As a Newfoundland owner before becoming a Barbet owner, I freely admit that my dog-transporting arrangements night seem a little over the top for those with, maybe just one Barbet, however I describe them along with more modest, but equally safe, set-ups!!
The first, and what should be the most obvious factor to consider when driving with your dog(s) is your safety (and the safety of your passengers, if any, especially children); the second is the safety of your dog(s). A parallel consideration is the safety of other road users.
If a dog is travelling unrestrained in a vehicle it becomes, potentially, a missile should you come to a sudden stop under any circumstances. Remember Newton’s First Law of Motion
"An object remains at rest or moves in a straight line at constant speed unless it is acted on by an unbalanced force”
That means that if you are travelling at 40 m.p.h. and make an emergency stop, your unrestrained dog will continue to move forward at 40 m.p.h.!!!!!! A 25 kg dog hitting the back of your head, or the windscreen of your car , at that speed will probably kill you or kill itself.
Rule 57 of THE HIGHWAY CODE (UK) . . . .
states . . .
When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.
So, how should a dog be restrained?
Without a doubt, in my opinion, a strong, purpose-built dog box, cage or crate of appropriate size, is the solution. Equally good is to have your vehicle modified with a customised, built-in caging system. I am fortunate to have two vehicles and my van is professionally caged-out by http://www.dogcages.net .This is the ideal solution, providing the best of both worlds, but I realise it is not practical for most people! They also make crates which, like their custom caging, have the added advantage of being guaranteed silent (no rattles when on the move!!)
This is my van set-up . . . (as I said, a little over the top for some!!)
This arrangement has the added advantage of providing excellent ventilation, both on the move (both side doors have sliding windows) and, more obviously, when stationery.
Soft crates do restrain the dog and, if safely and firmly fixed (which in my experience they usually are not) will prevent the dog from being thrown forward on impact, but they provide virtually no protection in a crash as they just collapse.
“Soft” or collapsible crates
Bottom of the scale in safety (in descending order!) are the dogs that travel on the back seat, then the ones on the front seat (or the lap of the front passenger) then the ones on the rear parcel shelf, then the ones on the front dashboard (yes! .. really!) or, worst of all, on the driver's lap!!! Some of you will have seen examples of all these horrors.
Here are some nightmare scenarios I have found . . .
Unrestrained “back seat dog”
Unrestrained "front seat dog"
Dog on rear parcel shelf
Dog resting on driver’s head!!! (identity concealed)
Another factor not often considered, is the possibility of the dog falling, or jumping, out of the window with obvious disastrous results. If the weather is hot and you want to have the windows open, fit grills over the aperture to prevent the dog sticking its head out.
Again, no comment!!!
TRAVEL SAFELY and BON VOYAGE!!!