How to keep your dog safe and stress-free in the car this August bank holiday

With millions set to travel by car this August Bank Holiday, many will be busy planning the quickest route or debating the best time to set off.

Thursday, 26th August 2021, 2:02 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th August 2021, 2:04 pm
New research has revealed 79 per cent admit their dog isn’t always secured when they travel with them in the car, meaning that they are more likely to distract the driver and are at risk of serious injury in the event of an accident.

But for the nation’s dog owners, they also need to consider how to keep their furry friends safe and stress-free.

New research has revealed 79 per cent admit their dog isn’t always secured when they travel with them in the car, meaning that they are more likely to distract the driver and are at risk of serious injury in the event of an accident.

Only four in 10 said they ‘completely understand’ how to travel safely with their dog in the car, and a fifth claim that they usually just sit in the backseat of the car and one in 10 dog owners let their dog sit on their own lap or that of a passenger when travelling in the car with them.

Creating the right environment

Emily Hussey, Assistant Buyer for Travel Equipment and the first ‘Bark & Ride’ specialist at Halfords, shares her top tips for getting your car dog ready this summer:

She said: “Starting with the car itself, it’s crucial you make this as safe and cool an environment as possible, especially if you’re bumper to bumper on the motorway!

“One of the most important things to keep in mind when travelling with your pet in the car is ensuring they are strapped in or secured, whether this be a seatbelt style harness or a comfortable crate or cage.

"It may seem obvious, but our research found that 51% of people don’t have a safety harness or safety device for their pet.

“Long journeys can be stressful for pets, which is why keeping the car comfortable should be a key consideration for pet friendly car travel. Dogs need fresh air and a cool environment, so making sure that the air conditioning in the car is in top shape is a must ahead of any trip.

“Almost a fifth of people worry that their dog will be uncomfortable during long journeys, and a packed car can make it difficult to create a safe and happy environment for your pooch."

Happy dog happy journey

As well as creating the right environment it’s also important to consider how to keep your dog as stress and anxiety free.

Carolyn Menteith, Kennel Club Accredited Instructor and Advanced Motorist gives his top tips on keeping your canine calm:

“If you are traveling any distance, plan in stops so your dog can get a break - to stretch their legs, have a wee and enjoy a drink. Most motorway service stations have dog areas now - but do be careful!

"Many dogs are lost escaping from the back of a car at a service station so rehearse opening the car and getting your dog out when you are at home so you both know exactly how to do it.

"If you have passengers with you - especially in the back seat - task one of them to keep an eye on the dog. They can tell you if they are happy, comfortable and relaxed - or if they are panting, worried or looking concerned. You’ve got enough to think about battling with the Bank Holiday traffic!

"Be prepared to change or abandon plans if your dog is getting distressed. A bad experience can colour your dog’s view of car travel for life - and you want to be able to enjoy many more Bank Holidays out and about together.”

For more info and tips on pet-friendly travel visit www.halfords.com/motoring/advice/bark-and-ride/.