The travel enclosure or container

The pet owner should also have carefully considered the effect that prolonged confinement will have on the animal, particularly taking account of the nature and size of the animal and the length and type of journey.

The pet owner has the primary responsibility to ensure that the animal is properly confined for travel. Carriers should be aware of the following advice in this respect.

  • The pet should be securely confined within its travel enclosure or container. It is advisable for the access door to be kept locked, particularly when the pet owner is not in attendance.
  • The travel enclosure and any container used should be of a suitable size for the animal, sufficient at least for it to stand, sit and lie down in a natural position, and to turn around easily.
  • The enclosure or container should not contain anything which could injure the animal, and should be designed so that no part of the animal (e.g. head, paws, tail) can protrude or become trapped.
  • Adequate ventilation is essential for all stages of transport, bearing in mind that the travel enclosure and any container within it may be in 'still air' conditions for long periods of time.
  • A means of ensuring that water is available at all times, and when necessary feed, should be provided if the journey is to last more than a few hours. The utensils for watering and feeding should be placed in or fixed to the container so that they cannot be knocked over or the contents spilt, and on longer journeys should be capable of being re-filled easily. Use of an anti-spill water bowl is strongly recommended.

Appropriate and absorbent bedding should be provided, and this may need to be changed during a very long journey. Newspaper is ineffective and should not be used.

During the journey

The vehicle, travel enclosure and any container used should be adequately ventilated at all times. Heat and moisture can quickly build up inside unless there is a good airflow through it.

Animals should never be left in vehicles in direct strong sunshine and/or high temperatures as it is difficult to ensure sufficient ventilation to keep them cool. Unless animals are fully acclimatised overheating, distress and suffering are likely when the temperature exceeds 25 degrees Celsius for more than a few minutes. The temperature in a car in full sun on a hot day can rise to double that outside of the vehicle in a short time, leading rapidly to distress for any animal in the vehicle.

Heat stroke (Dogs)

Dogs differ crucially in their ability to cope with heat. They lose heat mainly by panting and, unlike people, do not sweat profusely. Dogs with snub noses (e.g. Pekingnese) or dogs with breathing problems are much more prone to heat stress. Long haired dogs are more susceptible than those with short hair.

How can you recognise overheating and its severity?

First signs are often increased panting and increased activity with barking or whining. Dogs will look obviously agitated.

Then excessive salivation can occur, often with drooling and with strands of saliva hanging from the mouth.

Extreme panting and dark coloured gums will follow. Glassy eyes and stupor may be seen.

Once body temperature is raised to the point that cell death occurs then seizures, coma and death follow.

The key to successful recovery from overheating is early detection and prompt treatment. Remove the animal to a cool shaded place, provide water to drink and spray the animal with cool water (cooling may also be achieved by blowing cool air from a fan). Seek immediate veterinary advice if there is not a prompt response to cooling.

Your access rights 

Everyone can enjoy Scotland's outdoor access rights. In summary, some of the main features of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 are:

  • Everyone has the statutory right of access
  • Access rights apply to all land and inland waters, unless excluded (as below)
  • Access rights are for outdoor recreation, for crossing land and water, and for some educational and commercial purposes
  • Exercising access rights, and managing access land, must be done responsibly.

Where access rights do not apply

  • Houses and gardens, and non-residential buildings and associated land
  • Farm buildings and yards
  • Land in which crops have been sown or are growing (although please note that the headrigs, endrigs and other margins of fields where crops are growing are not defined as crops, whether sown or unsown, and are therefore within access rights).
  • Land next to a school and used by the school
  • Sports or playing fields when these are in use and where the exercise of access rights would interfere with such use
  • Land developed and in use for recreation and where the exercise of access rights would interfere with such use
  • Golf courses (but you can cross a golf course provided you don't interfere with any games of golf)
  • Places like airfields, railways, telecommunication sites, military bases and installations, working quarries and construction sites, and
  • Visitor attractions or other places which charge for entry.

Which activities are excluded from access rights?

Access rights don't extend to:

  • Being on or crossing land for the purpose of doing anything which is an offence, such as theft, breach of the peace, nuisance, poaching, allowing a dog to worry livestock, dropping litter, polluting water or disturbing certain wild birds, animals and plants
  • Hunting, shooting, fishing
  • Any form of motorised recreation or passage (except by people with a disability using a vehicle or vessel adapted for their use) 
  • Anyone responsible for a dog which is not under proper control, or
  • Anyone taking away anything from the land for a commercial purpose.

Other related legislation supporting access to the countryside:

  • Public rights of way continue to exist and are unaffected by the Act
  • Public rights on the foreshore and in tidal waters will continue to exist
  • Liability - the Act makes clear that the extent of the duty of care owed by a land manager is unaffected
  • Access rights do not extend to criminal activity which is defined by various statutory offences.