How to keep dogs safe in the car

There’s no questioning it – dogs are more than welcome at both our Luxury Cottages and unique, historical Dutch Barges! We provide all the comforts and conveniences that you need to keep your dog happy while staying with us. We think that a happy dog is equal to a safe dog, which is why we decided to put together a few handy tips on how to keep your dog(s) safe in the car when you’re (hopefully!) travelling down for a fabulous Suffolk holiday with us.

1. Give them a good walk before the journey

If you don’t want your pup to be jumping around in the car and stressing out both you and themselves, then make sure to give them a good walk or play to get rid of all that excess energy. It’ll stop them from bouncing around on the back seats or jumping up at the windows and looking at passers by, reducing the chance of injury just in case you need to make a sharp stop.

Black and white dog in back of car

2. Buckle up

Just like you, dogs should be safe and secure in cars! There are many ways to secure your dog in the car. The most popular is a car harness which attaches to a buckle. In a similar way that a seatbelt protects humans, this device protects your dog in case of an accident or a sudden stop. 

A barrier is another safety option, and should be used in tandem with a car harness. It’s comprised of a sturdy sheet which creates a barrier between the back and front halves of the car. Some completely cover the back seats of the car, providing a cradle for your dog, while some are just flat sheets which act as a ‘wall’.

3. Stop for rests

If you’re going on a long drive, rests are essential. In the case of your dog, rest breaks allow them to stretch their legs and go to the toilet. 

If your dog is quick to get their energy back, stop at a service station and take them for a walk on a lead so that they can exercise safely before getting back into the car. It’s best not to stop by the side of the road or in a lay-by for a rest break, as fast passing cars create unsafe conditions.

Dog looking out of car window

4. Temperature control

To ensure that your dog doesn’t overheat or get too cold, change the temperature of your car to a comfortable setting using your fans or air conditioning. 

Because dogs are covered in fur, it’s easier for them to overheat. If your dog is too hot, they will start to pant. You should keep an eye out for this clear indicator and change the temperature of your car immediately, as a dog that is too hot can become dehydrated or get heat stroke. 

It’s unlikely that you’ll set your car to a temperature that is too cold for your dog, as you will probably become uncomfortable much before your dog does (thanks to their fur).

5. Manage anxiety

If your dog is not used to travelling in a car, or they find it particularly stressful, you may want to use some techniques to manage their anxiety. All dogs are different, and what works for some may not work for others, but some tips for managing travel anxiety include:

  • Slowly introduce your dog to your car with rewards, such as dog treats
  • Start off with a series of short journeys with your dog in the car before embarking on any long journeys
  • Provide your dog with something familiar during the car journey such as a blanket or cushion from your home
  • Keep them occupied with their favourite toy

We hope these tips help in keeping your dog safe and happy on your car journey – wherever you’re going! If you would like to visit the wonderful rural and coastal county of Suffolk on your next break, find out more about our Luxury, Dog-Friendly Holiday Cottages here, and our Unique Dog-Friendly Dutch Barges here. Lastly, discover more about our dog-friendly ethos here.