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Tuesday, 8 May 2012

DCYD: what do you do when travelling alone?

We are soon to get a puppy. We cannot wait. However, although we don’t have any holidays planned for the summer this year, do you have any advice for traveling with dogs in hot weather. Sometimes there are major hold ups on the roads and although you can give your dog water and have the car windows down, as your ad shows, the car can still get tremendously hot in a very short space of time.

Also, if traveling alone with your dog and you need to use the toilet, what can be done about your dog? Sometimes the places are very large and there are often queues (especially for females) you can easily be gone for 15 mins. Far too long to leave your dog!! Do you have any advice? If you do would you kindly post it to your website as I am sure this is something people may not have thought of.

Kind regards,

Avril Howe, by email

The RSPCA advises...

Each year the RSPCA receives around 6,000 calls from members of the public concerned about an animal that has been left in a car on the street, in a supermarket car park or at a public event.

Dogs can die from heatstroke in as little as 20 minutes. In warm, sunny weather cars become ovens and even if it’s cloudy, the temperature inside a car can become dangerously hot for a dog. When it is just 22°C (72°F) outside, the temperature inside a car can soar to 47°C (117°F) or even higher. For this reason, the RSPCA advises that animals are never left inside cars.
If a dog left in a car is panting for breath, it may be starting to suffer from heatstroke. This could kill the dog very quickly.
Leaving the car windows open or putting a bowl of water inside does not help.
Temperatures in air conditioned cars can reach the same as the outside air temperature within just five minutes of air conditioning being turned off.
Owners who put an animal at risk by leaving it locked inside a car can face prosecution.

Below is a link to our page that gives advice on this:

Motorway service stations reply...

A Welcome Break spokesperson said...

Our policy on allowing dogs into our services is much the same as any other restaurant/eatery, i.e. we only allow guide dogs.

A Roadchef spokesperson said...
We welcome all customers at Roadchef Motorway Service areas. However, as we are predominately a catering business we must abide by all environmental health and hygiene regulations. As a result, we do not deem it appropriate in all circumstances to allow dogs inside our motorway service areas (except of course for guide dogs or other assistance dogs).
We do recognise the dangers of leaving dogs in cars, and as such, provide water bowls and places to tie up leads outside our motorway service areas.

Kirsty Birkin, Moto, said...
Only guide dogs are allowed internally on our sites. Being a dog owner myself, if I am travelling on my own I tie my dog up in a safe area if I need to use the rest room.


  1. If you get a lockable tailgate guard you can leave the boot open when you leave the car, but you would also need a silvery reflective blanket/or sheet to reflect the heat away - you drape them over the boot of the car while it's up and if you're parked in shade as well they can work quite well.

    I've also got a solar powered fan in the roof of my vehicles, it draws the hot air out. Not enough to leave the dog in the car all done up, but with the boot open and shades, that would all help.

    Sometimes though, the best decision is to leave the dog at home, with a dog walker, sitter, home boarder or some kennels do 'daycare' now if you need to be out for a long time.

  2. I often travel alone and have to have the dogs with me in the car. The 'Don't Cook Your Dog' campaign is great, but it doesn't address those times when there is no alternative but to leave your dog, when it's safer and they're more comfortable. I sometimes have to go out for the afternoon and rather than lock them up at home, I take them with me and park where I know for certain there is deep shade that will only get deeper when the sun moves, with the whole of the back seats down, windows open and bowl of water out - and they then get a great walk and a run on the beach. Who's the worse owner - someone who keeps them safe but bored or who has them in the car for half an hour in full shade but runs on the beach and lots of fun?

    I suppose the answer is a Barjo lockable tailgate guard for your car - that way not only can you leave windows open, but the full back of the car, without compromising their safety or your security. I had one for my Berlingo and it was brilliant.

    The other option is to leave a laminated card on your dashboard, thanking people for their concern about your dog but that you are unavoidably away for a short period of time and giving your mobile number.

  3. Firstly, congratulations on getting your puppy! I'm excited for you :)

    I am often a lone traveller with dogs and have developed of my own personal tricks for getting through. Not all of them are pretty, hence I am posting anonymously!

    Re the heat in a car:

    1. it helps if you can put those reflective shades (that you are supposed to put in the windscreen) across the back window and if possible, the side windows too. The less sun directly into the car the better.

    2. turn your cold air on if you have it, as well as the windows open. We also have a fan which faces to the dogs into the back

    3. make sure there is space for air to circulate, especially if you have a lot of luggage around the dog.

    4. use reflectors before your journey so the car is cool when you set off

    5. provide water near the dog if possible

    Secondly re "toilet stops"

    You will generally find at service stations there are a lot of trees and bushes around the peripheries. I usually head off for a wander with the dogs and when I find a secluded and sheltered spot - well, you can imagine the rest! After all, the dogs need a private place to relieve themselves ;)

    An alternative is the use of a Shee wee (either al fesco in aforementioned secluded spot, or sitting in your car, into a bottle). The Shee wee takes PRACTICE, the biggest tip being to hold the front of it away from yourself (against all instinct).

    If I am giving too much info - Beverley you have duty to edit!

    Anyway, those are my tried and tested tips. I'm sure others will have loads more.

    1. I was going to suggest a 'she wee' too - infact I've just ordered one from Ebay (new I hasten to add) to keep in the car...

  4. We have a car with air conditioning. If I need to go to the loo and am travelling alone instead of going to the shop/restaurant part of the motorway services I park up near the petrol pumps and use the loo in there, much quicker, easy to keep an eye on the car if you do need to queue and guaranteed the cars are being watched by CCTV.

  5. Re: toilet stops - at motorway services I always go to the petrol station part as there is always some shade - even if it means parking by a pump and not buying petrol! and I've never known there be a queue for the loos, so its a very quick visit! I always leave all windows open a few inches and a bowl of water (for a puppy though I'd get window grills which fit into the open space and can be locked into place I believe).

  6. If you can get a tailgate guard, or crate for the boot of your car, leaving your dog safely locked in one of those, with the windows down and a ventlock (or similar device) on the boot to 'latch' the boot open a bit is supposed to aid air circulation (I'm awaiting deliver of my tailgate guard & ventlock to try this first).

    You can get battery operated crate fans, which you could put on as you leave the car, along with using sunshields on the windscreen and windows, which again you could leave down.

    Park in the shade! Shade is underrated, but since moving to a house that has trees beside the drive, I can certainly recommend them. My car still gets warm, but not as warm as it would be without them; shade plus some of the above should easily equal one cool car!