put up a window shade. Originally designed for babies and small children, a pop-up window shade is a simple addition that will keep your dog from direct sunlight, becoming motion sick or being distracted by what's outside.
- Make regular stops. When on longer journeys, make sure you have regular stops that give your dog a chance to stretch their legs and use the bathroom. Remember, they can’t tell you when they’ve had enough, so keep their comfort in mind even when you want to shave some time off the journey.
- Treat motion sickness. If you have travelled with your dog in the car previously and have noticed they can become travel sick, take them to the vet before a planned journey. Their vet will be able to prescribe medication that can help your dog feel more comfortable.
Travelling Safe with your Dog
We hope you have found the answers you need here to start travelling safely with your dog and have many happy adventures together! Remember to comply with the road safety laws and keep your dog as comfortable as possible on the journey, even if it is just for a run around the block.
Getting your dog comfortable in the car is also especially helpful for smaller breeds and older dogs who can not walk very far. It’s still possible to take them with you to hiking spots and beaches for a fun day out.