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travelling with a dog in the car

Travelling with a dog in the car – how to transport your pet?

Added 26 October 2021 by

Travelling with a dog in the car and other pets does not have to be stressful. As long as you ensure the comfort and safety of your pet, driver and passengers, travelling can become a true pleasure. Find out how to transport your dog in the car, what you need to bear in mind and which accessories will facilitate your task. 

 

The law and transporting animals in the car

Transporting dogs and other animals is not precisely regulated under Polish law. There are no provisions in the Road Traffic Act that would clearly state how it should be done. However, that does not mean that transporting a dog is entirely uncontrolled. If, during the inspection, the police officer finds that the animal is transported inappropriately (because, for example, it is sitting on the driver’s lap or moving around inside the vehicle without control), he ticket you up to PLN 200.

The situation is different if you leave an animal in a hot car. Here the rules are clear – such an action is strictly forbidden. It is highly irresponsible behaviour causing unnecessary suffering to the pet and even, in extreme cases, leading to its death. Such conduct can result in a fine, and the law even provides for imprisonment of the irresponsible driver.

However, it is worth transporting your pet safely not only because of the law. A poorly planned journey may cause excessive stress to your dog or cat, so you should do everything possible to make travelling with your pet a pleasure for the passengers and the animal. 

 

How should I transport my dog in the car so that he feels comfortable?

Transporting your dog in the car will not be inconvenient if you take care of the basics. First of all, your pet must have sufficient space to sit or lie down in complete comfort. Remember also that the front seats are not a good place to transport any animals.

Stops are necessary every 2-3 hours so that the pet can stretch its legs and attend to its physiological needs. Temperature is also critical. The car should neither be too warm nor excessively air-conditioned.

It is essential to remember that apart from comfort, safety is vital; therefore, the vehicle should be fitted with special accessories for transporting animals. They will protect your pet from injuries in case of sudden braking or collision.

 

How to accustom a dog to travel by car?

Some dogs will happily get into a car. Others react with fear or even aggression. What to do in the latter case? Optimally, gradually accustom your pet to the new situation so that it starts to treat the car as a safe space. Get your animal accustomed to the place, for example, by putting its favourite toy on the car’s back seat.

Also, it’s a good idea to start with short trips, for example, combined with a long walk, so that your pet develops positive associations. Remember, if you only drive your dog to the vet, it may react with fear as it connects the car with unpleasant procedures at the surgery. 

Be patient and allow your pet to get used to the new situation at its own pace. If your dog is anxious, it’s best to transport it in a suitable crate that will give it a sense of security.

 

Useful accessories when travelling with your dog in the car

Accessories for transporting a dog make the journey more comfortable and ensure the safety of both the pet and the passengers. Dog carriers, seat belts or car mats should always be chosen according to the dog’s size, the mode of travel and passengers’ needs, which should also be taken into account. 

Well-chosen products will allow for transporting the pet safely securing the pet’s comfort and will make sure that neither the cat nor the dog will hinder the vehicle’s operation. However, remember that it is not worth making such security measures on your own. Instead, buy a ready-made product with decent parameters. 

 

Transporters

Transporters are a perfect choice when it comes to travelling with animals. They allow you to safely place your pet in the car boot or the back seat. They can accommodate a dog or a cat. Inside, the animal can comfortably change position and also sleep during the journey.

Plastic carriers are the most popular choice. However, you can also buy fabric products and special cages for the safe transport of dogs. The cage should always match the animal’s size. 

 

Seats 

Safety seats are an ingenious solution that allows you to strap your dog down in a way that is safe for other people in the vehicle while providing the pet with a high level of comfort. A safety seat should always be selected according to the dog’s size, but this solution is more suitable for smaller animals. The accessory should also not obstruct your dog’s view.

 

Harness, seat belt

Harnesses and seat belts are the simplest yet most effective solutions. They are designed for the car’s rear, where they can be attached to the original safety belts for passengers or cargo. The advantage of a fastened belt is that a properly secured dog is fully protected during sudden braking or collision. Your pet can also comfortably change position and observe the landscape behind the window during the journey.

 

Crates

Boot crates work very well when transporting large dogs. They ensure safety and comfort for big animals. An interesting idea is also window vents. With them installed, the animal has access to fresh air and at the same time cannot put its head out too much, which could be dangerous.

 

Mats

Mats are handy accessories when travelling with your pet. They are ideal if you transport your dog in the boot or the back seat. Not only do they make your pet’s journey more comfortable, but they also protect your car from hair and dirt, acting as a cover. Cooling mats keep the right temperature and are therefore recommended during hot weather. 

 

Other accessories

In addition to the above accessories, which will undoubtedly be very useful during the trip, also think of buying “auxiliary equipment” which can make driving with your dog even more pleasant, for both of you. 

Bigger and older dogs will surely find a ramp convenient, as it helps them get into the vehicle. And remember to provide plenty of water for every dog, so a travel bottle and a suitable collapsible bowl are perfect, especially for longer journeys. 

A physiological muzzle at hand will also come in handy during stops in places where muzzling is required. 

 

Transporting other pets in the car

Transporting a dog is usually considered the most difficult to organise, mainly due to the large size of the animal. But even transporting smaller pets can cause difficulties if not well planned. 

For example, a cat cannot travel on your lap or the passenger seat, especially on the front. It is dangerous not only for the animal (an airbag that can deploy during a collision will hurt it) but also for the driver or passengers. It is advisable to use the back seat for transporting a cat, but the pet should be placed in a suitably sized carrier.

Rodents should not cause any problems during transport. A rodent will feel comfortable in a small carrier, which will be equipped with water and a comfortable bed. However, make sure the container is well secured so that the hamster, rat or rabbit does not escape during the journey. 

Birds should be transported in cages, and the driver should ensure that the journey is calm and smooth so as not to cause them stress. The cage can be covered with a cloth if the bird acts nervously.

 

Motion sickness in animals – how to deal with it?

It is not only humans that suffer from motion sickness – it also affects animals. If your dog vomits, yawns a lot, is restless or unusually lethargic, it probably cannot tolerate car rides well. 

Interestingly, these complaints are not always a reaction to the vehicle’s movement but may also be related to stress or fear of car noises. If this is the case, try to minimise the discomfort by following the above tips, and if that doesn’t help, you can try medication.

However, always use products designed for animals, preferably bought from a trustworthy veterinary surgeon.

 

Is travelling with your pet that scary?

Transporting a dog or a cat does not have to be complicated or stressful. However, it is essential to remember the basic safety and comfort rules. It is vital that all passengers, including your pet, feel comfortable and not disturb one another. 

It is also crucial to ensure that the driver can carry out all the activities necessary for driving the car. The dog must be seated in the vehicle not to obstruct visibility or disturb the driver. Many accessories are available on the market to make travelling with animals easier – do take advantage of them.

 

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Travelling with a dog in the car – how to transport your pet
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Travelling with a dog in the car – how to transport your pet
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Travelling with a dog in the car and other pets does not have to be stressful. Find out how to transport your dog in the car.
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