It may be a problem more closely associated with certain kinds of open top travel in warmer countries, but statistics published by welfare charity American Humane are a stark reminder to any owner who travels with a pet in their car.
In the UK it has been illegal to travel with an unrestrained pet in your car since 2017. Rule 57 of the Highway Code states, “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.”
A driver caught with an unrestrained dog, cat or other animal in the car is liable to be prosecuted and fined £2,500; they may also have penalty points added to their licence.
Car dealership Birchwood Group writes of the law that insurers may also invalidate cover for drivers who have an accident which is caused by a pet.
Tips for travel
What to do if you intend to travel
When travelling with a pet – especially on a long journey – you should provide sufficient water, bedding and ventilation. Journeying can be stressful for any animal; a dog, cat or guinea pig may vomit due to motion sickness, or may soil the car. Bear this in mind before you lose your rag: these are just the rigours of pet ownership!
Here are some other tips for travelling with your pet:
• A dog must be secured in a travelling car with a suitable dog harness.
• Dogs can be transported in the boot of a car as long as there is a fitted cage barrier in place.
• Dogs may travel unrestrained in a crate of suitable dimensions.
• Small animals should be transported in a crate or suitable pet carrier.
• A pet carrier or crate must also be secured.