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Travelling with pets

24 November 2021 / Posted in: Advice

Keeping our pets safe and comfortable is always a priority. Since most pets will need to take a trip in the car at some point – even if it’s just a quick trip to the vets, how can we make sure that they’re safe and comfortable on the journey? We have done the research for you! Below are some helpful tips and info – including some snippets directly from the PDSA website to ensure your pets are travelling safely.

We're used to strapping ourselves in to stay safe and it's important to do the same for our pets. Keeping your pet properly restrained will keep you and your passengers safe, too.

 

How to keep everyone safe

A pet seatbelt or carrier can stop your dog or cat from moving around in the car and distracting you whilst you drive. There are lots of different products to consider:

  • Pet seat belts
  • Harnesses
  • Crates and Carriers
  • Boot/luggage guards (be aware that these protect your passengers in an accident but won't protect your pet)

Unlike human safety devices, there is no legal requirement for these products to be crash tested, so it can be difficult to know how much protection they would actually provide to your pet in the event of an accident. 

Can I use a dog guard to restrain pets in the car?

Yes. You can use a dog guard as a way of restraining animals in cars.

Why do pets need to be restrained in the car?

There are lots of important reasons to keep your pet well secured while you’re driving, some of which are listed below. Not only does restraint keep your pet safe in the car, it’s also a legal requirement:

  • Their safety: A pet seatbelt or carrier will help prevent serious injuries to your pet if you’re in a car accident.
  • Your safety: If your pet is loose in the car, they could seriously hurt you and your passengers in an accident. At just 30mph an unrestrained dog weighing 20kg, would be hurled forward with a force equivalent to the weight of a small moose!
  • Preventing accidents: A loose pet could distract the driver from the road and cause an accident – they could even get in the way of the steering wheel or the brake pedal.
  • The law: The Highway Code says that drivers must ‘make sure dogs and other animals are suitably restrained’ in your car. If you don’t follow the Highway Code, you could be considered to be driving without due care and attention. If you’re in an accident because you were distracted by your pet, this could be counted as dangerous driving.
  • Your insurance: A lot of car insurance policies require you to restrain your pets properly. A loose pet in the car could break the terms of your insurance and leave you with a big bill to pay if you’re in an accident. It may also invalidate your pet insurance if they are injured and need treatment.