Dogs Trust have recently launched The Houndway Code road safety campaign. As dog owners take to their cars over this August Bank Holiday, new research has revealed that more than two thirds of dog owners regularly travel with their dog unrestrained in the passenger seat. Dogs Trust, including their Rehoming Centre in Ballymena will be using The Houndway Code as their new car safety awareness campaign.

The Houndway Code Road Safety Campaign

The Dogs Trust say –

The survey revealed that nearly half* of the British dog owning driving public, accounting for over 2.5 million people, are unaware that they are breaking the law and not abiding by the Highway Code by not suitably restraining their dog whilst driving.

44% of owners do not restrain their dogs with a harness whilst in the car.

A quarter admitted to finding them a distraction.

10% saying they had to take their hand off the wheel to restrain their four-legged passengers.

5% even confessing to taking selfies and playing with their dog whilst driving.

*Atomik Research survey of 2000 respondents in July 2017.

The Houndway Code Road Safety Campaign.  Launched by Dogs Trust to raise awareness of dog owners responsibilities when driving with the dog in the car.

Dr Rachel Casey, Director of Canine Behaviour and Research for Dogs Trust explains.

“Dogs are such an important part of people’s lives so it’s understandable that owners want to take them out and about with them. However, our survey shows many people don’t know the safest way to travel with their dogs. Some are even unwittingly breaking the law by letting their dogs roam around the car whilst they are on the move.

Fortunately, Dogs Trust Dog School is on hand to provide some handy tips on the best way to make your bank holiday trip with your pooch as smooth as possible.”

The Houndway Code Road Safety Campaign

Dogs Trust Dog School’s handy tips for taking your four-legged family members on car trips this bank holiday and in the future:

  • There’s a legal obligation for dogs to travel safely. They must be secured and not in the front of the car.
  • Dogs should be secured within the boot with a guard blocking access to the car passenger interior or within a crate/cage securely positioned within the boot. Or, if you use a harness for your dog, ensure that it is appropriately sized and correctly fitted. The dog should travel on the back seat and the harness should be secured to the seat belt attachment
  • If your dog is getting used to car travel, place something that smells very much of you/your dog in with him/her to help him feel secure. Eg a blanket/bed/pillow case etc – as the smell of this can give comfort and reassurance
  • Ensure that your dog has plenty to drink so they don’t become dehydrated. Do not leave a dog alone in a car.
  • Introduce the car gradually. Make the getting in and out and wearing the harness a positive experience before starting to travel anywhere.

  • If you use a harness for your dog, ensure that it is appropriately sized and correctly fitted. The dog should travel on the back seat and be secured to the seat belt attachment.
  • We advise securing a dog behind the front passenger seat and NEVER behind the driver in case they get hold of clothing etc. and cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
  • Make sure your dog gets used to the car gradually on varied trips, start on short journeys and finish at home so the dog has a positive association with the journey. It’s important to not just take them to the vets as they may develop negative associations with the car.
  • Train your dog to wait calmly before being asked to jump out of the car every time. This is important as it could be dangerous if he or she jumped out into a road with traffic, for example if you were to travel into a busy area or break down on a main road. Make sure they always get in out of the car in a controlled manner.

If you would like to find out more about Dogs Trust Dog School in Ballymena click here. Dogs Trust approved car safety harnesses are available to buy on their website here.