With many drivers hoping to be able to plan staycations in 2022 and holiday in the UK, some of us are lucky enough to be bringing our pooches along for the ride! When taking a dog on a long car journey, it’s not as simple as popping them on your lap and setting off; there are rules in place to keep them and you safe, and tips and tricks for keeping them comfortable and calm during the journey too.
Here’s your guide to travelling on the motorway with dogs in 2022!
when you’re planning your journey
Get the right equipment ready
There are rules for travelling with dogs – the Highway Code states that you must make sure your dog is suitably restrained so as not to distract the driver, and to keep them and you safe should you need to make an emergency stop.
When you’re planning your journey then, it could be a good idea to consider buying a seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard.
Get your dog used to the car
If you rarely take your dog out in the car, you can make your first long trip easier by taking them on shorter journeys in the weeks and days leading up to your trip.
before you set off
Time for walkies!
We know the weather isn’t always great, but making sure you’ve taken your furry friends out for exercise before a car journey will pay dividends during your journey. It’ll help burn some energy and settle them for the trip, and will be especially helpful for hyperactive dogs or excited puppies.
Pack the essentials!
The kids aren’t the only ones who’ll need to be kept fed, watered and entertained during long journeys – your pooch will too! We recommend packing a dog friendly travel pack, including:
- A dog bowl and some water
- Poo bags
- Chew toys
- Toys/stuffed animals
- A towel or two!
Check their tag
Even the most well-behaved, calm dogs can become spooked during a long journey or in an environment they aren’t used to, so it’s really important to make sure your dog has a tag with contact information on in the unfortunate instance that they bolt or you lose sight of them.
during the journey
Watch your driving
If possible, try to avoid aggressive driving and keep the car as smooth as possible! If you do need to stop suddenly or make any sharp maneuvers, just be aware that this may upset the dog and cause stress to them.
If they’re upset for any reason, remain calm and focus your attention on the road. If you’re travelling with passengers, ask one of them to comfort the dog.
Keep an eye on the temperature!
Try and let a little fresh air in the car from time to time, whilst keeping the car warm and the dog cosy! We know that the UK weather can sometimes be unpredictable, so consider packing a blanket or two to keep your dog comfortable.
Take a break
Depending on the length of your journey, you might want to plan in some time to stretch your legs and allow your dog to take on some water and food.
You can use our journey planner to plan your route, including stops with ample safe space to walk your dog and let it go to the toilet. If your dog does need the toilet, don’t forget to be considerate to other customers and dog walkers and please bag and bin what you need to.