How should my dog travel in the car?

(Q) We have recently acquired a six-year-old rescue dog. We intend to do quite a lot of travelling with our new pet, visiting various parts of the UK. The dog travels well as far as I’m aware but we have never owned a dog before, so what advice would you give us?

(A) Your Dog says: Never allow your dog to sit on the seats unrestrained; if you break suddenly he could end up hitting the windscreen or other passengers in the vehicle with fatal results. Restrain your dog in the car for his (and your) safety. Use a harness or, if you travel on a regular basis, it may be worth buying a travel crate to fit in your boot. There are plenty of products available; take a look online to see what is available and what would suit your circumstances best.

Always travel with a basic kit in case of accidents. Make sure it contains newspaper, paper towels, and some plastic bags.

On longer journeys, give your dog access to fresh drinking water and take regular breaks to let him stretch his legs and relieve himself. Never exercise your dog on the hard shoulder of the motorway. Check your route beforehand and make a note of service areas; many provide pet-feeding stations offering fresh water.

Never leave your dog on his own in the car. If possible travel in the morning or early in the evening when it is cooler. It may look entertaining, but do not allow your dog to stick his head out of a car window when you are driving. Not only could he be injured by passing vehicles, but dust and loose particles could cause damage to his eyes and ears.

Check that your breakdown service will allow your dog to travel in the cab with you if your vehicle needs to be towed. Both the AA and RAC advise customers to inform staff that they have dogs with them when they report a breakdown. Whether the dog will be allowed in the cab will be at the discretion of the driver.

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