What do you need to know when Driving With Pets?
Nearly half (45%) of households in the UK have at least one pet of one sort or another, with dogs and cats being by far the most common. While pets may need transporting by car from time to time and dogs in particular are routinely driven around, there are rules in place to ensure the safety of pets in transport and the humans transporting them. Follow these do’s & don’t for driving with pets and keep yourself and your family pet safe on your travels or when you book your motorhome hire and they join you for an adventure.
Rules For Driving With Pets – It’s Mostly For Dog Owners
For the most part, driving with pets other than dogs is done fairly infrequently. The pet in question being transported from home to the vet and back, or going to stay at kennel or other temporary residence while the owner is away. Dogs however, spend a lot more time in cars than most pets and many of the rules relating to driving with pets have dogs especially in mind.
According to the Highway Code, all animals in cars must be ‘suitably restrained’, the aim of this rule is to make sure that in the event of an accident, the pet won’t injure itself or injure you. The rule is also in place to reduce the chance of you being distracted by having an unrestrained pet n the car. Most people are aware that the Highway Code is advisory only and while some of the rules are also laws not all of them are. For instance, it’s not illegal for your dog to roam your car unrestrained, but distracted driving and careless driving are both illegal. After all, your unrestrained dog could easily distract you and driving with an unrestrained dog could also be considered careless.
There are a number of harnesses made for dogs which can be used to secure them to human seatbelts. Alternatively (and suitable for most other animals) a cage or crate should be secured with a seatbelt to keep your pet safe and to avoid the cage becoming a projectile in the event of a collision.
Motorhome Hire – Tips For Driving With Pets
Dogs love to stick their heads out of the window of a moving car, but as endearing as it looks, it’s not usually a good idea. While unlikely, it’s possible that another vehicle might pass close enough to injure your dog and there’s always the chance they may be struck by road debris which could be especially damaging if it hits the eyes. Put the air conditioner on instead!
If you know you’re going to be driving with pets, dogs especially, but cats too, it might be advisable not to feed them immediately beforehand. Pets can get carsick just the same as humans and if your pet isn’t accustomed to car travel especially so. To avoid having to clean up an unpleasant mess, give your pet time to digest their last meal before setting off.
To stave off hunger if travelling during normal mealtimes, or just as a distraction, make sure you take some of your pets favourite treats which can be periodically handed over to make their ride a little more pleasant, while reducing the risk of car sickness.
Make sure you take plenty of water with you, especially on hot days. But just like with small children, don’t let them drink too much and try to make sure your dog ‘goes’ before you set off to avoid the need for excessive stops. Or worse.
It’s something everyone knows or at least ought to know, but it’s worth repeating. Never leave your pet unattended in the car on a warm or sunny day. Dogs wear ‘fur coats’ and don’t sweat like we do to keep cool. An overheating dog can collapse and die from heatstroke frighteningly quickly. Leaving water isn’t enough. Leaving the window open a little isn’t enough. Just don’t do it.
We’re well known as a nation of animal lovers, so we hope these tips for taking to the road with your family’s four legged (or feathered) friend is useful the next time you find yourself driving with pets, or for when you take them with you in one of our pet friendly motorhomes.