Travelling safely with pets
When you have a pet, they fast become more than just an animal they become a member of the family. This is why when travelling with pets in a car it is very important to make sure they are safe and as comfortable as possible. A pet can be a great travelling companion if correctly transported or they can be a great danger to road safety and themselves, when not.
Before traveling with your pet never forget to prepare them for the journey ahead as you would with any other member of your family.
- Make sure that your pet has done his or her business before getting into the car.
- Some pets, like dogs, can get car sick in the car. To help stop this take your dog on short rides in the car with frequent walks to help get them used to the feeling.
- Make sure that you have your pet’s passport and documentation (this is more important when going on long journeys or holidays than when just traveling locally to your home)
- Don’t put them in the car until they are calm. If the animal gets in the car when it is nervous then the trip will more than likely start off badly, causing potentially stress to not only the dog but to the owner too.
Once everything is ok and you set off you can safely take your attention away from your pet. However, there are some important points to be aware of:
Breaks on long journeys.
It’s important to take short breaks to allow yourself to rest, however it is also important for your pet to rest. Remember to take a break somewhere safe and take care when opening the car so as to ensure that your pet doesn’t cause itself harm or another road user. Remember NEVER leave your pet in a car during a break without any ventilation as animals temperature rises much faster than ours.
Always check that you have adequate safety restraints for your pet. They should never travel loose so as to ensure that they aren’t hurt during travel on in the event of an accident. This is obligatory by law.
Pet safety restraints
It is illegal to travel without your pet safely restrained, failure to do so will incur a 100€ fine. There are various different types of restraints that comply with European homologation. Dependent on size and weight, one of the following should be used:
- Transport crate. This is one of the safest methods of transportation of pets, perfect for small animals or cats. Most people sit the crate on the seat and secure it with a seatbelt. This is proven to be dangerous for your pet, in the event of an accident the crate can slide which then causes it to break leaving your pet lose in the vehicle. The correct placement for a crate is behind the seats on the floor with the door facing sideways. Obviously, this cannot be done in small cars.
- Pet grill. Choose a grill if your pet is large in size and your vehicle is suitable. With this grill you can separate the front seats from the back or the boot from the rear of the car. This ensures that your pet isn’t loose inside the vehicle and doesn’t feel trapped or closed in, moreover it allows them to see and most pets like to see where they are!
- Harness and seatbelt. You could also use a harness and secure your pet with the seatbelt. This type of system is used predominantly for dogs but please remember never secure the seatbelt directly to your dog’s collar as it can severely injure your pet in the event of an accident.