If you’re thinking of transporting your dog from one place to another in your car, then you’ll need to consider a whole host of potential difficulties. In the case of long trips, you’ll need to consider the welfare of your dog – since this sort of undertaking can be extremely taxing psychologically. But you’ll also need to consider the welfare of your vehicle, since dogs can and will inflict all manner of harm, if not prevented from doing so. That they might do this involuntarily will do little to lessen the damage inflicted!
In this article, we’ll anticipate a few of these problems, and we’ll take a look at some items that will make even the longest car journeys with your dog bearable. Let’s begin, shall we?
According to rule 57 of the Highway Code, dogs and other animals should be “suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves.” Since preventing the occupants of the car from coming to harm should be a top priority, it’s sensible to start here.
Of course, the means through which you restrain a dog will vary according to its size and temperament. If you’ve got a big dog, you’ll need a big cage; if you’ve got a small dog, you’ll need a small one. In the latter instance, a hand-held carry basket will suffice: wedge it into a spare foot-well, or secure it with a seatbelt. That way, in the event of an emergency stop or a collision, your pet won’t be flung around like a ragdoll.
Bigger dogs represent a bigger problem – though often, the dimensions of the boot itself will be sufficient to limit the dog’s movement. If you’ve got money to invest, you might consider a dividing mesh – these separate a boot into compartments, and limit the amount a dog might move. They also make it possible to store other items in your boot – which, if you’re going on holiday, or moving house, might be enormously useful.
Dogs – and particularly fluffier breeds – give off a lot of hair. This can be a pain to remove from the upholstery of your car. Not only do they look unseemly, these stray hairs might cause an allergic reaction in people who later come to sit in the vehicle.
Clearly, some means of protecting the upholstery is in order. A simple solution presents itself in the form of the blanket. If you’ve got some old ones lying around, they’ll offer some protection – not only against stray hairs, but from claw-marks and drool-stains, too.
On the other hand, if you’re really serious about the health of your vehicle, a blanket represents only minimal protection. A superior option comes in the form of a boot liner.
Boot liners come in many different forms. Some extremely hardy and substantial; others offer little more protection than a simple blanket. The latter are invariably ‘one-size-fits-all’ affairs. They’re inexpensive, to be sure, but will not offer a tight fit to the contours of your boot. This will allow those stray hairs a means of falling through the gaps.
The best boot liners, then, are the ones that are especially designed to fit a specific model of car. This way a tight seal will be formed, and your boot will be properly armoured against the attentions of even the filthiest and most destructive dogs. Hatchbag car boot liners fit the bill admirably; they’re available in a range of sizes and shapes, to fit a range of cars, including Mercedes, Volkswagon, BMW, Ford and Volvo boot liners.
Of course, if you’re transporting a dog in the boot of your car, then there’s no way of guaranteeing that they’ll stay there – particularly if the dog is of a restless persuasion. After being stuck in a boot for a while, a dog might well get bored and attempt to clamber onto the back seat in order to see what’s going on in the other sections of the car.
As we’ve mentioned, limiting a dog’s freedom of movement is essential if we’ve to prevent accidents. For this reason, it might be necessary to install a dividing cage wall between the boot and the back seats of a car, called a ‘guard’. These walls can also be purchase to fit open windows, so you can ensure your dog has access to a refreshing breeze – but that it can’t also make an impromptu bid for freedom whilst you’re hurtling down the M6.