Gosh, don't dogs look cute travelling up front with you on a road trip? With their faces catching the breeze out the window and the freedom to be by your side, what's not to like?
Pooches just love riding shotgun don't they? But is it safe? In short no. And here's why.
Travelling safely with your best bud is super important and there are a couple of really simple things to consider when deciding how to set your pup up for success and safety in your car.
How do you set your dog up to travel safely and comfortably in your car?
Your dog needs to be secured in your vehicle!
We're going to assume you wouldn't pop your dog in your lap when driving for a selection of reasons not least being the crushing effect it would have on his bones in a crash.
A surprising 16% of people are the minority when it comes to restraining their pooches for travel. In the event of a crash this could be deadly.
Your dog needs to be secured in someway to prevent him being catapulted out the windscreen. There are a number of ways to safely and comfortably keep your dog secure in the car. You can use a crash tested harness, a crate or a travel carrier.
You may have seen seatbelt adaptors for dogs which you just clip onto your dog's collar or harness. While widely available in pet stores and online, these quite simply aren't very safe. They're not crash tested and they are likely to fail in the event of a car accident.
If you're using a crate or a carrier it is not enough to simply put it in your vehicle and put your dog inside. The crate itself needs to be secured in the vehicle. If the crate is not secured, then the risk of injury to the driver and other passengers increase dramatically, as you'll now have a dog in a crate being catapulted around your car if you crash!
Ensuring your dog is safely restrained is not just a good idea, it's a legal requirement in the UK. Not doing so could not only injure you, your dog and any passengers but it could also land you with a £5000 fine and invalidate your car insurance.
Research conducted by Confused.com found that one in 10 drivers has had an accident while travelling in the car with a pet, or know someone who has.
Aside from the danger of physical impact in a crash if your dog is not suitably restrained there's another very important reason to plan your dogs travel set up. Think about the emergency services attending your vehicle. You're in a bad way, your dog is distressed and worked up and at this point a firefighter or paramedic arrives to get you out of the car for emergency care. Your dog isn't restrained and the door opens.... he bolts.
At best he dodges the traffic or is caught by a member of the public swiftly. At worst he gets hit by an oncoming vehicle or runs so fast and so far that he's now missing... lost, alone and traumatised.
Choosing crash tested equipment for your dog
Top Crash Tested Dog Crates
Not all dog crates are created equal. If budget allows and you can find an appropriate sized crash tested crate for you car then this is a brilliant option.
Mimsafe and TransK9 are two of the best crash tested crates in the UK. You can search for your vehicle in their smart vehicle search bars and they'll show you which of their crates can fit in your vehicle.
An alternative for smaller dogs is a soft crash tested travel carrier which can be used with ISOFIX on your rear seats. This Jet Set Jumbo Isofix must be connected using your ISOFIX connectors for the crash tested element to apply.
Top Crash Tested Dog Harnesses
At present there are four crash tested dog harnesses available in the UK. These allow your dog to travel safely on the rear or front passenger seats safely, just don't forget those airbags!
These are a great option for dog's who don't like travelling in crates, for dog's who suffer with travel sickness, or if you don't have room in your boot for a crate.