University research finds that dogs prefer EVs to diesel vehicles

University research finds that dogs prefer EVs to diesel vehicles
According to a new study from the University of Lincoln and CarGurus it has been revealed that dogs prefer riding in an electric vehicle (EV) over a diesel car.

Initial findings of the research concluded that dogs suffer from car sickness more while travelling in a diesel-powered car compared to an EV.

Dog owners said their pets suffer from over excitement (58%), anxiety (48%) and nausea (44%) when travelling in the car.

The first-of-its-kind-study, which has been submitted for publication in an international scientific journal, was commissioned to investigate the effects of travelling in EVs versus diesel cars on dog behaviour and welfare.

A two-day study was conducted to fund the results, using 20 different dogs.

Each dog was taken on two 10-minute journeys, one in an EV followed by the same route in a diesel, before a range of scientific measures were used to analyse the dog’s behaviour.

Led by Daniel Mills, Professor of Veterinary Behavioural Medicine at University of Lincoln, the study not only found that dogs were less settled in diesel cars compared with EVs, but those dogs appearing to show some signs of car sickness had notably reduced symptoms in an EV.

Impact of EVs on dogs

The study from the University of Lincoln and CarGurus concluded there was no evidence to suggest EVs have a detrimental effect on dog welfare.

This resolves anecdotal concerns that the differences in vibration and/or noise experienced in an EV may cause dogs to be unsettled or have increased car sickness.

The research actually found that the transition from internal combustion engine (ICE) to EVs for dogs was a smooth one.

During the test, in diesel cars, dogs broke their laying position on average 50% more than when in an EV.

Professor Mills states this is likely the result of differences in noise and/or vibration in the two types of cars.

Another notable finding from the study was that a small number of dogs appeared to feel markedly less nauseous in an EV compared to a diesel car. This was demonstrated by changes in behaviour and the fact that their heart rates reduced by up to 30% when travelling in an EV.

In fact, the study discovered that many dogs seemed to enjoy the motion of cars. With a higher heart rate linked to motion sickness, data revealed that 66% of the dogs went down as a result of travel in both diesel cars and EVs.

Following the release of the data, Mills said: “We know most dogs will travel in a car at some point in their life, if not on a daily basis. Yet as EVs become more prevalent with motorists, until now there were no studies of their effect on dogs.

“Our results clearly show that dogs seem to be more relaxed in EVs, particularly when looking at behavioural traits such as restlessness.

“Additionally, an interesting and somewhat unintended revelation from the study came from the dogs that we identified as having potential symptoms associated with travel sickness.

“During their journeys in the EVs, biometric recordings of these dogs revealed their heart rates slowed markedly more than when they were in diesel cars. This was of particular interest to us given an increase in heart rate is commonly associated with motion sickness.

“It’s an intriguing result, which raised additional questions for exploration within this field.”

The research also found that owners said their pets most commonly suffered from over excitement (58%), anxiety (48%) and nausea (44%) when travelling in the car.

However, the participants that have driven their dogs in both an ICE and EV vehicle said they settled better (39%), were calmer (43%), less anxious (42%) and whined less (45%) in an EV compared to an ICE.

Further analysis of the research found that dog owners try to keep their pets relaxed in the car. Nearly half (47%) give treats to encourage them to get in the car, 46% put a toy or blanket in the car, 36% go on drives in the car to get them used to travelling and 36% play relaxing music.

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