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It’s hard not to smile when you see a dog sticking its head out of the window of a travelling car. They look so happy and carefree! But travelling with an unrestrained dog around Warwickshire is risky for them, you, and other drivers.

If you’re going to be out and about on the road in Warwickshire with your dog this summer, here are some things to consider to help keep everyone safe.

What does the law say?

Whilst it isn’t illegal to travel with an unrestrained dog, it’s not advisable:

“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.”

UK Highway Code, rule 57.

We recommend restraining your dog when travelling as it keeps them safe and secure in the unfortunate event of an accident. It also stops them distracting the driver by moving around the vehicle and blocking the view.

Select the right type of restraint for your dog

Acceptable vehicle restraints include a travel cage or carrier (good for small dogs and short journeys), or a specially designed harness or seat belt. If you choose a travel cage, this should be placed in the footwell of the front seat or secured with the seatbelt on the rear seat. Never put animals on the front seat of a car.

If using a harness, it should be properly fitted in the rear of the vehicle and secured with a seat belt. There should be sufficient room for your dog to comfortably move, but not so they can escape.

Large dogs may be more comfortable travelling in the boot of a hatchback car; a dog guard prevents them jumping over the headrests. Ensure your dog has plenty of space.

Make sure your dog is comfortable

Give your dog some home comforts for their travels; put blankets and their favourite toy in carriers or cages. If you’re going on a long journey, plan regular stops for water, snacks, toilet breaks and exercise. Be sure to keep your dog on a lead as they leave the vehicle; if they’re in an unfamiliar, busy place, they might panic and run away.

Regulate the temperature inside the car; don’t open windows too much or direct air conditioning onto your dog. Never leave your dog in a warm car. The temperature inside cars rises quickly, even on cooler days, which can lead to heatstroke, dehydration, and sometimes death. If your dog becomes distressed in a hot car, passers-by are encouraged to dial 999. The police will act to release your dog even if that means damaging your vehicle.

If your pet isn’t properly restrained in your car, it could invalidate both your car and pet insurance.

Happy travelling with your four-legged passengers!

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