How to drive safely with pets on board

We explain how carry larger animals, such as dogs, in your car safely – including using a boot crate and seatbelt harness.

pets dogs in cars

Nearly a third of dog owners don’t secure their pets in the car safely. That’s according to a survey by Ford, which found 32 percent of drivers don’t harness their dogs or carry them inside a crate – mainly because the animals didn’t like being constrained.

Securing your dog in your car while driving is a legal requirement – and as important for your own safety as that of your pet.

One in four of those who let their dogs ride unsecured also said their four-legged friend has poked its head out of the window when driving.

Some owners even admitted their pet had jumped free of the car. Others said having a loose animal inside the vehicle had caused an accident. 

Driving with your dog in the car

pets dogs in cars

For carrying a dog – or any larger pet – the best solution is a crate or carrier in your boot. This way, the animal is safely contained and isolated from passengers inside the car.

“If you have a pet, please think of its safety in the same way you would about any other member of the family,” explains dog training expert, Graeme Hall – known as ‘The Dogfather’.

“I always carry my dog Lily in the boot in her crate. She can comfortably move around and everyone’s safe. I believe that’s the best solution.”

If your car doesn’t have a large enough boot, the other solution is a dog seatbelt harness. Most plug into an existing seatbelt buckle on the rear bench, then can be adjusted to suit the size of your dog.

Leashes that simply attach to your dog’s collar and the belt buckle are not a safe solution.

Don’t leave pets in your car

pets dogs in cars

This almost goes without saying, but it would be remiss of us not to offer a timely reminder: do not leave pets in a parked car.

Whatever the temperature outside, leaving your dog in a car for a long period of time is at best cruel and at worst, abuse.

Carry pets safely and only leave them inside the car for a long as strictly necessary.

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