Traveling by car with your dog: what should you plan and what does the law say?

The dog can travel in the trunk of the car if there is enough space to lie down. (© LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS / AdobeStock)

If you are planning to go on vacation, or on a long weekend to Ascension Bridge, with your four-legged friend you might be wondering if he should must be tied to the car or whether he can move freely in the cabin.

What does the law say?

Alexandre Balzer, veterinarian and president of the Société centrale canine, confirms: “No animal must be loose in the car”. According to Article R 412-1 of the Highway Code, “In traffic, any driver or passenger of a motor vehicle wear an approved seat belt If we consider the animal as a passenger, it must therefore also be affixed.

On the other hand, Article R412-6 of the same Code provides that “the range of motion and the field of vision of the driver shall not be reduced”, in particular by the number or position of passengers. A dog jumping on the driver’s lap, for example, could thus be considered discomfort when driving.

To this injunction comes the fact that by sudden braking or accident the animal risks becoming projected through the cabin of the vehicle. For your safety and the safety of all passengers, it is therefore important to fasten your dog when you take the road.

What equipment should you get?

There are especially strings attached to the clip of the seat belt and which is attached to the dog’s harness: “to the harness rather than to the collar, because if it has to pull very hard after a sudden stop or an accident, it is better that it pulls at the level of the shoulders rather than on the neck,” advises the vet.

That transport bure is also an interesting option, especially for small dogs. “It is safer, it will be better held and will be able to move more easily”.

Finally, if you have a station wagon, you can put your dog in the trunk with a net or a separation grid so he can not escape. Note that it is of course forbidden to put an animal in a sedan trunk, without light or ventilation.

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Balancing the safety and well-being of the animals

Article R214-50 of the Rural Development Act states that “transport of animals in private cars is carried out under the responsibility of the guide, so that the animals have space and ventilation meet their vital needs “, with fines for infringements of 4and the classroom.

For Alexandre Balzer “it is a matter of common sense. It is up to everyone to assess whether their dog has enough space to move and lie down. If you drive 10 or 1,000 km, he obviously does not need the same comfort. »

It is also necessary to check that the suitcases are stable and that they do not fall on him, which can crush him or scare him, especially if he is small.

Alexander BalzerPresident of Canine Central

If the car is heavily loaded with luggage and passengers, it is very possible to place the dog on the ground, only at the back where he will be better protected and whether he has enough room to lie down.

Driving sickness

To make the ride as smooth as possible for your dog, schedule regular stops every two hours so he can walk, relax and drink. We can possibly offer him some croquettesunless he tends to vomit.

Like humans, dogs can actually be prone to motion sickness, ranging from simple anxiety to vomiting. In this case, “avoid giving him food before departure. If that’s not enough, there is specific drugs for dogs. »

You can also take a small first aid kit with bandage, eye wash and his medical record.

Beware of heat stroke

Another important point: one must be careful that it does not not too hot in the carwhich can happen if you drive without air conditioning on a very hot day.

Dogs with difficulty breathing will be more sensitive to this temperature rise: this is the case for brachycephalic dogs – bulldogs and other flat-faced dogs – but also older dogs, who may also have more difficulty ventilating, as it is through ventilation that the dog lowers its internal temperature. If the dog exhales with its tongue hanging out, it means it is hot.

Alexander Balzer

However, there is no question of leaving his dog stick your head out the window, with the risk of getting dust or a small stone in the eye. Inflammation of the ear in the fridgedue to cold and wind, are also frequent.

To avoid heat stroke, shade your dog and switch on the air conditioner if necessary – without turning it on fully to avoid cooling -; you can also refresh it with a wet towel or a water spray bottle.

And the puppies?

Young dogs are even more sensitive for temperature rise and dehydration than adults. It is therefore important to take regular breaks, keep them cool and often offer them something to drink.

Alexandre Balzer also recommends getting him used to the car in advance, ”so he does not have to drive fifteen hours overnight. You have to show him that it is a positive experience and it’s nice when you come ”.

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