Travelling by car
If you are planning to take your dog with you on a car journey, there are some safety and welfare issues you need to think about.
If you intend to travel to another country, check out the Pet Passport section, especially if you intend to enter or re-enter the UK, Eire or Sweden since the requirements are more stringent.
Tips when travelling by car with your dog
- Make sure that your dog is safely restrained by using a car harness, a travel crate or strong well fitting dog-guard.
- Provide comfortable bedding
Provide fresh drinking water at all times (non-spill bowls are available) and make plenty of stops on your journey for him to stretch his legs and relieve himself (This is a good idea for you too!). Never exercise your dog on the hard shoulder of a motorway – wait for a service station.
- Never leave a dog alone in a car, especially on a warm or hot day. Ensure that the sun is not directly on him whilst you are travelling and try to make your journey during the coolest part of the day.
- Make sure someone stays with your dog when you stop at a service station.
- Don’t feed your dog just before travelling as this will help reduce the likelihood of him suffering from car sickness
- Don’t let your dog stick his head out of the window as passing vehicles could injure him, his eyes or ears could be damaged by particles in the air or he could try to jump out.
- Only sedate your dog if completely necessary and as a last resort. Only use sedatives that have been prescribed specifically for your dog by your vet. If motion sickness is a problem, your veterinarian will be able to advise.
The Older Dog
Remember as a dog gets older, he may suffer from degenerative changes in the joints that make him stiff and less able to get into the car. Your veterinarian may be able to advise on medications as necessary, but there are simple things you can do to help such as remembering to lift him into the car or providing ramps.
Relevance Dangerous Dogs Legislation (UK)
It is important to realise that the inside of a car legally constitutes a public place. Anyone who is bitten when sticking his or her fingers through your car window could report you under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. If you have been ordered to keep your dog muzzled in public then you must muzzle him whilst he is in the car.