Travelling with a gun dog in 2023

Travelling with a gun dog in 2023.

Being outside with your beloved companion is one of life’s greatest joys. However, getting to and from these adventures often requires a vehicle. Today we’ll be covering tips on how to make sure your dog is happy and safe in transit.



The most important thing to consider is the safety of the dog, should the worst-case scenario occur. While it’s something nobody ever hopes to experience, it’s always key to make sure you’ve done everything you can to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your pets. Even in the event of sudden braking, an unsecured dog could be thrown around the car and injure itself or others. If you have a smaller vehicle, it’s recommended you use a harness with clips into the seatbelt. Another benefit of this is it prevents any excited dogs trying to climb through into the front seat while driving. For larger vehicles and vans the best solution is a dog box or cage in the rear of the vehicle. Aside from the safety benefits, boxes can help reduce stress and sickness while traveling by providing the dog an enclosed space with a bed or other items to help it feel safe. It’s absolutely not recommended to have windows down when travelling with a dog that isn’t secured. The rush of new smells can excite them, and they are known to jump from a moving or stationary car to investigate them.

If you are travelling with firearms, please be aware of the local laws around them. We’ll run over some of the stipulations in the UK, but make sure you check any that may be specific to you. Remember that the onus is on the owner of the Firearm to know the law. For further information contact your local Police Firearms Licensing Department. For reference, here is a link to firearms law.


  • After being transported, check accuracy before shooting at a live target.
  • Use robust containers that provide security and protection.
  • Ensure that firearms are in a suitable container, preferably secured to the vehicle
    The Home Office recommend fitting an immobiliser.
  • Beware of the damage caused by the movement of the vehicle.
  • When stopping to refuel etc, make sure the vehicle is locked, firearms are secured to the vehicle out of sight, and take the bolt and FAC with you.


Also consider local laws and guidance around travelling with dogs. In the UK please follow the highway code guidance (Found here).

Highway Code states: “When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly.
A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.”

While the highway code doesn’t carry a direct penalty, drivers could still be pulled over and fined for not driving with due care and attention, should a pet be seen climbing through the vehicle or on your lap, for example. The current maximum fine you could face is £5000, for careless driving. Another consideration is in the event of an accident, insurers may use an unrestrained pet against you in a claim, regardless of if it was a direct result of the animal itself, so it’s always best to make sure they are restrained. Whilst this may be a very rare and unlikely scenario, it’s always best to err on the side of caution, even check your policy to see of there are rules and exceptions with your insurer.

Alternatively check your local laws if you’re reading outside the UK. If these aren’t followed you can find yourself with a fine or points on your license. It’s important to remember that these rules are in place to protect you, your pets, and all other road users.


Getting your dog used to travel as young as possible is vitally important, most gun dog breeds don’t become afraid of these experiences until around 16 weeks old. Introducing them to short journeys as early as possible, can help them in the future. Even better if they have an adult dog present to show them how it’s done. Another key element is timing travel around your dog’s eating habits. If possible, avoid travelling after meals, or while driving at a time when the dog would be expecting a meal. This minimizes the risk of sickness.

If you still have trouble with a dog who seems afraid to travel, even after multiple trips from a young age, it’s likely the dog experiences travel sickness. If this is the case, it could be worth changing the usual travel method. If the dog usually travels by crate, try a seat harness where it’s closer to you and can see out the window perhaps, or visa versa. An ideal situation is to have someone present who can play and occupy the dog while travelling. Also consider a darkened or covered crate if none of the other options are suitable. For a quick recap;


  • Don’t allow your pet to ride with its head hanging out of the window, as it’s potentially dangerous and can cause injury. Keep it suitably restrained.
  • Always carry a large water bottle (5 litres minimum) in case your pet overheats and needs to be rapidly cooled in an emergency.
  • Use sunshades on the windows when it is hot, or the sun is bright and never leave a pet in a hot car.
  • Don’t feed your pet within two hours of starting a long car journey to avoid carsickness.
  • Pack a favourite toy or blanket to give your pet a sense of familiarity.

Protecting your vehicle

The safety and protection of yourself and your dogs’ is the absolute priority. However, keeping your vehicle in top condition is also an important consideration when transporting animals. We’ll now go over some of the solutions to keeping things clean, dry and in the best condition, depending on how you travel. Keeping the soft furnishings of a vehicle dry is vitally important, as damp fabrics can breed bacteria, leading to odours or even mould. Seat covers, or a bench cover for the rear seats are a great solution to prevent the wet and dirt from your dog reaching the fabric. The range of materials, shapes and designs are huge, so a lot of your choice will come down to budget and preference. There are materials that may keep the dirt away, but not be waterproof so still let moisture through, it’s always best to check and make sure it will suit your needs. For the boot you can also get liners, there is more of a selection for rigid materials in the tailgate, which help with the clean when you get home, as you can pull them out and hose them down. If you have a cheekier dog that likes to chew, there are also options that will have walls, to protect the back of the seats and plastic trims in the rear.

Aside from covers, dog boxes and cages keep your dog from being able to get their muddy paws on all surfaces. The former will provide a better, all round, protection for your dog. It will generally be a more comfortable environment as the box floor and walls are usually made from poor heat conductive materials, so won’t get too hot or cold depending on the weather. They are also much easier to clean that a cage as it’s one flat surface. If you need to get the box in and out frequently, they are also a lighter weight solution and, like a rigid boot liner, could be hosed and washed easily.



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