Most people wouldn’t dream of driving without all of the people in the car being belted in – but a surprising number seem to think that the rules don’t apply to dogs.
Of course, legally, they are right – you do not have to put a harness on your dog when he or she is travelling in your car. On the other hand, dogs moving around in a moving car can be very distracting and dangerous.
Even if you can trust your dog to sit still while you are driving, what would happen if you were involved in a collision?
According to the RAC, in a 30mph collision, an unrestrained dog could be thrown forward “with the force of a small elephant”. The point is obvious, especially with large dogs. Think about an adult Labrador or Alsatian flying forwards in a head-on impact. They will either hit you – injuring you – or hit the windscreen, with potentially horrific consequences.
The recommended solution to this danger is to use a travel harness for your dog.
These harnesses strap around the dog’s body and clip into the seatbelt socket – preventing your dog from wandering around or from being thrown forwards in an accident.
It’s also worth remembering that dogs should travel in the back – if the front passenger airbag inflates, it could seriously injure your dog.
Cats, Birds & Other Pets
With the exception of dogs, most people transport their pets in suitable carrying boxes – cats are a good example.
In this case, you don’t have to worry about restraining the animal – but is still a good idea to think about strapping in the carrying container, unless it is in the boot section of an estate or hatchback car.
Flying objects are a major hazard in the event of a head-on collision – sometimes more so than the force of the collision itself.