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
Mrs Ann Hampshire
Dartmoor Dog Training Club
West Brushford Farm
Want to join us?
If you'd like to become a member, please download our application form.
Like Us on Facebook
Merton 2018 Photo's
We have a few photographs of Members and their dogs at the Merton Show 2018. We have to thank David Wilson for taking the photo's. Click here to view.
Guide to Surviving your first agility show:
Kim Lawer and Cornwall Agility Club have produced a very detailed and comprehensive document for anyone entering their first show. It would be impossible to improve upon this document and with their permission i have made it available to download here.
Guide to surviving your first show 2018.[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [740.6 KB]
Are You Aware of Alabama Rot Disease It can be fatal to your dog. A confirmed case occurred in Cullompton recently. The dog concerned had been walked at Kilerton and Ashclyst woods.
Click here for more details.
Kennel Club Guidlines for owners and handlers with dogs taking part in canine activites. Click below
How to perform CPR on your dog:
Click here to go to the video
Is your dog microchipped?
Are You Aware
of the ammendments to the Dangerous Dogs Act. Click here for the details - it effects us all.
Minutes of Kennel Club Agility Liaison Council Meeting 17th January 2019 see here.