Did you know that dogs on board are a major source of distraction while driving? This is why the Highway Safety Code prohibits driving a road vehicle when an animal obstructs the driver’s view or interferes with his driving. Committing such an offense subjects drivers to fines of $ 30 to $ 60, but above all to the risk of an accident that could cause serious bodily harm.
Your dog should never be able to roam freely in the car. Whether you are planning a car trip with your dog or going on a road trip with him, it is essential to be well informed and prepared to prevent incidents.
Having your safety and that of your pet at heart, Promutuel Insurance reviews with you the right actions and precautions to put into practice when you take the road with your dog.
Driving with your dog on board: good to know
Are you going to the dog park? Need to take your pet to the vet? Did you know that with gravity, the weight of your animal and its transport cage is multiplied by 20 during sudden braking or an accident? This means that a 20-pound dog can turn into a 400-pound projectile capable of injuring or damaging the lives of passengers, not to mention the risks to its own life.
The Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) provides road safety advice to follow for safe driving, regardless of the length of your trips.
- Secure your animal with a harness. Although there is no law that requires you to tie up your pet in a car, it helps to ensure that it does not compromise your visibility and your ability to drive safely.
- Install a safety net or barrier.
- Place your dog in a carrier and secure it with a seat belt.
The SAAQ also mentions a few things to avoid while driving when your dog is accompanying you:
- Never drive with your dog on you: it is prohibited by law, but also very dangerous. Deployment of air bags can be fatal.
- Don’t let your dog stick his head out of a window: you expose him to unnecessary risks (stones, insects, objects too close, etc.).
- Do not leave your pet alone in the car: dogs are not immune to heatstroke, which could be fatal.
- Do not attach your dog’s collar to the back seat: in the event of sudden braking or an accident, it could break his neck.
Take a car trip with your dog: how to prepare
Are you going on an adventure by car and have decided to take your dog with you? Beautiful moments await you! On the other hand, traveling by car with a dog requires good preparation, for the happiness of your companion and yours. Here are 8 tips to be perfectly prepared for a trip with your companion:
- Get your companion used to traveling
Do not plan a trip of several hours with your dog on board if he has never been in a car before. Get him used to this new environment and test his ability to go on the road by completing short distances and gradually increasing the length of journeys. Don’t be disheartened if the first experience is a bust. Dogs, like us, are able to adapt (up to a certain limit, of course). Don’t forget to reward him after each trip!
- Make sure your dog is identified
Make sure your dog is tattooed or identified with a microchip. Bring all the necessary papers for entering another country as well as their health record, identification papers, vaccination record, etc.
- Be up to date with your dog’s vaccines
If you intend to leave Canada, customs in foreign countries may ask you to see your dog’s vaccination record. Before you go, make sure you are up to date with your companion’s vaccines.
- Learn about the diseases to watch out for in the area you are visiting
Canine diseases vary from place to place. If you leave Quebec, learn about diseases, bacteria and parasites to which your dog could be exposed during your vacation. The same goes for poisonous plants and animals (porcupine, snake, spider, etc.).
- Pack your pet’s suitcase
Do you like to take your pillow when traveling to sleep better? It’s the same for your dog! Since he will be transported to an unfamiliar environment, reassure him by taking his favorite blanket, bed and favorite toys. A little bit of home abroad will help them adjust.
- Take breaks every three hours
To avoid unpleasant surprises and allow your dog to stretch his legs, stop every three hours. Put it on a leash when you stop on the side of the road or at rest areas. Road noise could make him nervous and cause him to react in an unpredictable way.
- Have water and food available
Some dogs tend to salivate more when in a car. They can become nauseous. It is important to keep your dog hydrated by giving him frequent water. Remember to feed it, but avoid large portions. Give him smaller rations, more frequently, so he doesn’t get sick in the car.
- Don’t forget to put into practice the SAAQ’s driving advice set out above.
Your dog has the travel sickness? Here are some tips to make it more comfortable and avoid unpleasant surprises on the road:
- Avoid feeding it in the morning before you leave.
- Practice walking short distances and slowly increase the length of the trips.
- Try natural anxiolytic treatments (eg: Zylkene) available online and in pet stores.
- If your dog is homesick, reassure him by taking his favorite things and toys.
- If he is sick, remember to give him water frequently to prevent him from becoming dehydrated.
Road accident: is my dog covered?
What about protecting your dog in the event of a traffic accident? Will it be covered by auto insurance? In fact, it is rather home insurance that covers it. If your dog is killed in a car accident, your home insurance will compensate you for the value of your dog. In home insurance contracts, animals are covered in particular in the event of damage caused directly by transport accidents.
And what if your dog becomes stressed in the car and bites you or attacks one of your passengers? According to the SAAQ, no compensation is paid by the public automobile insurance plan of Quebec in the case of « an accident caused by the autonomous act of an animal transported in a vehicle ». This is another good reason to be vigilant. However, damage caused by your dog to equipment or to others, such as a bite or damage in a hotel, is covered by your home insurance, more specifically your liability insurance.
Promutuel Insurance is there to provide you with peace of mind when traveling by car with your companion. Contact us now to ask your questions about auto insurance or to request a quote for home insurance that will cover your dog!