The Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals, (PDSA) has launched a Pet Holiday Health campaign to raise awareness of the possible hazards pets face when travelling. The organisation quotes the statistic of an unrestrained 50lb (22.5kg) Border Collie in a car crash at 30mph, being thrown forward with a force equivalent to a polar bear.
Whether driving to a park, travelling to the seaside or transporting the family pet to a boarding house, remember to buckle-up says the PDSA. However, before buying a dog harness, the charity offers this advice:
- Make sure it's designed to be used in a car and is not just a walking harness
- Check that it's suitable for your dog's size and weight
- Ensure it fist properly with wide straps to distribute the forces safely across your dog's body, particularly the chest and shoulders
Smaller dogs and other pets should always be safely secured in a well ventilated pet carrier, which has enough room for them to stretch and be comfortable. These can either be safely secured with a seatbelt or carefully wedged into the passenger footwell – remember to keep carriers away from car airbag points.
Getting pets used to the car and accustoming them to the idea that it is not a play area is vital, says the charity. Pet owners are encouraged to let their pet freely explore the car with the engine turned off. Leave a few savoury treats or the pet's favourite toy in the back seat to help them overcome any initial hesitancy or anxiety.
More information is available here: www.pdsa.org.uk/holidayhealth
Submitted by: Steve O'Malley