How To Safely Travel With Pets
Driving with your pet is sometimes a necessity and needs to be done. However, it can be a difficult task as animals can be very distracting and can find being in a car stressful and scary. Whether it's a short journey or a longer trip you need to make sure your car is equipped, and your pet is ready for the drive to ensure a safe and comfortable ride for them.
Get them used to the journeys
If you are likely to be driving around with your pet on a regular basis or are about to make a long journey, it is best to get them used to being in a moving car by taking them on short trips first. This helps them get accustomed to the environment of the vehicle as well as the movements it makes when it drives. Keep an eye out for any signs of discomfort, fidgeting, vomiting or heavy panting from your pet as this could indicate that they need to get out for a break. Most motorway services offer a dedicated area for animals to do this. The RSPCA recommends that you feed your pets more than two hours before the journey as animals travel better on an empty stomach.
Restrain them properly
Ensure that your pet is adequately restrained so they can’t move around too much and distract you. Restraining them will also help them stay safe as the car moves and jolts when you drive, stopping them from getting hurt. Harnesses are also a great way to do this as well as help your pet stay still. Use a car guard to prevent your pets such as cats and dogs from climbing into the front section of the car and distracting you which can, in turn, prevent accidents due to this. A lot of car manufacturers such as Citroen offer fitted guards and dividers, some as a dealer-fit option.
If you have a breakdown
In the highway code, it says that if you break down on the motorway with pets in the car, you should leave them in the car unless it is an emergency, in which case you should keep them on a very short lead. Of course, when the weather is too hot, it would be safer to take the dog with you, but you must be sure that the dog is unable to escape and run into the road and keep them as far away from the road as possible to prevent an accident.
Most recovery services will take your pet in their cab with you if they are unable to fix the car on the road. However they are well within their right to refuse to take them, so make sure you tell the recovery company that you have a dog with you over the phone when you ring them to confirm that they will be able to take them if needed.
As animals are often a lot smaller than humans, the movements of the car can be far more dramatic for them and can often cause them to feel sick a lot more than we do. There are pet sickness tablets available, so if your pet is one that is prone to getting sick on a journey, this is something to consider. You give them a tablet by crushing it up and put it in their food a couple of hours before you drive and it will help with the motion sickness some animals get.