Peace, love and muddy paws
Many of us take to the road with our pets and if we are lucky enough might even have a place for them at our desks. But much as we love them, now and again our furry friends can pose a few challenges when we’re driving. Here are some tips for those driving with pets from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards Richard Gladman.
- Try not to feed your pet right before you leave or when you’re on the road, but do keep a supply of their favourite biscuits or treats so you can stay in control. Never let dogs off the lead in a car park or motorway service area.
- Keep your pets out of the front seat and off your lap. Driving with an unsecured pet in the front seat could distract you at a safety-critical moment. You never know when your pet might react to something they think is interesting outside the car. Ideally dogs should be behind a guard or correctly strapped in in the back seat. Cats or smaller creatures should be in an appropriately secured carrier.
- Leaving your pet alone in the car, no matter what the temperature might feel like outside, is a big no.
- Try to take along familiar toys and bedding to provide a relaxed setting. This allows greater comfort on the journey.
- Don’t change up the menu! A sudden switch in your pet’s food before the journey can upset them (and their stomach!) and that’s not what you want when you’re stuck in the car together.
- Take water and a bowl with you to keep your favourite companion well hydrated.
- Take frequent stops for exercise and calls of nature. Keep a supply of poo bags in the car just in case.
- Don’t let your pet stick its head out of the window. It may enjoy the draft but it’s a major league distraction for you and other drivers as well as being potentially very damaging for their eyes. Dog’s eyes were never designed to travel at 60mph!
Richard said: “An unhappy pet equals an unhappy driver so always plan and prepare well in advance for any journey with a furry friend. An unrestrained dog or cat becomes a projectile in the event of sudden braking, potentially injuring drivers, passengers and pets alike. Just as with a child in the car fit the best equipment, which is custom designed for your size of pet and everyone will arrive relaxed, content and ready for action.”