With the sales of dogs increasingly rapidly over the past year and little opportunity to take your four-legged friend out and about, it is likely that many first time owners may not be aware of the guidelines when travelling with a dog in the car.

With lockdown rules easing and adventures with your pet on the horizon, Lockers have put together three simple steps to make sure you are securing your dog properly to avoid running into trouble or causing an accident.

A spokesperson at Lookers said: “With more people than even buying pets we are keen to ensure that drivers know how to safely transport dogs in cars.

"There are several important considerations to be aware of to keep both drivers and pets safe, especially if people are planning staycations within the UK during the summer months.”

Here are three top tips for avoiding fines and keeping safe when travelling with your dog. 

Secure your dog

Rule 57 of the Highway Code dictates that dogs or other animals are suitable restrained when they are in the vehicle.

Some insurers require your pet to be secured whilst driving therefore if you were to have an accident caused by an unsecured dog leading to a lapse in due care and attention, you may be liable so it’s best to check your policy first.

If you are seen to be driving with an unrestrained pet in the car you run the risk of incurring three to nine penalty points or a fine of £200. Suitable methods of keeping your pets secured in the car include:

  • Travel carriers or crates that will keep your dog secure in one area of the car.
  • A harness that attaches to the seat belt of the car, preventing your dog from roaming freely around the vehicle. Remember to switch off the air bags if you choose to travel with your dog in the front seat of the car.
  • A boot gate to stop your dog climbing into the main body of the car.

Keep the windows clear

Most dog owners will know that after a particularly energetic walk, your dog’s panting can lead to windows becoming steamed up.

Similarly, a large dog sitting in the wrong place may obscure your vision. However, rule 229 of the Highway code requires drivers to be able to see out of all windows.

Failure to comply with this rule could lead to a fine of up to £200 or points on your license for careless driving.

Be safe in warm weather

You should never let your pet lean out of the window, this can cause serious accidents and even death.

If you think your dog might be too warm, roll down the windows a little, however, this should never be wide enough for your dog to stick its entire head out. Never leave your dog alone in a warm vehicle as they can become dehydrated very quickly, leading to heat stroke.

Leaving a window open or parking in the shade is often not enough, therefore the police have powers to break into cars to rescue dogs they believe are at risk.

If you are travelling for long distances in warm weather, take regular breaks to let your dogs out of the car and to give them some water.

Wondering what is the best car for both dogs and owners? This blog post from Lookers gives their expert selection.