It is said that we learn by our mistakes. Sadly, that is not a rule that seems to apply to a few pet owners because scarcely does a Summer go by without someone having to break into a car to rescue a suffering dog. Many seaside resort towns ban dogs from beaches in the high season and thoughtless owners have form for leaving their pet under the baking sun in a car without fresh air or water. It’s a tragedy.
One answer is to not take the dog. It will probably be quite happy at home, with a relative or in a kennels. The trouble is, we like our faithful companions and want them with us on a day out. The solution is to prepare in advance.
Dogs And The Law
Some dog owners seem unaware that an animal needs to be under control in a moving vehicle. It is not unusual to see cars on the road with unrestrained dogs leaning out of the window, tongues lolling, almost as if they are planning a breakout. It might be amusing to see a pooch leaping about happily with the family but it’s a distraction and, as we should all well know, distractions are dangerous. A dog can impede a driver in many ways and the law is clear on this. The highway Code clearly 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.”
Anyone who has seen those official vehicle safety films of crash test dummies getting the accident treatment will know how it goes; that’s why we have cars that have safety features and airbags. Imagine the carnage of a loose dog flying through the windscreen or into passengers. Doesn’t bear thinking about.
It just makes sense to use a suitable pet restraint. Many options are relatively inexpensive and only need buying once. The pet will soon get used to it. A visit to the local pet centre or a bit of research online and the job’s done.
- • Make plenty of stops en route and always offer the dog drinking water and a chance to stretch their legs and relieve themselves; just like we have to.
- • You’ve seen the sad headlines: Never, ever leave a dog alone in a vehicle. A dog is not able to cool down as effectively as we do and can quickly suffer from heat stroke and dehydration. A slightly open window or a shady spot is not enough, especially if the sun is beating down on a municipal car park.
- • Travelling in cars does not come naturally to pooches. They need to get used to it so break the pet in gently with short trips at first. They will soon grasp that they are required to settle down for the duration.
Finally, buying the right car
is important. Trying to squeeze a St Bernard into a city car is a recipe for disaster. that’s why all the cars we sell list all the features and importantly have many photographs that make clear, for example, how big the boot is. That way when a buyer chooses to have the car delivered the whole family and the dog can look forward to a run out in it.