As the August bank holiday approaches, many of us will be planning a weekend getaway before normal service resumes next week. And with the Met office predicting sun and heat, there couldn’t be a better weekend to get away.

With most of us set to travel by car there are many things we need to do before heading off on a long road trip: checking the engine oil, tyre pressure, making sure you have ample phone battery and snacks, and for those of us taking along our dog companions, we do everything we can to make sure they will be cool and comfortable during the journey.

With temperatures rising and different rules on how your dog must be secured in a car, on top of all the other holiday plans to organise, it can be a simple mistake to not think of every little thing you can do to keep your furry friend happy in the back of the car.

Daily Echo: Keeping your dog stress free is important too (Halfords)Keeping your dog stress free is important too (Halfords)

In fact, only 4 in 10 people in a new study have said they “completely understand” how to travel safely in the car with their dog.

This study was carried out for Halfords by One Poll amongst 1000 dog owners. It revealed what areas dog owners are unsure on how to create the right environment for their dogs when travelling in the car.

Halfords’ ‘Bark & Ride’ specialist and Kennel Club Accredited Instructor have teamed up to share expert advice on keeping the nation’s dogs safe and happy this bank holiday.

Emily Hussey, Assistant Buyer for Travel Equipment and the first ‘Bark & Ride’ specialist at Halfords, shares her top tips for getting your car dog ready this summer:

“Starting with the car itself, it’s crucial you make this as safe and cool an environment as possible, especially if you’re bumper to bumper on the M5!

1. “One of the most important things to keep in mind when travelling with your pet in the car is ensuring they are strapped in or secured, whether this be a seatbelt style harness or a comfortable crate or cage. It may seem obvious, but our research found that 51% of people don’t have a safety harness or safety device for their pet.”

Why not try: Large Dog Harness or Halfords Tubular Dog Guard

2. “Long journeys can be stressful for pets, which is why keeping the car comfortable should be a key consideration for pet friendly car travel. Dogs need fresh air and a cool environment, so making sure that the air conditioning in the car is in top shape is a must ahead of any trip.”

Why not try: Free Air Con Check

3. “Almost a fifth of people worry that their dog will be uncomfortable during long journeys, and a packed car can make it difficult to create a safe and happy environment for your pooch. If you’re tight on space due to passengers, luggage and your pet, installing a roof box can be a great idea to free up some space in the backseat or boot. At Halfords, our experts are trained to help you pick the best box for your needs and can even help you fit it ahead of your journey!”

Why not try: Halfords Advanced 470L Roof Box


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Keeping your dogs stress free is just as important as creating a safe environment.

Carolyn Menteith, Kennel Club Accredited Instructor and Advanced Motorist gives his top tips on keeping your canine calm:

1. “If you are traveling any distance, plan in stops so your dog can get a break - to stretch their legs, have a wee and enjoy a drink. Most motorway service stations have dog areas now - but do be careful! Many dogs are lost escaping from the back of a car at a service station so rehearse opening the car and getting your dog out when you are at home so you both know exactly how to do it.

2. If you have passengers with you - especially in the back seat - task one of them to keep an eye on the dog. They can tell you if they are happy, comfortable and relaxed - or if they are panting, worried or looking concerned. You’ve got enough to think about battling with the Bank Holiday traffic!

3. Be prepared to change or abandon plans if your dog is getting distressed. A bad experience can colour your dog’s view of car travel for life - and you want to be able to enjoy many more Bank Holidays out and about together.”

For more info on pet-friendly travel, visit Halford’s Bark and Ride section on the website.