Transporting a dog is a tricky business.They are often large, boisterous and notoriously difficult to calm down if overexcited.And so many dog owners are left wondering exactly how they should proceed.Should they simply bundle the dog into the car and hope for the best?
This is not an ideal solution, despite the images we’ve all seen of dogs joyously poking their heads out of moving car windows.While there are no laws against having a dog loose in your vehicle in the UK, section 57 of the Highway Codestipulates that they should be ‘suitably restrained so theycannot distract you while you are driving or injure you if you stopquickly.’
This advice is surely good advice.That said, the Highway Code is concerned mostly with protecting the occupants of the car, other road users and pedestrians.It is less concerned with the welfare of the dog.In this article, we’ll look at exactly how a dog can be transported comfortably – and above all, safely – between different locations.
Ensure that the Dog is Adequately Restrained
The best way to protect a dog from the forces associated with acceleration, braking and cornering is to restrict its movement.This is especially important in the case of very small dogs, who lack the bulk to resist these forces and may end up getting flung around the vehicle’s interior – which is neither a pleasant experience nor a safe one.
The best way to restrict an animal’s movement is to put them in a container.Small dogs can easily be picked up and placed in such a container, while larger ones can occupy larger cages in the boot of a hatchback.
Ensure that there is Adequate Ventilation
Dogs are less well-equipped to deal with excess heat than humans are.For this reason, it is important to provide them with a cool breeze on hot days, both when the vehicle is in motion, and when it is not.This can be done by opening a window – but not so much that the dog can escape through it!If you absolutely must leave a window open, then consider investing in a window guard – these are cage-like covers which fit over the top of the window, and thereby prevent your dog from escaping.
Get Your Boot Prepared
If you are transporting your dog in the boot of your estate or hatchback, then you will need to make a few modifications in order to make the environment as dog-friendly as possible.One possible problem stems from the slipperiness of the floor – in cars where the metal is exposed, a dog will have problems maintaining its grip of the floor.This is obviously not ideal when the vehicle is in motion; dogs may find themselves propelled back and forth as though they are ice skating!
Moreover, a dog might inflict damage upon the interior as well.This problem is made all the worse when a dog is dirty.The last thing you want is to arrive home and find that the inside of your boot is covered with filthy paw-prints and claw-marks.
Fortunately, help is at hand in the form of the car boot protector.Car boot covers for dogs come in several different varieties.The cheaper ones consist simply of a sheet of fabric, which does not fit any boot exactly but fits nearly every boot vaguely.While these offer a useful stop-gap solution, they are ineffective in the long term; they offer minimal protection and will quickly wear out and need replacing.
Those looking for something more substantial might consider the made-to measure boot liners available.These are more expensive, to be sure, but the protection they offer is greater and they will last for a great deal longer.If you own a more expensive car, then this extra expenditure will undoubtedly prove worthwhile.BMW, Mercedes and Audi boot liners are all available in a range of different sizes to fit each model, and so if you intend to take your dog out in your car you should certainly consider one.
One final piece of advice for transporting a dog in your car is to drive a great deal more sensibly than you otherwise might.By taking every corner just a little bit more smoothly and by braking just a little less sharply, you can reduce the motion of the car, thereby reducing the stress that the experience will inflict upon your dog.