Oct 16

Buckle Up, Pup: Tips for Canine Car Safety

 Back to blog
The other day, during my morning walk through the village, I witnessed something that truly concerned me.

It was a typical school drop-off scene: a busy mum with her kids in the car, ready for the school run. However, what caught my attention was the unrestrained dog in the car.

As one of the children hopped out of the front passenger seat, the dog, which had been casually travelling on the child's lap, decided to join the morning chaos. With a swift pickup, the dog was placed back inside the car, and off they went on their way.

It struck me that while nothing went wrong during that drop-off, this situation had "accident waiting to happen" written all over it.

The moment the dog hopped out of the car, it could have darted off, chasing another dog or spotting a cat, potentially putting itself at risk.

Equally concerning, when the dog returned to the car, it was completely unrestrained. Not only was it free to roam about the car, but it chose to perch on the driver's lap.

This was a relatively small dog, and the driver could still see over its head to drive. However, the potential for distraction was evident. A sudden jump onto the steering wheel or towards the window to get a better look could have easily obstructed the driver's view.

This incident highlighted the importance of following the rules when travelling with dogs in the car.

The Need for Canine Car Safety

The Highway Code, specifically Rule 57, emphasises the significance of suitably restraining dogs when travelling in a vehicle. These rules exist for everyone's safety, including passengers, drivers, the dogs themselves, and those on or near the road:

"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." - Highway Code 57

You might think your dog behaves exceptionally well on the backseat during car rides and has never needed restraint. However, it's not just about behaviour; it's about safety. In the event of a sudden stop or an accident, an unrestrained dog can become a projectile, posing a risk to passengers and the dog itself.

Keeping your dog safe in the car

1. Choose Suitable Restraints

Invest in the right safety equipment for your dog. Options include a dog car harness, a secure pet carrier, a dog cage, or a dog guard. These restraints are designed to keep your canine companion safe during the journey.

2. Size Matters

Ensure that the restraint you choose is appropriate for your dog's size. It should allow your dog to sit, lie down, and move comfortably but prevent them from wandering around the car.

3. Positive Experiences

Help your dog get accustomed to the restraint gradually. Make it a positive experience with treats and praise. Start with short trips to build familiarity.
Travelling with your dog is a delightful experience, but safety should always be a priority. By following the rules and using proper restraints, you can protect your furry friend and ensure a safe and enjoyable journey for all.
Created with