Last week I watched a video posted on a professional dog walker's group on Facebook. A dog walker had created a cute little video to show people what a day in the life of a dog walker is like. The video started with her picking up the first dog of the day, into the car he jumped, she gave him a fuss and off they went. As she pulled away he was leaping about on the back seat and making moves to get himself up front!
Well, this was concerning enough to me. The dog wasn't restrained in any way which is not just dangerous, it's illegal and invalidates your insurance. Next up she picked up poocharoo number two. In she jumped and joined her pal on the back seat, isn't that sweet?!
No actually. Whilst it's lovely that the dogs are so happy to see each other it simply isn't a safe way for dogs from multiple households to travel in my opinion. These particular dogs were very excitable and playful which is very distracting for the driver but not only that, there is the potential that it could tip over from play to a scuffle very quickly.
I feel that the safest way for dogs to travel when being chauffeured to their walkies is separately. I do make an exception for dogs from the same household who are very attached to each other and who are more comfortable with their other half but outside of this, they are separated.
There are multiple risks in the dogs travelling side by side and unrestrained. Ignoring the worry of the dogs getting up to mischief and playing whilst the driver is on the road, in the event of a collision the pooches will be catapulted around the vehicle. Now depending on the size and number of dogs being transported this could be incredibly dangerous if not fatal for the driver.... and the dogs.
Ensuring your dog is safely restrained is not just a good idea, it's a legal requirement in the UK. Not doing so could not only injure you, your dog and any passengers but it could also land you with a £5000 fine and invalidate your car insurance.
Now, if there was a car accident and emergency services needed to attend, what would happen with all these dogs loose in the back of the vehicle? Imagine a collision has just taken place which has startled and shaken all of the dogs who are just bouncing around in the back of the vehicle, worse being thrown about inside a crate with whoever they've been buddyed up with. Now if the stress of all this hasn't caused a brawl among the dogs then they're about to have the opportunity to bolt when the emergency services access the vehicle to attend to the human(s) in the vehicle.
A number of year's ago in Brighton there was a horrible incident between dogs who had walked together happily for a long time. Whilst the dog walker was away from the vehicle, I assume picking up or dropping off a dog, something occured between the dogs and one of the dogs died.
Harry, a two-year-old French bulldog, died after an incident between three dogs that had been left unrestrained while the van was parked.
Animal welfare officers attempted to prosecute the owner of the company but the case was dropped due to a lack of national regulations surrounding the transportation of animals by dog walking firms.
Stephanie Williams, a council animal welfare officer, said: “We feel very strongly that there should be national legislation around the transportation of animals by dog walking firms.
“At present, dog walkers can carry any number of dogs unrestrained in the back of their vehicles.”
You can read the full article here.
Now I am a very risk adverse individual but I think that it's clear that when it comes to transporting multiple dogs it is better to be safe than sorry. The risks to the dogs in not separating them and restraining them either in individual crates or on seat belt harnesses far outweighs any percieved benefits. And that is why I will always transport all the dogs I care for separately and with appropriate restraints.