New research has revealed that Britain’s dog lovers spend more than £4,000 per year on their pet, but just half safely secure their dog on every car journey.
To mark International Dog Day on August 26, Skoda – in partnership with BorrowMyDoggy (a national organisation that connects dog owners with trusted local people to help take care of their dogs) – is highlighting how simple solutions can help keep dogs safe on the move.
Of the estimated 9.6 million dog owners in the UK, the Skoda study revealed more than seven million travel with their dog in the car at least once a week.
However, just 51% said they always correctly secured their dog while driving, with 14% only doing it some of the time and 9% admitting that they have never secured their dog safely in the car.
The yearly average bill of £4,087.20 is made up of food, pet insurance and edible treats, but owners are risking doubling this cost for not securing pets safely when on the move. Nearly half (44%) are unaware of current laws around travelling with a dog in the car which can lead to a fine of up to £5,000 and invalid insurance.
According to the Highway Code, dogs need to be suitably secured so they avoid distracting the driver and to prevent injury in the case of a sudden stop.
The research found 12% of owners let their dogs sit on their lap or even on the dash (9%) while driving, while some let their dogs move freely around the car. This figure was even more pronounced among younger drivers (18-24 years old), with over a quarter (27%) letting their dog sit on their lap while driving.
In total, 68% of drivers said they drove more carefully with their dog in the car, though nearly a quarter (24%) said they found themselves to be more stressed.
When thinking about their car, dog owners said that the most important aspects were firstly that it should be easy for the dog to get in and out (60%), followed by good boot size (51%), interior space (44%) and durable materials (43%).
Top tips for travelling with dogs in the car*
- Keep dogs on a lead when getting in and out of a car
- Securely fasten your dog in the car with a harness or in-car carrier
- Keep toys, food and water on-hand, for example in the glovebox
- In-car dog accessories make travelling much more secure and comfortable, such as the Skoda rear-seat dog hammock
- Extras like blankets and dog beds can help to keep a dog calm and relaxed
- Take regular breaks for fresh air and to allow your dog to stretch their legs (and yourself)
- Never leave your dog in the car on a warm day, even if you have parked in the shade
*Advice courtesy of Skoda and BorrowMyDoggy