Should you restrain your dog whilst in the car?

Car safety

Whilst out on the road, it is not uncommon to see a dog happily travelling along with their head out the window of a car, tongue wagging in the wind. But what many may not realise is that if your dog is not properly restrained whilst you are driving, then you are putting both yourself and your pet at risk.

If you were to have an accident then your dog could be at risk of a serious or even fatal injury if not properly restrained. Not only that, but if your dog is left to roam free in the car the they could even be the very cause of an accident. This can happen by them either distracting your attention or obstructing your sight or movement whilst driving.

What are the rules?

a dog restrained in car whilst drivingAs stated in The Highway Code, “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.”

But how exactly should you be restraining your dog? The section goes on to say, “A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.”

So, if your dog is small enough, then you could consider using a pet carrier whilst travelling. This needs to be large enough to allow your dog to stand up and turn around, but small enough to prevent sliding around with the car’s movements. It is also important that the carrier is well ventilated, and should be securely fastened in place whilst you are on the move.

If a pet carrier is not an option, then for some dogs a seatbelt harness can work well. This provides your dog some freedom to move on their seat, but helps to retrain them in an accident. Be sure to use a harness which is specifically designed to be used in this way, and avoid simply attaching your usual dog lead to a seatbelt.

A barrier can also be a great option for restraining your dog in the back of your car, particularly if you have a larger or multiple dogs. Ensure that the barrier is designed not only to fit your vehicle, but also to restrain the weight of your dog in an accident.

If you need advice on what is best for your pet, then please feel free to get in touch today.