Dogs in Cars: Here's how to pet-proof your car before going on a road trip with your pup 🐕

Heading on holiday with your pup this summer? Here's what you need to know before setting off on the car
Following a few tips can make sure both you and your dog stay happy and healthy on the road this summer.Following a few tips can make sure both you and your dog stay happy and healthy on the road this summer.
Following a few tips can make sure both you and your dog stay happy and healthy on the road this summer.

From holidays away to quick trips to the vet, we are taking our pets into our cars more frequently. And it is no surprise, with some 62 per cent of UK households now owning a pet - and around a third having a dog - that people consider our four-legged friends to be a part of the family.

So how do we ensure the safety of both them and us and our beloved cars, while driving?

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Here, the experts at Jardines Motors Group explore some ways to ensure the best travel for you and your furry friends from car design to additions for a more comfortable ride.  

Cars which can accommodate your pet’s size and needs

One way to ensure the safety, and luxury, of your pet and car is by ensuring that the two are size compatible. Confined spaces could lead to increased anxiety and discomfort, especially for larger breeds of dogs, and physical problems might arise, such as your dog gaining access to the front of the car. This can cause many problems including distraction while driving and according to the Highway Code, drivers could be fined up to £5,000 if their dog is not correctly restrained. So ensuring you have enough space could be the answer to a smoother, fine-free drive and a happier pup. This can include seat belt straps designed for your pets, pet carriers, or cages. For larger dogs or pets which prefer more space, you should consider a larger car with a guard for your boot, allowing them space to spread their legs, rest, and even have a drink – particularly for long journeys. According to Car Magazine, the best cars for dog owners in 2023 include Skoda Superb Estate, Citroen Berlingo, and Land Rover Discovery, all boasting large amounts of space with the first two offering a boot size of 660- and 775-litres respectively, and the Land Rover offering a large 1137 litres across the whole five-seats. Whereas, if your smaller dog prefers your company and is less prone to movement, you could invest in a seat belt strap suitable for your front seat. Make sure you ensure the passenger seat airbag is off and the seat is furthest away from the dashboard if you are to do this, to ensure the safety of your pet in the event of a crash.

Financial pet-proofing

Where there are dogs, there is mess and accidental damage. If it isn’t the mud and sand they drag in from walks outside, then it is fur and hair. Making sure your car is covered financially for accidental breakdown and damages can mean that you and your pet can continue on your journeys together without worry. Some companies offer great packages for your driving needs, such as the Mercedes service plan, which can ensure roadside assistance and access to parts at the nearest Mercedes shop if necessary. So whether you're driving a used Mercedes Benz GLE or Mercedes Benz E-Class, your insurance can also ensure you, your car, and your pet are covered financially when it comes to travelling if you happen to break down.

Seat covers

Whether you are looking for luxury comfort for your pooch, or simply a means of keeping your car interior safe from scratches, drool, and hair, then seat covers are the perfect addition for pet-proofing your vehicle. You can also invest in boot covers to keep the dirt and damage at bay. These are also perfect for eliminating odours within your car. While stocking up on air fresheners is probably still a good idea, removable covers means you can take that wet dog smell with you and wash it out before your next long haul.

Steps and ramps

Particularly if you plan on your dog jumping in and out of the car frequently, you might want to consider steps or ramps. These can make it easier for your pets, even the less agile, to get in and out of the vehicle without injuring themselves or denting your bumper!

Spill-proof water bottles

f you are planning a long journey, you will want to make sure your pets are thoroughly hydrated. Dogs and cats need to drink somewhere between 1 and 2 millilitres of water per kilogram of body weight every hour, and you cannot count on your pets to drink on demand during your pit stops. Instead, you can invest in spill-proof pet water bowls which can be left in the boot with them, allowing them to drink when needed.

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