Every summer, thousands of families and their dogs take to the roads of the UK for a family staycation. With this in mind the National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT) are taking the opportunity to remind dog owners of our responsibilities when it comes to travelling with our dogs.

The responses to a survey conducted by NAWT with 700 pet owners have helped to produce a useful infographic, advising dog owners of potential pitfalls when travelling with pets. To accompany this infographic, NAWT have also put together the following advice:

First and foremost, the most important reminder is about the dangers of leaving a dog in a hot car. When the temperature is just 22 degrees outside, the interior of a car can reach an unbearable 47 degrees within an hour. Parking in the shade or leaving a window open is not enough to ensure the safety and comfort of your dog in these temperatures.

We all have a duty of care towards the pets we choose to keep and must protect them from any suffering, such as exposure to extremes of temperature. If a dog suffers harm having been left in a car on a warm day, owners could be at risk of prosecution.

Secondly, it is important to remember to keep pets safe whilst travelling. NAWT’s survey found that 1 in 5 dogs are not restrained when travelling and would therefore be unprotected in the event of a car accident.

According to The Highway Code, drivers must ensure their dog is kept secure with a harness, guard or crate in order to prevent distraction to the driver and protect both animal and driver in an emergency stop or accident. NAWT’s survey found that 40% of respondents travel with one or more dogs in their car every day, which suggests a high number of people are at risk of flouting regulations.

It is also a rule of many car insurance policies that owners take guidance from The Highway Code when travelling with their dog but NAWT found that only 7% of those surveyed knew what their motor insurance said on this subject. It is therefore very worthwhile to read your insurance documentation before travelling.

Finally, NAWT recommend that dog owners check their emergency breakdown cover before travelling to see how it affects their dogs. Many emergency recovery organisations leave it to the discretion of their employees to decide how your dog will travel in the event of a recovery, and this could mean that your dog has to remain in your vehicle whilst being towed or carried away on the recovery truck. Worse still, your dog could be refused outright, so it is so important to check your policy before you travel.

Download this guide and infographic as a printable pdf on the NAWT website.

For more information on keeping your pet safe during warm weather, visit NAWT’s Summer Advice Guide.

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