The Law on Dogs Traveling In Cars: 4 Things You Must Know

The Law on Dogs Traveling In Cars: 4 Things You Must Know

Research suggests that lots of pet owners fail to properly secure their pets before setting off on a car journey.

There are a number of vets who state that some pet owners even use improper restraints. This may cause injury or death to dogs if you are ever involved in a car crash.

Driving with your dog requires careful planning and if you’re not sure what to do, then read on.

So what exactly is the law on dogs traveling in cars? Depending on the state that you live, the rules will differ slightly. However, fundamentally,  the rules and regulations to keep your pet safe while on the road are similar across all states.

The precautions that you take before setting off on your journey should ensure that everyone inside the car is fine and reach their destinations safely.

While most of the laws pertaining to pet safety while on the road are common-sense guidelines, there are few other things you should know about securing your pet while he is inside your car.

Is it illegal for dogs to be in the front seat?

Dog in Front Seats

You’ve probably wondered whether it’s a good idea to put your dog in the front seat while driving? If you have, then you’re not alone.

Many pet parents have pondered on it, and truthfully, it’s a bad idea to have your pet sitting in the front seat while you are driving.

Here are a few reasons why.

The truth is accidents do happen, and they happen quite fast.

Hundreds of pets are killed or injured every year in car accidents because pet owners refuse to exercise precaution while taking the dogs along with them.

While you may be tempted to take these precautions lightly, when having a pet inside your car, you should always remember to put their safety first.

A dog sitting in the front seat is indeed at as much risk of collision during an accident as another human being sitting in that same spot.

So ensure you use proper restraint designed for your furry friend.

More often than not, parents tend not to buckle up their pets or harness them in any way while inside the vehicle.

You wouldn’t actually let your friend or your child ride inside the car without a seatbelt, so you shouldn’t take that risk with your dog.

Not buckling up your pet increases the likelihood that in the event that a collision does occur, your dog will be thrown through the windshield or around the car.

This could cause greater injury to your pet and also any other passengers riding in the vehicle too.

The sad reality is that in the past puppies have been known to exit a vehicle after a crash and be thrown into oncoming traffic.

Trauma and confusion of a collision are terrifying to human beings, and how much so to an animal.

So simply taking the precautions to harness your pet will help prevent them from being injured or worse losing their life.

Is it a law for dogs to wear seatbelts?

Dog Seat Belts

Although pets can distract drivers more than a third of people who travel with a pet in their car are unaware of the laws surrounding pet safety on the road.

If you are not securing your pet while driving, it is clearly dangerous and against the law.

So seatbelts and restraints are the law and safeguard your pet in the event of an accident. 

If it is found that your pet was not restrained during the journey, it will probably affect your insurance policies. 

If you are found to have broken the law pertaining to dogs and are ever in an accident, your insurance claim may be delayed OR denied altogether.

Dogs are the most likely pets to be found in the passenger seat, and other people prefer to take along their cats, rabbits, and so on.

So the next time you are thinking of driving with the pet in your car, make sure that you have the proper restraints, so your pet is safely secured inside your vehicle.

Perhaps one of the most important reasons why pets need to be wearing a seatbelt when you are driving is that they can tend to cause a distraction not just for your pets and yourself but everyone else inside that vehicle.

So due to this fact,  there are strict laws and regulations pertaining to you having your dog restrained and secured while driving inside the car with you.

Does a dog have to be restrained in a car?

Restrained in Car

Your pet’s comfort is always important when they are traveling with you.

However, their safety is equally important if not more.

There are laws pertaining to the restraint of dogs in vehicles, and they vary from one state to another.

However, they are covered by the Road Traffic Authority, and therefore, you must comply.

Reasons to Restrain Your Dog in a Car

Avoid distraction: If your dog cannot move around at will inside the car, there is less chance of them distracting you and taking your focus off the road.

Safer for other passengers: If your dog is not restrained and you meet in an accident, other passengers will be hurt as the dog is thrown around inside the car

It’s safer for your pet: Although a seatbelt or restraint is not a guarantee that your dog will be protected in an accident, it will significantly increase your pet’s chances of survival.

Restraining your dog in a Moving vehicle is the difference between life and death.

According to animal shelters, approximately 5,000 dogs are either killed or injured by jumping out of a moving vehicle each year.

An unrestrained dog can cause serious harm to the driver, itself, and the other passengers if a collision occurs.

Police are able to issue demerit points and a fine if you do not restrain your pet. It’s also against the law to have a dog on your lap while driving.

Dogs on the back of utes must also be harnessed and restrained by a tether behind a cargo barrier. This must be done to prevent it from falling off the tray while the vehicle is moving.

So with that said, here are some tips for keeping your pet safe while driving:

Car harnesses are one of the most common and popular options amongst pet restraints.

This is simply because they are easy to use, and they attach straight to the seatbelt, which makes the process simple and convenient.

Ensure that you measure your dog, so he is a right fit, and he’s comfortable in the harness.

Pet carriers are another great option for keeping your pets safe while on the road.

However, some things to be aware of when choosing a carrier for your pet is that there should be enough room for your animal to turn around and lie down in a natural position.

It’s never a good idea to keep a pet in the front seat since the passenger seat airbag could cause an injury and worse death in the event of an accident.

So always keep your pet in the backseat.

If budget is not an issue for you, then you should consider a pet booster seat.

This is essentially a comfy box that attaches to the seat of the car and keeps the back seat fur-free since your dog doesn’t have to sit directly on the car seat.

What to do when your dog is nervous while traveling?

Car Anexity Dogs

Dogs are great travel companions; however, before you head off, there are a few things you can do to make their trip more pleasant.

Some dogs get anxious in a vehicle. They tend to pant and find it difficult to settle down. Some pets may even vomit during the car ride.

These are symptoms of anxiety and car sickness.

Thankfully, you can help your dog feel calmer and enjoy the trip.

In most cases, if your dog feels scared when jumping into the car, it is only because they associate the car trip with a visit to the vet, and dogs usually don’t enjoy vet visits.

Alternatively, you may have been involved in a car accident before and your dog was with you, so this now triggers feelings of anxiety and worry in your dog when he has to get into the car.

The best way to ensure that he overcomes these fears is to acclimatize him to riding in the vehicle. The younger your pooch is, the better.

Ensure that he gets used to riding in a vehicle from the time he is a puppy.

Also, allow him to associate the car trip with peace and pleasantness.

So drive slowly and be aware of his reactions as much as possible.

Related Questions

Some related question:

What are suitable restraints for dogs in cars?

Car harnesses are the most suitable restraints for our dog.

It is made especially for dogs and attaches to our cars seatbelt.

Pet booster seats are also restraints designed for dogs riding in cars.

What does the law say about restraining your pet in your vehicle?

Dog Restrained in Cars

You may be issued with a fine in the event you are in an accident and found to have an unrestrained dog inside the vehicle, that made you lose control of the car.

What are the dangers of having an unrestrained dog in your car?

An unrestrained dog can distract you and make you lose control of your vehicle.

In the event of a collision, the dog may be thrown around and injure other passengers.

Ultimately, the dog may be seriously injured or lose its life in the event of an accident.

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