Like all car passengers, dogs need to be transported safely.
In 2015, the RSPCA revealed that over 5000 dogs were either injured or killed in moving vehicles during the previous year. Some dogs reportedly fell out car windows; others fell from the back of a ute or were injured when the driver suddenly hit the brakes — in some instances, their airborne bodies even injured other passengers and oncoming traffic.
Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, if an animal is injured as a result of being transported unrestrained, the RSPCA can impose heavy penalties including up to six months in jail. To us, this is not enough.
At DogSmart Australia, we believe that all dogs should be properly and comfortably restrained in the same way you would accommodate a baby or toddler | young child.
Though some dog owners may prefer to transport their canine companions in pet crates, we recommend the option of having a car harness fitted. If your dog has to travel in a car that is not outfitted with one, attach the leash to a seatbelt and your dog’s body harness — never its collar. This way, your dog will be safe and the enjoyment of the drive will not be compromised.
Consult with your favourite pet store on the best equipment available, based on the size and weight of your dog. There are also hammock seat covers, pet booster seats and barriers available for car travel.
Some safety tips:
For long-distance journeys, please make sure that your dog has a non-spill water bowl and is allowed to have pit stops [for a toilet break and a stretch] every couple of hours. And always remember that your dog should sit in the back seat, especially if your car comes with an airbag.
- Never leave your dog in the car unattended if the day is hot and make sure you leave the electronic windows locked midway.
- Always ensure that your dog is calm and has been for a walk before you drive off.
- As you can see by the photos below, my companions, Alvin and Toby were very relaxed, and both patiently waited to be invited into the car before we drove off to the park.
Happy and safe motoring! And thank you to Rose from the Doggie Barber in Moss Vale for Alvin and Toby’s superb company.