We love our dogs, that’s why we want to take them everywhere we go, on holidays, to shows or just down to the local shops. There seems to be lots of conflicting advice and scare-mongering on social media, so we decided to investigate. What is the best way to keep your dogs safe whilst travelling? And are there rules we need to abide by?
We spoke to the Highway Code, the DVLA, DVSA and six of the top motor and pet insurance companies to find out.
Rule 57 of the Highway Code advises: “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 doesn’t carry a direct penalty, but drivers could still be pulled over for driving without due care and attention. This can result in a maximum fine of £2,500 and nine penalty points.
According to the terms and conditions of the insurance companies we spoke to, there was no clause stating pets should be restrained whilst driving. However, each company advised drivers should take every reasonable precaution to avoid an accident wherever possible. It would be best to check with your own motor and pet insurance provider to query their T’s & C’s.
There are many ways of restraining your dogs in the car, but is one safer than the other?
- A dog in the boot will not be able to jump into the front of a car and cause a distraction. But if you have a rear collision, they may not be protected. Thankfully there are robust safety crates that can be fitted into your boot space that have been designed and tested to withstand car crashes.
- A dog in a carrier will be zipped or locked away and cannot cause a distraction. But in the event of a serious car accident, this carrier may be thrown off a car seat and they risk being injured.
- A dog harness is safer than a neck collar secured to a seat belt. In the event of an accident, pressure across a harness will be more evenly distributed over a larger body surface area. Though injury to the dog is still possible, it is likely to be less than that if wearing a collar, as pressure around the neck area risks damage to the spine, windpipe and major blood vessels.
At Dogrobes, we care for the safety of our dogs and their owners, that's why we recommend dogs are safely restrained in the car and have developed a harness opening in our product. This way, not only is your dog kept warm and dry wearing their Dogrobe and your car protected from muddy splashes, but you are committing to being a responsible driver.
Harness access openings are available as a customisations option on all new Dogrobes. (£5.95)