Taking to the road with your dog

Taking to the road with your dog

Many of us take to the road with our pets and if we are lucky enough might even have a place for them at our desks. But much as we love them, now and again our furry friends can pose a few challenges when we’re driving.

Here are some tips for those driving with pets from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards Richard Gladman.

  • Try not to feed your pet right before you leave or when you’re on the road, but do keep a supply of their favourite biscuits or treats so you can stay in control.  Never let dogs off the lead in a car park or motorway service area.
  • Keep your pets out of the front seat and off your lap. Driving with an unsecured pet in the front seat could distract you at a safety-critical moment. You never know when your pet might react to something they think is interesting outside the car. Ideally dogs should be behind a guard or correctly strapped in in the back seat. Cats or smaller creatures should be in an appropriately secured carrier.
  • Leaving your pet alone in the car, no matter what the temperature might feel like outside, is a big no.
  • Try to take along familiar toys and bedding to provide a relaxed setting. This allows greater comfort on the journey.
  • Don’t change up the menu! A sudden switch in your pet’s food before the journey can upset them (and their stomach!) and that’s not what you want when you’re stuck in the car together.
  • Take water and a bowl with you to keep your favourite companion well hydrated.
  • Take frequent stops for exercise and calls of nature. Keep a supply of poo bags in the car just in case.
  • Don’t let your pet stick its head out of the window. It may enjoy the draft but it’s a major league distraction for you and other drivers as well as being potentially very damaging for their eyes. Dog’s eyes were never designed to travel at 60mph!

    Richard said: “An unhappy pet equals an unhappy driver so always plan and prepare well in advance for any journey with a furry friend. An unrestrained dog or cat becomes a projectile in the event of sudden braking, potentially injuring drivers, passengers and pets alike. Just as with a child in the car fit the best equipment, which is custom designed for your size of pet and everyone will arrive relaxed, content and ready for action.”

Image courtesy of Thomas Zimmerman