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New Study Reveals Where Dogs Feel Happiest, Most Comfortable in the Car

For dog paw-rents and their pooches, car journeys can either be a pleasant experience or one that they would rather not embark on. But, as it turns out, where your dog sits during car rides plays a big role in their comfort level. And, the music you play is important, too!

Using heart rate monitors, comparethemarket.com.au carried out a study on four different dog breeds of varying sizes, to determine which locations had their tails wagging and which areas raised their heart rates the most.

The research reveals that the dogs felt the most comfortable when their owner was in view, with their heart rates decreasing by -6.8% in the front seat and -9.5% in the back seat, when compared to their average heart rate.

In contrast, the dogs were the most uncomfortable when secured in the boot with their owner completely out of sight (a 20.4% increase from their average). Behind the drivers’ seat should also be avoided, as this saw a 10.6% increase.

Compare the Market reveals the full results of each dog as follows:

NameBreedAvg. heart rateDifference in front seat (%)Difference in back seat with owner view (%)Difference in back seat without owner view (%)Difference in the boot (%)
MiloJack Russell57-11.9-10.112.922.1
BertiePoochon66-8.4-12.76.320
RaffyCocker Spaniel74-0.5-5.41416.2
MontyRed Fox Labrador68-6.7-9.99.223.5

All four dogs66.2-6.8-9.510.620.4

Expert opinion1 suggests that for our furry friends, their humans are often their main social connection and so being separated from them for a car journey, especially in the boot, can be really isolating and may result in feelings of anxiety.

Stephen Zeller, General Manager of General Insurance at Compare the Market, said, “If you are planning a car trip, don’t forget to consider your dog’s safety and well-being, which extends to where they are secured in your car, what type of music you listen to and ensuring the temperature is controlled.”

If travelling is unavoidable and your dog is showing signs of discomfort, research suggests2 that music with either 50 or 60 beats per minute are best to keep your pooch feeling relaxed.

Compare the Market has created a ‘Pooch Perfect Cars’ playlist on Spotify with songs such as ‘Ronan’ by Taylor Swift and ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen making the list, to help your dog feel at ease on the journey and making it a more comfortable experience for everyone.

To download the playlist and to find out more expert tips on how best to travel with your pet, please visit: https://www.comparethemarket.com.au/car-insurance/pooch-perfect-cars/

Data and sources:

  1. Compare the Market spoke with Clinical Animal Behaviourist, Rachel Rodgers MSc, BSc (Hons), PGCE to gather insight on the study, as well as to provide expert opinion on the tips provided.
  2. Data on the beats per minute in a song that keeps dogs calm was taken from Dr. Christie Cornelius and her comments for PetMD.

Methodology:

Using heart rate monitor collars, Compare The Market studied four different dog breeds of varying sizes to determine which areas of the car they feel the most and least comfortable. They took their average heart rate and placed them in four different areas of the car: front seat, back seat (with and without owner view), and the boot on five different occasions to track the differences in heart rate.

Compare The Market then took an average of all four dogs’ results to determine which areas you should opt for when traveling, and which you should avoid.

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