When we think about taking our dogs with us anywhere, you usually think of a dog that jumps happily into a boot or on the back seat. But how much thought is given to how safe they are, which in turn affects how safe you are?
Remember the phrase, ‘clunk click with every trip?’ I wasn’t even born then and yet I’ve still heard of it. Not only was it a catchy strap line but the message behind the campaign was serious. The change in law making seat belts mandatory has saved 1000s of lives, not just with the introduction of seat belts, but how cars are now designed. Children have to be in crash-tested car seats. Every consideration has been given to our safety. But what about pets?
We are told they have to be suitably restrained – highway code rule 57 – but does that mean a piece of string attached to their collar or can they go in the boot with a £15 dog guard?
A 20kg dog in a 30mph crash is going to turn into a projectile
Not only will certain equipment not hold out in a crash, but it also won’t keep the dog restrained, causing injury to the dog and any passengers. A 20kg dog in a 30mph crash is going to turn into a projectile. So your three-year old may well be suitably restrained in her lovely car seat but with a dog flying at her from behind, that’s far from ideal – in fact, it’s dangerous.
This is why I created Pet Travel Safety Day on 1st July 2021 – exactly 30 years to the day on which people were instructed by law to wear seat belts in cars. This is now an annual awareness day raising awareness about the dangers of transporting pets the incorrect way or with the wrong equipment.
As the country’s leading expert on pet transport, my knowledge has been gained over many years of learning, research and hands-on experience of transporting pets for years as a service. Part of my role is to raise awareness and education, not just for owners but for dog businesses, too.
Not enough research has been done on pets travelling safely, which is shocking given given how much thought has been put into the structural integrity of the car, with air bags, crumple zones, speed limits and so forth.
I’m working with organisations across the UK to further improve pet travel for pets. Alongside pet safety in the vehicle, I am also raising awareness of the dangers outside the vehicle, such as loose dogs in the car jumping out and causing further road accidents or running off and becoming lost.
We love our dogs – but we must look after them properly.