By Lionel Thain
Even if you don’t make regular car journeys with your pet, you never know when you might need to transport them somewhere. Meanwhile, if you do drive with your pet in the back (or front!) seat regularly, it’s important to make sure you’re doing everything you can to make sure they’re as comfortable as possible. Follow these tips to keep your cat or dog happy on the road.
Make them comfortable
If you’re planning a long journey get them used to being in a car by taking them on shorter trips beforehand. Bring along their favourite toy or blanket to help them feel more at home in unusual surroundings.
Restrain your pet
In most cases it’s important to restrain your pet for the safety of everyone travelling in the car. Their movements can prove a distraction to the driver. Small dogs and cats should be in a suitable container, while larger dogs can wear specially designed dog seatbelts. While some owners will feel comfortable letting their dogs travel loosely in the car, it’s worth bearing in mind if you’re planning on travelling abroad that in some European countries this is actually illegal.
As with the previous tip, make sure they’re accustomed to their container or restraint before setting off for your journey.
Have your vet on speed dial
Add your vet’s phone number to your mobile in case you need to contact them in an emergency. If you’re travelling a long distance find out beforehand where the nearest vet will be.
Make sure your pet is healthy
To avoid causing undue distress, you shouldn’t travel with an ill or injured pet (unless the illness or injury is minor, or you are taking them to the vet for treatment). Heavily pregnant pets that are likely to give birth during the journey or those that have given birth in the past 48 should also be spared the demands of a car journey.
Feed and water them
Feed your pet a light meal a couple of hours before the journey – it won’t want to travel on a full, heavy stomach. You should ensure that your pet has continual access to water. Bring food or snacks with you if your journey is a long one – just remember to keep meals light.
Keep them cool
The vehicle, and any container your pet might be in, must be kept well ventilated to stop your pet from becoming overheated. Long haired dogs, those with breathing problem and snub-nosed dogs are all at higher risk of heatstroke.
If you suspect your dog is suffering from overheating – their panting will become heavier and faster, they will become visibly agitated, and they will produce more saliva than normal – you must act immediately to allow them to recover quickly. Take it to a shaded area, give it plenty of water to drink, and cool it by spraying it with cold water.
It’s never a good idea to leave your pets unattended in a car, but under no circumstances should you ever leave one in a car in high temperatures or direct sunlight. Even a few minutes in temperatures above 25C / 77F can present a health risk.
If at all possible you should take breaks. Dogs can be taken for short walks, while cats will enjoy the opportunity to move around the car freely even if they can’t be let out. Use this time to give your pet some much needed comfort and attention.
Written by Lionel Thain of online competition site MyOffers. Visit them at MyOffers.co.uk for a chance to win petrol, insurance and even cars.
*Post in collaboration with MyOffers.