Pet owners are being urged to put safety first and plan ahead when travelling with their animals.
The motoring experts at LeaseCar.uk have compiled their advice for travelling with pets, with the top priority being to keep them and other passengers safe.
The Highway Code states that a dog or other animals must be suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you or themselves if you stop quickly. Failure to do this could result in a fine and penalty points.
The experts are urging owners to use suitable restraints including harnesses for dogs, pet guards for larger, active dogs and cages or carriers for smaller animals.
Other tips featured in the guide cover preparing your animal for the journey, advice for during the trip and what to do when you finally arrive.
Tim Alcock from LeaseCar.uk said: “Travelling with your pet can be stressful, especially if they become anxious or suffer from motion sickness.
“These tips have been put together to help make the journey as easy as possible for both your animal and you. Preparing them ahead of the trip with a long walk and a light meal will get you off to a good start.
“Once the journey is under way, it’s important to make sure your pet is safe, and you adhere to the guidance set out in the Highway Code. Also remember to have plenty of stops, keep water in the car with your pet and make sure they don’t overheat.
“And when you finally reach your destination, let them run or take them on a good long walk.”
Before you start your journey
1. Go for a walk
Take your pet for a long walk before you head off on your travels to burn off excess energy. They’re more likely to spend the journey relaxing if they’re worn out.
Feed your pet two hours before travel – they travel better on an empty stomach and it reduces the risk of travel sickness. Also make sure there’s water in the car in a spill proof bowl.
On the journey
3. Keeping your pet safe
Make sure you stick to the rules in the Highway Code and keep your pet safe by using restraints. Harnesses are great for dogs. For larger, more active dogs, try a pet guard which can turn the boot into a dedicated pet area. For smaller pets, consider investing in a carrier, crate or cage.
Remember to take plenty of breaks on the journey for toilet stops and exercise, especially if you’re travelling a long way. And remember to keep your pet on a lead when you take them out of the car.
5. Window Shades
Invest in some window shades to help keep the car cool and block out direct sunlight. This will make the journey more comfortable for your pet.
6. Keep your pet relaxed
Journeys can be stressful to pet, so try and make them as happy and relaxed as possible. This could be as simple as their favourite toy or a blanket from home.
7. Cooling down
Don’t let your pet hang out of the window to cool down. Not only is this illegal, they could injure themselves. Instead turn on the air conditioning and open windows furthest from your animal.
If you breakdown while travelling with your pet, don’t let them out unless it safe to do so and make sure you keep them on a lead.
When you arrive
9. Let them free
As soon as you arrive and it’s safe, give your pet a chance to stretch their legs and run around.