For any pet owner, there will be a time that you will need to transport your fur kid in your car. This may be the odd short trip to the vet or groomers, every few months or so, or a long road trip for your family “vay-cay”.
Either way you need to ensure that your pet is safely secured in the vehicle, for their safety and yours:
- The safest way for a dog to travel in a vehicle is contained in a crate that has been securely anchored. There are a variety of wire mesh, hard plastic and soft-sided carriers available. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. It’s a good idea to get your pet used to the carrier in the comfort of your home before your trip.
- An alternative is to use a properly fitted dog harness that has passed safety-tests and is securely attached to the vehicle as directed by the manufacturer.
- If transporting a cat, keep them contained in a carry cage that is partially covered to make them feel more at ease; as cats can easily become scared in a car. The carrier must be ventilated and safely secured so it does not move around and hurt your cat.
- Pets should be kept in the back seat of the car, rather than the front. This will prevent them from being injured if an airbag deploys.
It is against the law for an animal to occupy any position in a vehicle which may prevent the driver thereof from exercising complete control over the movements of the vehicle.¹
If possible, try to get your pet used to being transported before any long trips to reduce stress. Introduce them to short trips first. Build up to longer trips slowly and only when your pet is ready and coping well jet set off for your annual family holiday!
In addition to ensuring your pet is safely secured, there are added things to take into consideration:
- If your pet gets motion sickness or is anxious during a drive – chat to your vet, as medications can be given to help them.
- Stop frequently during longer trips to allow your dog to exercise and go to the toilet.
- Make sure your pet is microchipped and has a collar with ID. Never take your dog out without a leash.
- Never leave your animal alone in a parked vehicle – even with the windows open. A parked car can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop. In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
- Always have water in a bottle and a bowl so that you can stop at any time to give your pet a drink. For longer trips you should remember to pack food, a poop scoop, plastic bags, and a favourite toy or pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity.
- Don’t allow your pet to ride with his head outside the window.
Plan ahead and have many safe travels with your pets!