On holiday with your dog in the car: what rules apply in Europe?

In many countries there are no clear rules for the transport of pets in the car, but in any case the pet should not hinder the driver. In some EU countries, including Germany, Spain and Portugal, there are clear rules though: when transporting the dog in the back seat, he must be kept on a leash. The dog is allowed unleashed in the boot, provided that he is placed behind a dog guard or safety net. Another possibility is transport in a dog crate. You can place a small travel box in the passenger compartment, but preferably on the floor against the back of the front seat, or on the rear seat provided it is secured to the seat belt. But of course, the safest place for a the dog crate is in the boot. In case of a large dog there will be no other possibility anyway.

Apart from the official rules per country, it is recommended that you do not take any risks, both for your own safety and to avoid problems with your insurance in the case of an accident. PetWareShop offers all kinds of high-quality products for safe transport of your dog or cat in the car.

How do I safely transport my dog in the back seat?

Never transport your dog in the passenger seat, but in the back seat. Furthermore, it is strongly recommended not to let your dog wear a simple dog collar in the car, because this can cause serious neck injuries in the event of a collision. Rather use a dog harness and preferably a so-called Y-dog harness, in which the chest strap and belly strap are connected between the front legs, such as the Julius-K9 IDC Longwalk. Only a Y-strap harness ensures the most even distribution of forces to the chest during a collision, reducing the risk of serious injury. The car dog harness must be attached to the seat belt of the car with a special car tether: a dog seat belt. The most universal is a car tether, which is secured to the car seat belt with a carabiner. However, there are also dog seat belts with a buckle, which can be clicked directly into the seat belt lock. This is easier to use, but keep in mind that not all car brands use the same type of seat belt lock. For extra safety, it is recommended that, in addition to using a dog harness, you also block the space between the front seats with a "Backseat Barrier".

What is the best dog guard for my car?

It is always safer for both driver and passengers to transport the dog in the boot space rather than in the back seat. PetWareShop offers a safety net for this, but the best way to separate the boot from the passenger compartment is a metal dog guard. This allows you to transport your pet safely, but it also protects the occupants from the dangers of loose cargo in the boot. That is why a dog guard is also called a cargo separator. Sometimes a dog guard is also referred to as a divider, but that can be confusing; a divider is officially a rack that is placed transversely on a dog guard, to make a left/right division in the boot. Basically there are two types of dog guards:

1) Universal dog guard
A universal dog guard is adjustable in width and sometimes also in height and therefore fits in many different cars, but certainly not in every car model. That is why we also call these racks "semi-universal". To cover more car models, universal dog guards are often available in several sizes. Even then, the opening to the boot may still not be perfectly closed. For most buyers however, a small opening on the sides or top is not a problem. In addition, more and more car models are equipped with airbags above the side windows, for which sufficient space must also be kept free. A universal rack can be mounted quickly and easily, but is sometimes slightly less sturdy than a car-specific dog guard. Also, there are often no matching divider racks available. If you want to continue to use the original cargo cover after installation, choose a dog guard type that is attached to the headrests of the rear seat.

2) Car-specific dog guard
This type of dog guard is custom made for your car and will not fit any other car model. The opening to the boot is perfectly closed. The mounting is often a bit more work, but as a result the dog guard sits very firmly in the car. The downside is that removal takes just as much time, making a car-specific dog guard more suitable as a permanent pet barrier. Whether the original cargo cover cassette can be placed back in combination with the dog guard varies per car model. If this is important to you, please view the manual on the product page before purchasing.

What is the best dog crate for a car?

There are no specific requirements for a dog crate for in the car in Europe. So in principle you can use any type of dog crate in the boot. Nevertheless, we strongly recommend buying a special car dog crate, such as the VarioCage. Thanks to the sloping shape and adjustable length, your pet makes the most of the available space on the boot floor. In addition, the VarioCage is crash-tested and equipped with an escape hatch on the rear seat side, so that your dog can be rescued if the tailgate of the car is blocked by an accident.

All the above products can be found in our webshop. We wish you and your dog a pleasant, but above all a safe drive!

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