Nine niceties to consider when taking your darling dog on a road trip

Swansway Group, a family owned business with car and van dealerships across the North West and Midlands, has been proud to support National Pet Month 2021, to encourage responsible pet ownership throughout the UK. This is a subject that is very dear to the hearts of the Swansway family, as in the last staff survey conducted on the topic, over 53% of the Swansway staff member respondents declared themselves to be a “dog-person”. A further 22% could not decide if they favoured dogs or cats, and a mere 11% came out as pure feline fans.

It has been reported that over 3 million* households in the UK have added a pet of some description to their household during the global pandemic – and a great many of these are adorable, darling doggies.

As the current restrictions on our travel movements ease, many new dog owners will be considering going further afield in their cars with their dogs for the very first time, either for more adventurous days out, or for a UK staycation. As a motoring company with many years’ experience of motor products, Swansway Group has produced a list of “nine niceties” to consider when taking your pampered pooch out in your car with you, so that and your canine companion can have the very best experience.

1.     Keep track of your happy hound with a GPS tracker. This innovative product gives you that extra reassurance that if you, or your dog are in unfamiliar territory, you can find your dog, even if he or she has decided to have an adventure all on their own.

There are products that allows you to go into “live” mode, where it will update your dog’s whereabouts every 2 or 3 seconds. And fun additional everyday uses are that you can use at as a fitness tracker for your dog and see just how much exercise they are doing each day. And some will give you location history and heatmap options, which will show you where your dog likes to “hang out” when they are not with you.

Designed to fit easily on most dogs’ collars, and with options available include a “find me” facility, should it drop off anywhere, this is a fantastic safety device, to give you peace of mind about your dog’s movements whenever you are out and about.

2.     Keep your car, your dog, and even yourself clean with a Portable Washing Device. All true adventurers, especially the canine ones, know that a day of fun is not complete unless you have encountered your fair share of muck! These innovative designs come in various sizes, some holding up to 8 litres! And they could be the solution to any muddy problem. Some come with handy brushes, so that you can to attend to any grubby paws, and some brands have cleverly created the ability to keep water warm for sensitive skins for up to 2.5 hours! It is a useable option for the most mucky of dogs  - or humans! And small and flexible enough for you to easily take with you on your travels. Whilst your dog may not love you for insisting they have a quick shower, your car interior certainly will!

3.     Protect your car interior with car seat protectors. Whilst any seat cover is advisable to avoid the scratching of upholstery and interior doors, and of course to prepare for any damp doggos that get caught in the UK changeable summer weather it is worthwhile spending the time to look for those that are amongst the best overall for efficacy and value for money. Features to look out for include: heavy duty waterproof fabric; storage pockets; a viewing window so you can check on your canine passenger; non slip PVC mesh for comfort and safety; a safety belt; an adjustable format to allow a human passenger to sit next to your dog; and high sides to stop even the most energetic puppy from moving around too much in the car and distracting the driver. A multi-functioning must-have for dog days out this summer.

4.     Avoid desperately de-hydrated doggies with a Land Rover portable drinking bowl. With all the Land Rover design capability, combined with the fact that over 50% of Land Rover owners also own dogs, it is perhaps unsurprising that Land Rover has produced a portable drinking bowl that is one of the very best available. With a mighty 1.5 litre capacity, which can hold both food and liquids, and is easy to clean and foldaway and carry. This lightweight, convenient product will enable you to travel many miles with your dog without worrying that the fun will have to stop as a result of dehydration. A quick pit-stop and you can be on your way again!

5.     Calm your canine on a long-distance journey, or at a change of scene, with calming chews.  Ensuring that your dog doesn’t suffer anxiety or hyper-activity on your car journey is not only beneficial in avoiding stress for your beloved pet, it also enables you to concentrate on your driving, making sure you are all safely transported to your destination. These chews are suitable for dogs of all ages and sizes, to support a calm and relaxed state, without making your pet dozy or unresponsive. And they can be formulated with various flavours to make them attractive to the most discerning diner! Peace of mind for everyone in the car.

6.     Be safe and be seen when you are out at night with your dog with a safety light. Should you need to make an emergency trip out with your dog whilst camping for example, this innovative safety light will clearly signal to everyone, and in particular other road users that you and your dog are there. These lights can be so versatile, they can be clipped to your dog’s collar, or to your clothing to make sure that you and your dog are visible on that campsite, early morning jog, or fading light conditions. Some manufacturers claim that their light can be seen from a distance of up to 5km and they shines from a wide angle so it can be seen from lots of different directions. Waterproof options are available that and can withstand the worst of the weather or indeed a swimming trip. High quality options have a battery life of 100-250 hours, depending on how you use it. And you can choose a variety of colours – a different one for every dog, child or adult in your group!

7.     For dogs that travel in the boot of any car, accessories designed specifically for your brand of vehicle that can be purchased and fitted in your vehicle at any reputable dealership, will only enhance your experience, and the appearance of your car.

Volkswagen Accessories in particular, produce a variety of partition grille and boot mat options, to suit all models within their range. There are many non-branded pet accessories available on the market for those who are willing to install them themselves. However, the bespoke accessories can go with your vehicle when you are ready to change it as an attractive feature in your resale or evaluation, especially when you can show that your accessories have been fitted by qualified technicians.  It is convenient, and you can be confident of the safety and security of any installation, when you order your brand-specific item online and collect the item from your preferred dealership. The fitting of an item is usually included in the price.

8.     Not just for exciting trips, knowing what to do in a medical emergency and having supplies readily available, is a really good idea. Having a Pet First Aid Kit to ensure that you can address any immediate concerns, before seeking professional help, should it be required. From sting relief to syringes, kits can have up to 40 items and the best ones comes encased in a handy waterproof case. This addition to your toolkit should give you the confidence that you can cope, should an accident befall your best friend. Animal charities also have helpful guides about Pet First Aid, that are free to download and gives essential information about what to do in a variety of circumstances for any responsible pet owner.

9.     Last on our list, for the senior dog, or one that is a little unsteady on their feet, or even for the owner who no longer wants to lift their pet into their vehicle, is an adjustable dog ramp that will allow a safe and steady transfer to and from the ground to the boot of your car.

There are many variants available on the market, but the cream of the crop has been produced by Jaguar and is the pet ramp to fit the F-Pace. The ramp comes with a minimum of 12 months warranty, has a high grip tread pattern for paws, and rubber feet on the ramp, both to prevent any slipping. It weighs 6kg and can be stowed away in a handy storage bag. It really is the perfect way for your beautiful big cat to transport your gorgeous dog!

It’s going to be a wonderful summer for making marvellous memories! Every responsible dog owner must remember to clean up after their dog, respect walking permissions and livestock, and to bear in mind that if a pavement gets really hot for our hands – it is also going to feel really hot for those precious paws! Now all that remains is for you and your dog to decide where you will head to first!