We frequently see dog walkers transporting dogs in the back of cars or small vans without adequate crating or restraints. We have witnessed vans with 5/6 dogs in the back of vans with no restraints at all. Now that would be interesting in corners, having to break sharply or suddenly a scuffle breaking out, never mind the poor dog stressed out of it life in the back! Now we fully understand the cost implications of purchasing/leasing a vehicle adequate for the transportation of animals but feel if you are taking a dog into care and transporting a dog (or a number of dogs) then the right equipment should be used and adequate insurance be in place.
In 2018 new DEFRA (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs) regulations came out regarding animal welfare. The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018. Guidance notes for conditions for providing daycare for dogs July 2018. These regulations are relevant to daycare but The Dog Bus team believe that good practice should be equally applied to anyone who transports dogs in a professional capacity be it doggie daycare, dog walkers, pet taxis or boarding facilities.
In Part A – General Conditions (Schedule 2 of the Regulations) Condition 5.6 it states “the animals must be transported and handled in a manner (including for example in relation to housing, temperature, ventilation, and frequency) that protects them from pain, suffering, injury, and disease.
- Transport must be in accordance with legal requirements. (basically legally allowed to be on the road, taxed and insured)
- Dogs must be suitably restrained using a dog crate, dog guard or transport harness. Dog crates must be of adequate size, designed to provide good ventilation and firmly secured, out of direct sunlight and away from heating vents.
- Vehicles must be regularly cleaned and disinfected.
- Leaving dogs in vehicles must be minimalised and dogs must never be left unattended in a car or other vehicle where the temperature may pose a risk to the animal.
- If transporting dogs by road, sufficient breaks must be offered for water and the chance to go to the toilet.
- Where the business uses vehicles to collect and return dogs, the dogs must be collected from and returned to houses on a lead to minimise the risk of any dog escaping.
What is not mentioned, but we feel equally important is the sharing of crates. At the dog bus, we get to know each dog individually and their nature. We have dogs who are best friends and will play all day with each other but try and put them in the same crate and WW3 breaks out. We have other dogs who love sharing a crate. Quite simply you need to know the dominance triggers (crate guarding in this case) or competitive behavior of each dog before you start putting them in crates together.
Insurance is another factor and quite simply if anyone who transports dogs in a professional capacity needs to have insurance to do so. It is not generally covered in your standard insurance policy, how many times have you been asked the question “is the vehicle going to be used for work purposes”?
To conclude, if you are going to have your dog transported by a professional dog walker, dog daycare company, pet taxi or other, ask the questions, look at the vehicle and check the insurance. The alternative is your beloved pet is at risk and it is highly unlikely to be insured in the event of an accident or incident.