Here at Animal Friends, we know that pets aren’t just animals, they’re part of the family, which is why we want to help keep them safe wherever you may roam together!
We’re used to strapping ourselves in to stay safe while we travel and it’s just as important to do the same for our pets. Here’s some advice on how to make your outings a positive experience for everyone involved.
The law on travelling with your pet
Rule 57 of the Highway Code states it’s the driver’s responsibility to:
“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.”
To make sure that you pet is safe, secure and comfortable while following the Highway Code, you can properly secure your pet by using:
- A carrier
- Seat belt harness
- Dog cage
- Dog guard
Other important things to know about the travelling with your pet by car:
- You could face a fine of up to £5,000 if your pet isn’t properly restrained
- Your car insurance could be invalid if you don’t obey the Highway Code
Before you travel
There are a few things you can (and should) do at home before travelling to help make sure your journey goes as smoothly as possible.
Get your pet used to cars
Before you go anywhere, it’s a good idea to train your pet to stay calm in the car or other vehicles. You can do this by:
- Sitting with them in a stationary vehicle
- Then with the engine running
- Driving short trips
Remember: reward your pet when they are calm with treats and praise.
Pack for your journey
There are a few essentials that you’ll need to pack before heading out! Here’s a list of things you shouldn’t leave home without:
- Lead (for dogs)
- Poo bags
- Any prescription medicines
- Pet first aid kit
- Favourite toy
Microchip your pet
An up-to-date microchip gives your pet the best chance of being identified and returned to you if you should get separated while on your travels. While it’s not yet compulsory to get your cat microchipped, it’s important to remember that collars and tags can get caught or removed so it’s not a guaranteed way of identifying them if they were lost or stolen.
Remember: make sure that your microchip details up to date to help give yourself and your pet the best chance of a happy reunion.
During the journey
Whether you’re making short trips or going on a longer journey, there are several ways you can make travelling easier for you and your pet. You should:
- Give one light meal before departure to limit motion sickness
- Provide water throughout the journey
- Keep the car well ventilated so that it doesn’t get too hot
- Stop every two hours to let your dog toilet and exercise
- If travelling with a cat, don’t leave any windows or doors fully open in case they try to escape the car
After you arrive
When you arrive at your destination, your pet is likely to be in unfamiliar surroundings so it’s important not to rush things. Take things slow and let them explore at their own pace.
The dos and don’ts of travelling with your pet
To make things easier for you, here’s just a reminder of the dos and don’ts of venturing on your travels:
- Use a harness, crate or carrier
- Get them used to travelling
- Consider getting your pet microchipped or check the details are up to date
- Pack plenty of water
- Take regular stops on long car trips
- Take a favourite toy or blanket for some familiarity
- Speak to your vet if your pet suffers from motion sickness
- Allow your dog (or cat) to travel with their head out of an open window
- Leave the passenger airbag on if they’re travelling in the front seat
- Ever leave your pet in a hot car
We know that travelling with your pet may seem a daunting task but by following our top tips and taking a few deep breaths, it should go as smoothly as possible.
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