Riding in Cars with Dogs

15 November 2021

Planning a road trip with your family and four-legged friend over the holiday break? To ensure a safe and relaxed trip for the whole family you should be aware of the rules around travelling in vehicles with pets and have some plans in place to improve safety for you and your dog.

While there are no official statistics in Australia, the Animal Emergency Service estimates that 5000 dogs are injured in vehicle accidents every year. A Kurgo/AAA Study in the United States found:

  • Nearly 6 in 10 people have driven with their dog in a vehicle at least once a month over the past year
  • 84% of people bring their dogs on car trips but do not use a restraint
  • 3 in 10 people admit to being distracted by their dog while driving
  • 65% of dog owners admit to engaging in at least one potentially distracting activity while driving with their dog.

The rules on travelling in vehicles with dogs can be found on the Queensland Government website here. The rules vary depending on the type of vehicle, for example, dogs riding in the tray of trucks or utes must be restrained. The road rules say that when travelling outside a vehicle in the tray or in a trailer, dogs are classified as a load and must be safely restrained. You can find out more about transporting dogs in utes on the QLD Government website here.

When a dog is travelling inside a vehicle, it is an offence to drive with an animal in your lap or to drive when you don’t have proper control of your vehicle. Queensland road rules recommend animals travelling inside vehicles be restrained in some way for the safety and welfare of the animal and the occupants, but the road rules do not specifically require an animal to be restrained while travelling inside a vehicle.

While travelling inside or in the tray of a ute, it is considered safest for dogs to be kept inside a secured cage or crate, so that in the event of an accident the dog cannot be thrown as far. If your dog is sitting on a seat inside a car, then they need to be secured (using a special clip/lead) using the seat belt to prevent them from injury in the event of an accident. These clips should never be clipped to a collar as this could strangle a dog during an accident. A harness should be used to secure your dog with a special seatbelt clip. We have harnesses and seatbelt clips available for purchase in-store at Paddington Pups. Ask our friendly team for further information about the products we have available or any questions you have regarding safety measures when travelling with your dog.

Whether it’s a road trip over the holidays or a short trip to the shops or to Paddington Pups, it’s important to have measures in place to ensure the safety of you and your dog whilst travelling together in vehicles.

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