Seatbelts & Your Pet

Did you know that driving safely with an animal on board is a legal requirement?

Drivers who do not restrain their dogs and cats whilst in a vehicle are not only breaking the law, they could also see their car insurer not paying out if they were involved in an accident.

It is common to see dogs with their heads poking out of a window to get some fresh air, but this is dangerous, illegal and could invalidate your pet and/or car insurance. They could get grit or other objects in their eyes and could injure themselves if they are unrestrained and the driver has to stop suddenly.

According to the Highway Code, drivers need to ‘make sure that dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so that they cannot distract you whilst you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop too quickly’.

If an animal roaming freely around the vehicle is said to have contributed to causing an accident, then an insurance company could be well within their rights not to pay out on a claim.

Driving With Pets & The Law

The law recommends a seatbelt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or guard as ways of restraining your pet while driving. For cats, small animals and small dogs, a pet carrier offers the best protection and ensures that your animal can’t distract you whilst you’re driving. Make sure the carrier is safely secured in case you turn a corner sharply or have to brake suddenly. Put in a blanket and add a favourite toy to make it more appealing for your pet.

For larger animals such as big dogs, a carrier might not be appropriate. Instead you could consider a restraining harness, which can be attached to the car seatbelts to keep your dog safe.

These are available in the reception area of some of our practices, and our team can advise on the right one for your dog.