Animal Friends Blog
This year, the summer holidays are a little different to what we are used to. Some holidays have been cancelled, flights have changed, restrictions are in place and the idea of staycations doesn’t seem so bad right now, even with our unpredictable weather.
The best thing about these UK getaways is that our dogs can come with us and join in on the fun. Whether you’ve booked a mid-week break, a weekend getaway or you’re simply heading out on a day trip, you’ll need to know the laws around travelling safely with your dog.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
What are the laws around dogs travelling in cars?
Under Rule 57 of the Highway Code, dogs must be suitably restrained when travelling in the car. This is so that they can’t distract you while you drive or injure you, or themselves if you had to stop quickly.
This means, using a dog crate or dog guard when your dog is in the boot or a seatbelt harness when they’re going to be travelling on the seats instead.
While there is no penalty for breaking the Highway Code, you could still be pulled over for driving without due care and attention which could result in penalty points on your license and a fine.
If you are involved in an accident, having a dog loose in the car or allowing it to distract you could be considered when deciding fault.
How do I pick the right restraint for my dog?
Crates, carriers and guards
If your dog is trained to use a crate, is used to being in a pet carrier or just prefers free reign of a boot then one of these might be a good option for your pooch.
You’ll be able to find a variety of different crates and carriers online and in local shops that will suit most dogs, but make sure it fits your car before buying!
You’ll want to make sure the crate is large enough so that your dog is able to sit comfortably and it can be padded out by their bed.
When considering a dog guard, which acts as a partition between the boot and the rest of the car, you’ll need to make sure it fits your car properly.
Harness and seatbelt
Using a harness and seatbelt on your dog allows them to sit on the chairs with everyone else and allows you to use the boot for baggage. There are different harnesses and dog seatbelts sold online and in pet shops, with something for every dog regardless of breed or size.
These harnesses usually have a strap where the car seatbelt is fed through or a purpose-bought dog belt can be clipped on, but different designs attach differently, allowing owners to pick the one that’s right for their dog.
Once your dog is secured, always make sure to check on them during your journey to make sure they’re not trying to chew their safety restraint.
If you’re worried about your dog falling into the footwells, there are hammocks that you can buy to stop them from slipping off the seat. These are available in different sizes, allowing other passengers to sit next to the dog without a hammock blocking their legroom.
Otherwise, using cushions or bedding can help block the footwells.
Dog safety around roads
If you walk your dog next to a road, rule 56 of the Highway Code states:
“Do not let a dog out on the road on its own. Keep it on a short lead when walking on the pavement, road or path shared with cyclists or horse riders.”
This will not only keep those around you safe, but it helps keep you and your do out of harm’s way, too.
So, whether you’re staying local this summer or jumping in the car to drive to a seaside town or country retreat, make sure you follow the rules about dogs in cars and beside roads.
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