SAFETY IN THE CAR AND DOG LAW.
We love dogs. And we know that your four-legged friends are family. So naturally they’ll be joining you on your adventures in the car. Whether you’re popping into town for dog biscuits or setting off on a full-blown road trip, we’ve created this helpful guide to help keep your pooch safe, secure and stress-free on every journey.
WHAT ARE THE UK LAWS FOR CAR TRAVEL WITH DOGS?
Before you get behind the wheel with your dog in the back, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the highway codes – specifically rule 571. This law states that your dog should be suitably restrained when travelling in a car, to reduce the chance of any driving distractions. Of course, it’s also important that they’re kept comfortable on the move – no matter how far you’re going.
WHAT IS A SUITABLE RESTRAINT?
To keep your dog secure in the boot of the car, we suggest fitting a dog guard – handy partitions that go between the back seats and boot of your car. That’s because…
- A dog guard separates your dog from the car’s cabin, so you’re less likely to be distracted
- They can comfortably turn around, stand up and lie back down
- They can still keep an eye on you for reassurance
- Dog guards keep muddy paws and doggy slobber off your seats
- There’s often very little training involved – all your dog needs to do is hop in the boot and you’re off!
MORE WAYS TO SECURE YOUR DOG.
Putting a dog crate in your boot is another simple and safe way to secure your dog in the car. This gives them slightly less freedom than a dog guard – which can be a good thing for more nervous or excitable pooches. They might take a while to get used to being enclosed, but using a crate at home can also help then feel less nervous about traveling in one. Of course, you’ll also need a big enough boot… hello, MINI Clubman.
You could also use a specially designed dog seatbelt harness – which attaches to your car’s seatbelts to secure your pooch in place. Although used by many and approved by law, they’re best reserved for more chilled-out dogs that can be trusted to lie calmly on the back seat.
5 TIPS FOR TAIL-WAGGING TRAVEL.
We’ve talked about how to secure your dog in the car. Now let’s look at how to keep them safe and happy while on the move…
1) ALWAYS SERVE REFRESHMENTS.
Bring along some of your dog’s favourite treats, as well as plenty of clean drinking water – car journeys can be thirsty business!
2) KEEP THEM COMFY.
Let your dog lie on their usual blanket or cushion. The familiar smells will remind of them of home and help them stay and feel calm.
3) MAKE REGULAR STOPS.
Stop regularly to give your dog time to have a drink, stretch their legs and do their business, before hitting the road again.
4) DRIVE SLOW AND STEADY.
Warning: precious cargo on board! Driving gently keeps your dog safe, while reducing car sickness and anxiety.
5) BEWARE OF EXTREME WEATHER.
Cars can get extremely hot, so consider the weather when making a long journey. Dogs are also very prone to getting heat stroke. Read more below…
TRAVELLING SAFELY WITH DOGS IN HOT WEATHER.
If you plan to travel with your dog on a scorching summer’s day, first consider if the journey is necessary, or whether your pooch would be happier at home. If it’s unavoidable, try to travel at cooler times of the day, offer fresh water regularly, avoid congested roads and never leave your furry friend in the car when parked.
Did you know that even a parked car in the shade with the windows down can reach deadly temperatures? When it’s 22°C outside, it can take just an hour for your car to reach a dangerously hot 47°C2. Always watch out for signs of heat stroke in your four-legged friend – like panting, vomiting, drooling excessively and collapsing3.
MINI CLUBMAN. THE PAW-FECT CAR FOR DOGS.
Looking to take your canine adventures to the next level? Check out the MINI Clubman – winner of ‘Dog Friendly Car of the Year’ at the News UK Motor Awards 2021. It’s got a super-spacious boot and a lovely low base to make jumping in and out a breeze. There’s an optional Pet Pack too, designed to keep your pooch safe and your boot clean with a Dog Guard and Rear Compartment Mat.
Find out more about the MINI Clubman below, or head to our Dog’s Hub for more expert tips and recommended doggy accessories.