Rules on Driving with Dogs

Many of us drive with our canine counterparts in hand at least occasionally, whether it’s to the vet or bringing them on holiday. However, there are some things to keep in mind and some items that will keep both of you safe and content on the journey, regardless of whether you have a well-established driving routine or are new to having a pet passenger.

We’ve put together a checklist of the essentials so that you can check you have everything you need to journey worry-free. But first, here’s a recap of what’s allowed, and what’s not, when your good joins you on a drive.

The Rule

Driving with Dogs

Can you drive a car while carrying a dog? Sure. Do you have to follow any rules when doing this? Definitely.

When describing how to handle travelling with a pet, the Highway Code is blunt.

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.

Highway Code Rule 52

Don’t get Distracted

One minute of distraction on the roadways can result in a major accident since even a calm animal can react to anything unanticipated. If you’re found to be at fault for a reckless or careless driving event, you could face fines, points being added to your licence, or even worse.

Avoid potential Injury

When we crash, we use seatbelt laws to prevent ourselves from flying forward; dogs also benefit from this. Your dog could damage itself or other passengers in the car if you brake suddenly or round a bend a bit too hastily.

Do

  • Secure your dog, ideally in the boot or backseat.
  • Feed them a few hours before leaving.
  • On long journeys, pause frequently for comfort stops.

Don’t

  • Let your dog get too hot (use cracked windows, air con and water to avoid this)
  • Let them lean their heads out the window, where they could get hit by flying objects.
  • Leave them unlocked when you are driving.

Driving with dogs: car accessories

You have a few options when it comes to following the rules, maintaining total focus on the roads, and ensuring everyone’s safety. You can choose between a mesh boot guard, a secured cage or carrier, or a seat belt that is clipped into a harness.

Seat restraints

Crate & Carriers

This carrier doubles as a car seat for puppies or small dogs, making it ideal for trips to the vet or longer travels. Mess is not a problem because of the washable bedding and water-resistant foam lining, and the enclosed sides prevent your pet from feeling overwhelmed.

Beddings

Clean Car

Dogs are just as horrible as kids at keeping your car clean, but there are a few things you can do to stop or deal with the eventual filth-fest. Use this 3-in-1 waterproof cover to protect your chairs from hair, mud, and drool. You can also use it to keep your dog comfortable and relaxed by converting it into a hammock. Even on the bumpiest journeys, the seat anchors and slip-proof backing of the material keep it firmly in place.

This list should cover most your travel needs for your dog, whether you’re considering buying a puppy, training your current dog, or have owned a dog for a while.

Disclosure: The links above are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalise a purchase.

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About the author
Francis Quarm

My name is Francis Quarm, the founder of FQ Driving Academy. Although I don't teach anymore, I'm still very much interested in all things driving and with my resource website I aim to help those on their driving journey of learning.