Owning a dog is a tremendously rewarding thing. They provide companionship, entertainment – and a reason to get out and about at the weekends. If you’re fortunate enough to live in the countryside, then taking your dog for a scenic walk is easy – urbanites, on the other hand, must bundle their canine into the back of their car if they’re to enjoy some of the best dog-walking locations the country has to offer.
That said, even rural dog-walkers might tire of their own patch, and look to further afield in search of new and exciting locations. This means that they, too, will need to put their dog into the back of the car. And it’s not just weekend walking trips which mandate this sort of task: if you’re looking to go on a longer walking holiday, you’ll need to take your dog with you in your car. The same is true if you’re looking to move house.
Transporting a dog, to be sure, is a task that can potentially be a stressful one. In this article, we’ll take a look at ways to ensure that your car is up to the task.
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Restrain your dog
There are no laws governing how a dog should best be transported. But rule 57 of the Highway Code recommends that dogs be restrained, “so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly.” This is good advice that’s worth following. If you’re the owner of a large dog, this might mean securing a crate – if it’s a smaller one, then a hand-held carrier will do just as nicely.
Pay attention to biology
If you’re going to be taking your dog on a long car journey, then you’ll want to ensure that they’re physically prepared for it. For some journeys, this issue isn’t too pressing. If you’re just taking them a relatively short distance to go for a walk, then this will be less of a concern – if you’re doing it right, the dog will be too exhausted on the return journey to kick up much of a fuss.
If you’re going on a longer journey, however, then you might want to exhaust your dog before setting out. Observe your dog, and determine what time of day they’re at their most lethargic. Then plan your trip accordingly.
Invest in a lint roller
If you’ve got yourself a very furry dog, then shedding can be a real problem – and one you’ll need to stay on top of if you’re to keep your car in the best possible condition. In order to do this, you should consider investing in a lint roller – these are rolls of sticky paper which can be used to pick up any stray hairs quickly. Where a more major clean-up is required, then a hand-held vacuum cleaner will work wonders.
Invest in a boot-protector
If you’re going to be taking your dog on a walk in the country, then the chances are that it’ll become filthy. If your dog is a hunting dog, like a terrier, then it will likely delight in rooting through the undergrowth in pursuit of interesting scents – and in the process they’ll likely pick up all sorts of disagreeable muck. Allow them into your car, and they’ll spread that muck across your upholstery.
But the problem isn’t just limited to filthy dogs who’ve been rolling in mud – even comparatively clean dogs have an odour that can easily be left on upholstery. Dog owners often get used to the smell, and so cease to notice it – until the time comes to sell the car, and prospective buyers wrinkle their noses in disgust.
If you’ve invested a considerable amount into your car, then you’ll want to protect that investment. You can do this with a boot protector.
These come in several different varieties. At the most frugal end of the spectrum are blankets – these aren’t really boot protectors at all, in the true sense, and their efficacy is minimal. Move slightly upward and you’ll get the cheapest sort of dedicated boot protector, which is little more than an ill-fitting sheet of fabric.
The best, and most effective, boot protectors are those which are designed specifically to fit a given model of car – and thereby ensure a snug fit. BMW, Ford, Mercedes and Audi boot liners, along with a host of others, are all available from retailers like Hatchbag car boot covers. Each will be rugged and durable enough to withstand even the filthiest of canines. What’s more, they’ll help your boot to withstand the dirt and grime from anything else you might want to store in there – from mountain bikes to filthy walking boots, and everything in between.