More than seven million of the estimated 10.2 million dog owners in the UK travel with their pet in the car at least once a week.
As next week marks the start of Crufts (crufts.org.uk) – the UK’s largest and most prestigious annual dog show.
Organized by the Kennel Club, it takes place at the NEC in Birmingham from Thursday March 9 to Sunday March 12, with the UK branch of Czech car manufacturer Škoda as its official car partner.
But Skoda’s research shows that not everyone knows how to protect their precious pets.
Four legs and four wheels: A Skoda might just be the perfect car to transport your dog, and the manufacturer has now teamed up with Crufts organiser, The Kennel Club.
Rules and regulations
Because while just over half (51%) of motorists questioned in a Skoda survey said they always tied their dog securely in the car, almost one in ten (9%) did not didn’t.
A similar proportion (9%) even let their dog sit on the dashboard, rising to one in eight (12%) who allowed their dog to sit on their lap while driving.
This figure was even more pronounced among young drivers aged 18-24, with more than a quarter (27%) letting their dog sit on their lap while driving.
But these mistakes could prove costly and potentially tragic. Because while Brits spend an average of around £4,000 a year on their dogs – including food, pet insurance, toys and grooming – many are also at risk of breaking the law.
Traffic laws state that dogs must be properly restrained so as not to distract the driver and to prevent injury in the event of a sudden stop.
Yet more than 44% are unaware of the laws on traveling with a dog in the car, which can result in a fine of up to £5,000 and invalidating insurance for not securing their pet in safely while driving, according to the Skoda UK survey.
Seven in ten drivers said they drove more carefully with their dog in the car, although almost a quarter said it made them feel more stressed.
Top tips for traveling with dogs by car
Land Rover’s Pet Care and Access Pack includes a ramp (above), collapsible carrier and portable shower – so handy after a muddy ride.
- Keep dogs on a leash when entering and exiting a vehicle.
- Take regular breaks to breathe fresh air (above) and allow your dog to stretch his paws
- Accessories, such as a rear dog hammock, make travel safer and more comfortable.
Buckle your seatbelt: attach your dog securely with a harness or car carrier
- Never leave your dog in the car in hot weather, even if parked in the shade
- More at: skoda.co.uk/discover/driving-with-dogs
Lots of positivity
Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of owners (95%) believe dogs improve their mental health, while nearly eight in ten believe they would be lonelier without them. A similar proportion (77%) say they would be less physically active.
To make it easier to find the right dog accessories, Skoda has created a special pet pack which includes a dog guard, rear bumper guard and a double-sided boot mat or rubber boot liner .
It is available for all Skoda models (except Scala) and is priced at £230 (including VAT but excluding fitment).
Dog owners can also choose from a range of harnesses that easily attach to their vehicle’s existing rear seat belts, including dog safety harnesses that range in price from £62-£82 depending on size, and a rear hammock at £115.
Skoda works with its charity partner Dogs for Good (dogsforgood.org), which brings people and dogs together to help make life possible for people with various disabilities.
Its staff drives dogs in training to and from their temporary boarders, visits and supports puppy socializers, and/or takes community dogs to the various organizations they work with.
The collaboration has helped Skoda expand its wide range of bespoke dog safety accessories, the company said.
Two Kamiq compact SUVs which starred in a recent TV advert – in which Skoda vehicles tackled a dog show agility course – have been donated to the charity to support their work and are on display at Crufts.
Advice: Mini, which has a partnership with Dogs Trust, has a special online Dogs Hub (mini.co.uk/en_GB/home/mini-dogs-hub) offering help and advice
As part of its official partnership with Crufts, Skoda will have a stand in the main exhibition hall with a podium where visitors can take selfies with their dogs.
Mini, which has a partnership with Dogs Trust (dogstrust.org.uk), has a special online Dogs Hub (mini.co.uk/en_GB/home/mini-dogs-hub) offering help and advice, as well as details of a range of dog accessories.
Training at all 131 Mini dealerships included: how to keep dogs safe in showrooms by creating dog-free and dog-friendly spaces; how to approach a dog; how to avoid dangers for dogs; as well as how to manage the dogs so that everyone feels comfortable.
Land Rover canine accessories include a splash-proof water bowl, portable shower, access ramp, collapsible pet carrier, luggage partition and padded cargo area liner for protect against paw prints.
Other dog-friendly automakers also offer a range of canine accessories, including Volvo, SEAT and Rolls-Royce.
- Details at crufts.org.uk.
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