With the mercury rising and motorists now facing fines of up to £5,000 and invalidated car insurance for not securing dogs in cars, White Cross Vets has compiled a list of tips for anyone planning car journeys with their pet pooch over the summer holiday season.
This comes after research from Confused.com, found almost two thirds of UK motorists were unaware that having an unrestrained pet travelling in a vehicle can result in a fine for careless driving.
White Cross Vets operates 20 practices, including Sale, Hyde and Walkden, and is part of the Independent Vetcare group. Mike Robinson, clinic director at White Cross Vets in Hyde, said: “Every year huge numbers of dog owners will holiday with their pets and during the summer months, you often see dogs travelling in cars with their heads poking out of the window.
“However, there are stringent laws surrounding unrestrained pets in cars, and these also relate to cats, rabbits and hamsters, as well as dogs. Rule 57 of The Highway Code states that dogs or other animals must be suitably restrained so they cannot distract the driver or injure themselves, or anyone else, if the vehicle stops quickly.
“People failing to drive with due care and attention could face a maximum fine of £5,000 and up to nine penalty points if the case goes to court, as well as invalidating the driver’s insurance policy.
Mike added: “There are lots of options available to restrain pets in cars, but most experts agree that using a cage or crate in the boot of the vehicle is the safest way to transport a dog. “Below is White Cross Vets’ list of tips for drivers embarking on long journeys with dogs this summer:
The Highway Code suggests using a seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard, in order to restrain pets in cars.
Giving your dog plenty of exercise before setting off should make for a more relaxed journey.
Leave enough time for the dog’s breakfast to settle before setting off, which will reduce the chances of car sickness. For dogs that suffer with motion sickness, there are prescribed medications available.
A non-spill water bowl is a useful accessory to ensure your pet stays hydrated.
For nervous travellers, packing favourite toys or blankets will help to maintain familiarity.
Window shades are an effective way of keeping cars cool and blocking out direct sunlight when you’re travelling.
Never let your dog travel with its head out of the window – this can result in all types of severe accidents occurring.
Finally, never leave a dog in a hot car and always plan where and when to take breaks and what you’ll do at your destination.
For further information visit www.whitecrossvets.co.uk