Safely Transporting Your Dog
As Rule 57 of the Highway Code states "When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, in an emergency stop. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars."
Over the years dog walkers clock up a lot of road miles. When a business first starts out it wouldn’t be unreasonable for the walker to take two or three dogs in a 15 mile radius, that’s a lot of miles for a dog to be stuck in the car, so when a dog leaves the house at 8.30am and doesn’t get back until 1pm you may think they’ve had a wonderful time but in reality it’s likely they had had an hour’s walk sandwiched in there somewhere, the rest of the time they have sat patiently in the car whilst watching their friends being picked up and dropped back.
There really isn’t very much that can be done about this when a walker starts out unless they are resolute about only taking business on their own doorstep but as you gain more clients there really isn’t any excuse for for not addressing this.
I’ve thought very carefully about the safety of comfort of the dogs in my care and respect them as the animals they are recognising their needs are very separate from ours. Not many dogs want to spend long periods of time in the car even if it gets them out of the house.
Working as a team of walkers we can make sure that our group sizes are small enough to ensure that your dog won’t need to wait in the car for too long before reaching their walk destination and won’t have a really long trek home, guaranteeing you are paying for a walk not a really long car journey! This is especially important in the summer months when dogs can overheat very quickly in a car especially during those times when the walker is locking the dogs in the car to collect or drop off another dog. One of our group walkers prefers to park his car in an area and collect all the dogs in his group on foot walking then in a nearby park and woods, no car journey at all for them, lucky them!
What about the dog’s safety when a car journey is unavoidable? Whilst you might personally choose to have your dog next to you or on the back seat whilst driving this isn’t a responsible way to transport more than a few dogs. A group of dogs luxuriously stretched out in the cabin of a walker’s car might look very cute in an instagram picture but what do you think would happen to those dogs in an accident? Dogs in my care are transported crated in the boot of my suv. There’s a good reason for this. A 32kg dog, such as a Labrador in a 30mph crash would be thrown forward with such sheer force that it would weigh the equivalent of 100kg – a phenomenon safety experts call ‘canine cannonball’. The impact of such an unrestrained force being propelled around a car and possibly through the windscreen in an accident even at these slow speeds doesn’t even bare thinking about!
So when you are choosing a walker ask the more practical questions,
How will my dog be transported to the place where you are walking them.
If they have to be in a car how safely are they transported?
How long will they be in the car?
What do you do with the dogs whilst you collect or drop off other dogs?