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Travelling safely with your pets

Many people love to go away with their pets - whether on day trips or longer holidays.

It's a great way to spend time with our four-legged friends and keeping them safe while travelling will help ensure a fun day for everyone.

PDSA Senior Vet, Elaine Pendlebury, said: "Most pets travel perfectly safely and happily in cars, but there can be hazards if they are not properly restrained. For example, a medium sized dog travelling in a car at 30mph could hurtle forward with the force of a polar bear should the car be involved in a crash!  It's vital that pets are properly secured when travelling in vehicles to guarantee both their safety, and everyone else's."

Correctly fitted seat belt harnesses are ideal for dogs, while a sturdy good-sized carrier that's securely positioned in the car is a must for cats.

Dog wearing seat belt PDSA

Here are some more top tips to keep your pets safe and happy on their travels:

Introduce your pet to the car from an early age

Let your pet explore inside your parked car in their own time, under supervision. Choose a safe area and leave the doors open, so they can come and go as they please, and reward their relaxed behaviour. Gradually build up from this - first, by getting your pet used to the seat belt or carrier, then just turning the engine on to help them get used to  the noise.  When they are comfortable with this, go for a short drive.

Take dogs for a walk before the journey

This is a good way for your pet to burn off excess energy and prevent them from becoming restless.

Always ensure your pet is secured before setting out on a journey

Using a suitable harness will help keep you, your passengers, and your pet safe from harm in the event of an accident or sudden movement.

Make regular stops

Give your dog a chance to stretch their legs and relieve themselves to prevent 'accidents' in the car. Keep dogs on the lead if the exercise area is unfamiliar or busy. Provide plenty of fresh drinking water during breaks.                

Never let dogs lean out of the window of a moving vehicle

Many dogs enjoy the 'rush' of fresh air from an open window, but it can be dangerous. Their eyes and nose can be injured by debris or small stones kicked up from the road. Pets have also been known to fall out of open windows, or be injured by passing vehicles.

Drive steadily

Try not to brake sharply or accelerate too fast as this can be stressful or frightening for your pet.

Find out more about summer safety for pets

More information

Lola in the garden Summer pet care

PDSA, the UK's leading veterinary charity, offers some handy summer tips to keep your animals safe in hot summer days.

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