Whether you are travelling with to the vets or off on holiday with your dog make sure you know the law before setting off.
Rule 57 of the 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.
Breaking the Highway Code does not carry a direct penalty, motorists could still be pulled over for driving without due care and attention.
The maximum penalty for this is a maximum fine of £2,500 and nine penalty points and could see you need to take another test.
Carrying an animal in a car is also law under the Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006 which states: “You must not transport an animal in a way that causes, or is likely to cause, injury or unnecessary suffering to that animal.”
A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “If you are travelling with a dog, try and take it for a long walk before you set off so it doesn’t have any pent up energy for the journey ahead.
“Don’t feed your pet for two hours before you travel as many suffer from motion sickness and restrain your animal properly with a harness.” If you have an accident while driving that was related to having an unrestrained animal in the car it is likely your insurance company will not pay out.
A spokesman for insurance comparison site gocompare.com said: “The law is clear – you must secure your animal while in a car – therefore if you don’t do this and an animal roaming freely around the vehicle is said to have contributed to causing an accident, then an insurance company could be well within their rights not to pay out on a claim.”
RSPCA tips for travelling with a dog in a car
When transporting your dog in a crate or container, you should ensure that it has enough room to sit and stand up at full height, turn around easily and lie down in a natural position.
You should also ensure that your dog is able to see out of the container and that there is enough ventilation and airflow. Suitable bedding should be placed on the floor to prevent the dog from slipping around during the journey.
You could also consider a car harness that secures your dog by linking in with the seat belt system.