Travel safety with pets


PDSA’s vets and nurses are looking forward to meeting you and your lovely pets at DogFest! Head over to the PDSA PetWise Village for free dog health checks, the opportunity to meet some very special Hero Hounds and pet first aid demonstrations.

Keeping pets safe when travelling in cars is a must for every pet owner, but it needn’t be a chore. With a little planning and care, we can ensure our pets enjoy a great day out as much as we do!

So, if you’re travelling with your dog, PDSA has pulled together some top tips to keep them safe and happy on long journeys.

  • Start early – introducing your pet to travelling in a car from a young age will help to reduce any stress or anxiety. Start by leaving doors open when the car is parked in a safe environment, such as your drive. Allow them to explore the vehicle, coming and going as they please. Also get them used to their restraint or carrier in the same way. Then introduce them to short journeys, gradually building up to longer ones when your pet is not upset by the travelling.
  • Walkies first – this will help to burn off any excess energy, preventing them becoming restless during the journey.
  • Secure is safe – There are many pet restraints available for sale, but not all are ‘crash tested’. Make sure that you choose a seatbelt, harness or carrier that has been tested to ensure your dog and passengers will be better protected in the event of an accident. Having a loose pet could invalidate your car insurance and pet insurance.
  • Drive steady – try not to brake sharply or accelerate too fast, as sudden changes can be stressful or frightening for your pet.
  • Make regular stops – give your dog plenty of opportunities to stretch their legs on the lead, drink water and relieve themselves.
  • Heads down – your dog may love the feel of the wind in his ears, but letting them lean their head out of the car window is extremely dangerous. Small stones and debris can injure their eyes and nose, and pets have also been known to fall out, or even be injured by passing vehicles.


Remember to keep an eye on the temperature in the car, if you begin to feel to warm your dog may be even hotter still! It goes without saying that dogs should never be left alone in cars but, sadly, every year vets see cases of heatstroke when this has happened.

It’s always good to be prepared, so take plenty of water for the journey and, whenever you’re away from home, it’s handy to have a pet first aid kit with you in case of accidents.

Visit PDSA’s website for more tips about safe car travel for pets and download their free Pet First Aid Guide.

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