Pets and Car Safety

Adults and children shouldn’t ride unrestrained, why would you allow your best friend to?

When you take your dog on a car ride, whether it be a trip to the beach or a long road journey, your pet has invested his trust in you to keep him safe.

The law varies from state to state throughout Australia, but we are of the belief that no matter where you live safety for your pet is a necessary consideration, not only for your pet but for you. Check your state government website for the legal requirements you need to abide by to avoid fines.

The NRMA reports ‘Our tests showed that an unrestrained pet sitting on the back seat of a car can hit the dashboard with enough force to cause serious injury, even at a collision speed below 20km/h,”

NRMA Insurance used weighted dog ‘dummies’ to test harnesses in 35km/h and 20km/h impacts. But 23 of the 25 popular harnesses tested failed because of the weak plastic buckles.  We can help to find you a safe car restraint for your dog.

Don’t put your cat or dog on your lap. One of the biggest hazards on the road are owners who insist Spot or Fluffy needs to be on their lap. Travelling with your pet on top of you not only endangers you and your dog, but also other motorists, as your response time reduces in an emergency. If an accident does occur and your dog runs out on the road, he becomes open to creating a second accident and also puts his life at risk. Have your cat loose in the car, and she may hide under your pedals! The force of a deployed airbag can also cause great harm to your pet.

Benefits of using Pet Restraints

  • Distraction – if you pet is not moving around your car, there is less chance of being distracted.
  • Window Safety – your dog is less inclined to jump or fall out of an open window.
  • Protection – if a collision was to occur your dog would not become a projectile.

Preventing dangers

Outside Vehicles

  • To maximise your dogs safety and comfort you can provide a secured cage that is adequate to their size to prevent cramping. Select a cage that has shelter, so your dog is protected from the elements of sun, wind and rain.
  • If you tether your dog, you will need to ensure the lead is long enough that it allows your dog to sit and lay down comfortably, but not so long as to allow your dog to reach the sides of the vehicle. A long tether can be dangerous, for if your dog falls or jumps from your vehicle he may be dragged or strangled.
  • If you are taking a long car journey take along food, water and a leash.
  • When you stop for a toilet break, or to exercise your pet make sure you clip him onto a lead for his safety.

Inside Vehicles

  • It is recommended to keep your dog inside the cabin of your vehicle. If your dog is going to be in the back seat, a restraint such as a Purina Roadie harness should be used to secure him and you can add a seat barrier for further protection.
  • Another option is to have your dog travel in the cargo area of a wagon type vehicle, behind a cargo barrier.
  • Your dog needs to be adequately restrained for the safety of whoever is travelling in the car.
  • Dogs should not travel with their head out of the window as debris in the air can enter your dogs ears, nose and eyes causing injury or infection.
  • Your cat should be restrained in a cat carrier on the floor to prevent sliding around the vehicle.
  • Never, ever leave an animal inside a car on a very cold or hot day. Hundreds of animals are killed every year in this way.


Just for Pets Pets Unleashed* Article published with permission of Just for Pets. Pets Unleashd is a member of the Just for Pets independent pet shops buying group