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Dogs in the car: tips and best practices

If you have to transport your dog in a car, it is very important to take certain precautions so that the trip goes smoothly for the animal as well as for all the passengers in the vehicle. It is therefore recommended not to leave at the last minute, because a car trip with your dog cannot be improvised. It is better to know the good practices to follow in order to make any trip in the greatest serenity, on a daily basis or to go to your vacation spot. Between regulations and common sense, let's take stock.

Dogs in cars: what do the regulations say?

As far as the Highway Code is concerned, the regulations are very clear: transporting a dog in a car (or any other animal for that matter) must not constitute any danger for the driver. There is no obligation to tie up the dog during the trip, but what is important is that the driver can control the vehicle at all times. In order to do this, the dog must not, for any reason whatsoever, interfere with the driver's field of vision or movement, as stipulated in article R 412-6 of the Code.

Many people wonder if the obligation to wear a seatbelt applies to dogs. They are quite right to wonder about this. If it is compulsory to prevent your pet from disturbing the driving of the vehicle, it is only recommended to tie it up if you have not installed a barrier or a protective grid. Let's not forget that in case of impact or sudden braking, the unrestrained dog becomes a deadly projectile. Depending on the speed of the vehicle and the violence of the impact, the weight of the animal can be multiplied by 25! One can imagine the damage caused to the people in the front and back seat...

Wearing a seatbelt for dogs is not strictly mandatory. What is compulsory is to do everything possible to ensure that the animal does not represent a nuisance or a risk. The ideal is therefore to opt for a specific car device for dogs. It is either a safety harness or a safety leash and a collar, knowing that the harness is much safer than the leash because it holds the animal much better than a collar in case of an accident, an urgent braking or even a simple small shock. As an indication, a harness costs between 10 and 20 €.

It is necessary to take precautions, whether the animal is installed in the trunk of the vehicle or on the back seat, knowing that the front seats are forbidden. When tied up, the dog cannot hit the driver and/or passengers in case of a collision or sudden braking, nor can it bother the driver by deliberately moving from the back to the front of the car.

Note that if the dog travels in a carrier, it must be attached either in the trunk or in the back seat.

Dogs in the car: good practices

It is very useful to anticipate a car trip with your dog. We advise you to get your puppy used to behaving well during such a trip as soon as possible. For example, you can take him in the car for a visit to the vet and then extend the trip over time. The acclimatization is likely to go well under these conditions.

A car trip should be as pleasant as possible for everyone, including the dog. Therefore, it is important to remember to apply good practices for the comfort of all.

  • Do not feed your dog within 3 hours of departure. Eating before leaving may simply cause vomiting during the trip.
  • Consult your veterinarian before leaving so that he can prescribe a treatment against motion sickness, as many animals suffer from it.
  • Always have at your disposal :
    • Something to make your dog drink regularly,
    • Kibbles to make your dog wait if the trip is long,
    • An absorbent cloth or paper towels to clean the vehicle if the dog vomits or other.
    • A toy and/or favorite stuffed animal.
  • The dog should be given adequate ventilation during the entire trip.
  • Take regular breaks - approximately every 2 hours - to allow the dog to:
    • To drink so as not to become dehydrated,
    • To relieve itself,
    • To stretch.
  • A heat stroke can cause the death of the dog in a few minutes, it is essential to maintain a cool temperature in the cabin, especially if the animal is transported in a cage.
  • Never leave the dog alone in the car, especially in case of heat wave, leaving all the windows closed. By the way, Article 122-7 of the penal code authorizes any person to intervene in order to perform an act necessary to rescue an animal in these conditions.
In order not to forget anything, it can be useful to contact the veterinarian a few days before the departure. This professional will be able to advise the animal's owner on the best practices to adopt in order to travel safely with his dog in the car, and in the best conditions.