One in four motorists        break the law by not          restraining their dogs in    the car



31 Jul 2014 at 14:21


RAC urges drivers to ensure safety of cats and       dogs on the move

More than one in four (27%) dog-owning motorists unwittingly break the law when it comes to               transporting their pets by not keeping them              restrained when their vehicles are on the road, new research has found*.

The RAC Pet Insurance study also revealed that    4% of pet (2% dog and 2% cat) owners have had   an accident, or a near miss, as a result of a cat or   dog being loose in their car.

According to the Highway Code dogs or other         animals** should be suitably restrained in a vehicle so that they don’t distract the driver or injure them if the vehicle stops quickly. Official advice from the RSPCA is that dogs are both secure and         comfortable during transport.

While the majority agree that it is a hazard to allow a dog to be loose in a vehicle, 28% said they would let their dog move freely, even in a vehicle full of luggage. Also of concern is that 21% usually leave  their dogs unsecured on car seats while 6% let them travel in passenger footwells.

Of those who do secure their dogs in transit on the  road, a third (34%) restrict their animals to the boot, less than a quarter (24%) use a pet seatbelt or harness, and just 15% transport their dogs in a   cage or carrier.

As many as 78% of dog owners travel with their      dogs in the car. whereas cat owners do not tend to drive with their cats as much, with only 50% saying they ride with them.

Cat-owning motorists, however, are seemingly       more safety conscious as 92% of those surveyed   said their felines were kept in a secure carrier when travelling by car. And, 96% said they would never   consider letting their cat loose in the vehicle.

RAC Pet Insurance spokesman Simon Williams      said: “As a nation of dog and cat lovers it is             surprising that we seem to give so little                    consideration to their safety when they are               transported in vehicles. Unsecured pets in moving  vehicles are a real danger, not only to the driver     and passengers, but to themselves in the event of  an accident or if the driver has to brake suddenly.

“Our research suggests that a sizeable amount of   people are prepared to take a risk and leave their   dog unsecured, and, worryingly, that more than one in 10 (13%) do not actually consider it to be a        driving hazard.

“While pet owners may feel they know how their     dog behaves in the car, nobody can predict what   might happen round the next corner or how a dog  would react in or after an accident. The best way to ensure the safety and security of everybody in a     vehicle when travelling with a pet is to make sure it  is properly restrained.”

For pet owners looking to ensure the safety of their dog or cat in the car, the RAC has just launched an improved and expanded range of its popular and   market-leading pet travel products.

Together with leading pet manufacturer Pet Brands, the RAC has built on the range – first launched seven years ago after identifying a gap in the market for pet travel safety products – so dog and cat owners have a wider choice of quality pe transport products to choose from.

The range, which is available through RAC Shop   pet travel section and a select number of pet wholesalers and retailers, comprises 33 additional travel safety and outdoor accessories, extending the range to 57 items. Customers can choose from a Standard RAC product or pay a little extra for           slightly higher quality Advanced premium products.

Paula Boyden, veterinary director at Dogs Trust,     says: “It’s important that when you are taking your  dog on the road in a vehicle that they are travelling  in a safe and comfortable way. There are many      ways in which this can be done, so that the journey is a smooth experience for both dog owner and the dog themselves.”

Below are our some Dogs Trust top tips, whatever   the time of year:

         Secure your pet – make sure your dog is    secure and comfortable on a journey for their own  safety and so they cannot distract you. They should be fitted with a correctly sized harness or               positioned within a travelling crate or container

         Never leave pets alone in cars – don’t leave your dog alone in the car. Even if it seems cool      outside it can become very hot very quickly. Parking in the shade and/or keeping the windows down does not make it safe!

         Keep pets cool – make sure you keep your dog as cool as possible when driving. Avoid             travelling during the heat of the day, use sun blinds on the windows and consider opening a window a   little to allow a cooling breeze to circulate in the      vehicle

         Stop en route to give pets a drink – make    sure you have a supply of water and know where    you can stop off en route for water breaks. Dogs     are not able to cool down as effectively as humans so could suffer from heat stroke and dehydration    very quickly

         Allow pets to adjust to travelling – allow       your dog to become familiar with car journeys by    ensuring they have positive experiences over a      number of short trips before embarking on a long     journey

         Plan journeys and routes carefully – plan    your journey time and route carefully as you'll need to stop at regular intervals to exercise your pet

         Consider suitable pet destinations –            consider your pet with regards to your destination. Busy environments, such as bustling city centres or loud carnivals and public events are not always       suitable for dogs as they can get distressed

         Feed your pet in advance of travel – feed    your pet no sooner than two hours before a long      journey to ensure that your pet does not have a full stomach when travelling

         Always have food at the ready – take a       supply of your dog’s usual food in the event that     you get stuck in traffic or have a breakdown

         Always have a harness or lead at the ready – keep the dog’s harness or lead close to hand in    case you need to get out of the vehicle

         Do not let dogs hang their head outside      cars – Dogs Trust advises that owners shouldn’t    allow their dog to hang their head out of the      window while they are moving as this could be        potentially dangerous for the dog as well as            distracting for the owner

         In an emergency – if you see a distressed  dog in a vehicle please call 999, or either the          RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 or the Scottish SPCA on 03000 999 999


Contact Address

Mrs Ann Hampshire


Dartmoor Dog Training Club

West Brushford Farm




EX18 7SJ


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