We now take it for granted that humans must be seatbelted firmly in place during car travel, but what about dogs (and occasionally cats)? To find out more, read on, or watch the video clip at the foot of this page.
An unrestrained pet in the car during travel can be a dangerous distraction to a driver. Even if your pet is well behaved, you still have to consider their safety should another driver cause you to slam on your brakes or get into a collision.
A recent survey in the UK showed nearly 90% of all motorists who regularly travel with their pets had been distracted by their animal when driving. A further 11% had nearly crashed into the vehicle in front because of the distraction.
Not only can there be significant injuries to the animal and the people in the car, things can get complicated in other ways: a dog may escape through a broken window and dash into traffic, causing more collisions or being further injured by being hit by another vehicle. Or an injured and frightened dog may get protective of its human, refusing to let emergency workers into the vehicle at a time when people’s lives are in danger.
Dogs are legally obliged to be to be safely restrained when in a car, using a seat belt harness, a crate, a pet carrier or a guard.
My favourite method of restraint is the use the high quality, well-constructed, durable harnesses made by Julius-K9. That’s the one that Kiko is wearing in the video clip: they even make personalised labels that attach to the harnesses, which is a bit of harmless but enjoyable fun! When your dog has a harness like this on, they can easily be attached to a regular seat belt.
There are many other ways of making sure that dogs travel safely.
If you have room in your estate car boot for a dog crate, this can be the best way to transport your dog. Otherwise, see the items below, all available from Maxizoo.
- Isofix €59.99. A way of creating a miniseat belt for a dog by using the child safety seat secure connectors
- Trufit smart harness €29.99. A body harness designed to be connected to seat belt attachments
- Anione Safety Leash €7.99. A simple leash that plugs into the seat belt socket
- Crate Keeper €34.99. A secure way of keeping a cat or dog carrier secure within a seat belt
- Window guard €6.99. To fit to an open window so that the dog can get fresh air without jumping out or even sticking head out
- Car seat barrier €14.99. To go between the front driver and passenger seats to stop dogs coming forwards
Focus on your pet’s comfort when taking them in the car
Don’t forget your pet’s comfort and health when taking them on car journeys.
- If you’re going on a long trip with your dog, then exercise them well before you set off. If they’re tired, they’re more likely to sleep on the journey.
- Bring water, and stop every few hours when travelling with your dog. They’ll need to stretch their legs, drink water and relieve themselves.