Updated: Jul 30, 2019
With this lovely summer weather we've been having it's been a great opportunity to get out and about to explore with our dogs. But how does your dog travel to your adventures?
As a professional dog walker and a dog owner I think that I view this from 2 perspectives and I've been driven (pun intended!!) to write this having seen some pretty scary sights over the last few weeks. Dogs travelling unsecured in the back of pick ups, dogs being secured in cars by their collars and dogs totally unsecured with their heads hanging out of the window!! On our narrow Cornish lanes it doesn't take much imagination to see how that could end...
As a dog owner... what do you need to know?
The High Way Code rule 57 states
"When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars."
Now, this in itself isn't law BUT, it is an advisory and as such IF you were in an accident and your dog's weren't secured then your insurance may not be valid - definitely worth checking out!
However, for me it's not so much about following the Highway Code as making sure my dogs are safe and comfortable while travelling. If they are in our car, then they are in the boot with a well fitted boot guard. That way if there's an accident they are contained and not flung from one end of the car to the other - minimising the risk of injury to them and to other passengers. If they are in my van, then we have the luxury of custom fitted crates where we know that they are safe & secure.
Other safe ways to travel are to secure a dog crate into your boot, making sure that it is tightly strapped in. Securing your dog to a seat belt attachment via a harness - not to a collar... can you imagine what could happen if you slam your brakes on suddenly, get rear ended of if your car rolls and your dog has to take all of the force through it's neck?
When choosing a dog walker... what do you need to consider about transporting your dog?
All of the above!! Many dog walkers will transport their client's dogs to and from walks and have a variety of safe set ups to ensure that your dog is comfortable on their journey.
What to look for...
- are the crates fixed securely to the van/car?
- does your dog have enough room to stand, turn and lay down in the crate?
- if being attached to a seat belt attachment is your dog wearing a well fitted harness?
- is the dog guard securely attached?
- if your dog is transported in a crate, do they have to share the crate? Who with? Does your dog know his travel mate? These are really important considerations for your dog's wellbeing.
- If in a van, is the bulk head cut away? Can the dog walker see and hear the dogs?
- is the vehicle uncluttered? In the worst case scenario you don't want things flying around the vehicle that could make the situation more dangerous.
And definitely ask to see how your dog will travel - it is a really important part of your dog's walking experience!
Safe travels.... enjoy getting out and about and exploring!!!