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How to drive safely with your dog in the car

It’s summertime, which means you’ll probably be out and about basking in the sunshine before autumn swiftly closes in on us. If you’re taking your dog to the beach or out on an adventure of any kind, chances are you’ll be driving. But how can you safely drive with a dog in the car? Particularly when they’re energetic – who wouldn’t be knowing you’re going to the beach?!

We’ve gathered some tips to help you transport your furry friend safely by car.

Restrain your dog appropriately

What’s appropriately and how can you restrain them? OK, well let’s first rule out the ways you should not restrain your dog in your car.

Don’t restrain your dog by

  • holding them on your lap
  • putting them in a cardboard box
  • putting a lead around their neck

The ‘dos’ below are stated in the Highway Code as reasonable ways to safely restrain your dog while driving.

Do restrain a dog by

  • using a seatbelt harness
  • dog cage
  • dog guard
  • pet carrier

Direct Line surveyed a number of vets, of those asked, 22% said that travelling without proper restraint was the main cause of injury and even death to dogs inside cars involved in a crash. So make sure you follow the Highway Code and keep both you and your dog safe when travelling.

Don’t let your dog stick their head out the window

You wouldn’t like to think of the consequences of a truck or another car hitting the side of your car whilst your dog’s head is hanging out the window. It’s not only putting the dog in danger, but it’s also presenting a distraction to other drivers and yourself.

Make sure you pack water

Not just for you when you get thirsty, but to ensure your dog is well-hydrated throughout your journey. If it’s a long journey, remember to stop frequently for toilet and water breaks. Keeping them hydrated will make them more comfortable when travelling.

Do not leave your dog in a hot car

This should go without saying but it’s still worth a mention. Peta says it only takes 15 minutes for animals to sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke – which is pretty scary. Remember, dogs can only cool themselves by panting and with that big furry coat they get hotter a lot quicker than humans.

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