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You Could Be Fined £5,000 For Not Strapping Your Dog Into Your Car Properly

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You Could Be Fined £5,000 For Not Strapping Your Dog Into Your Car Properly

The recent lockdowns have set dog adoptions soar, with millions of people deciding to invest in a furry friend after the coronavirus pandemic forced people to remain at home.

However, as lockdown restrictions are now starting to ease, more and more of us are going to start travelling in our cars - and we'll be bringing our pet doggos with us, naturally.

We're likely to be travelling more with our pups (Credit: Unsplash)
We're likely to be travelling more with our pups (Credit: Unsplash)

But there's far more to travelling with pups than just bunging them in the back seat and hoping for the best - and worryingly, studies have shown nearly two-thirds of UK motorists are unaware that driving with an unrestrained pet could lead to a fine of up to £5,000.

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Yep, while those cinematic shots of dogs hanging their heads out the car window with their tongue flopping out are funny, letting your dog do the same is in breach of Rule 57 of the Highway Code - which stipulates that pets need to be properly restrained in the vehicle.

Disobeying the Highway Code itself does not carry a direct penalty, however, it does put drivers at risk of a £1,000 fine if pulled over by the police for driving "without proper control" of their vehicle.

That could be stepped up to failing to drive with due care and attention (careless driving) which carries a maximum fine of £5,000 and nine penalty points if the case goes to court.

Dogs need to be kept secure while travelling (Credit: Unsplash)
Dogs need to be kept secure while travelling (Credit: Unsplash)
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Dog welfare charity Dogs Trust urge pet owners to ensure their do are kept in a properly-fitting seat-belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage, or in the boot behind a dog guard. These need to be properly fitted to ensure your dog cant get loose and interfere with whoever may be behind the wheel. Some car makes have bespoke options for pets, which can be checked online.

Dogs Trust also advise drivers to keep their pets cool and calm while driving, leaving a non-slip bowl for dogs to drink from and breaking up longer car journeys with short walks. With warmer summer weather beckoning, the charity says drivers should avoid making their journey at the hottest part of the day - and to never leave a pet on their own in vehicle, even for just a brief amount of time.

Dogs should be trained to wait before getting in or out the car (Credit: Pexels)
Dogs should be trained to wait before getting in or out the car (Credit: Pexels)

Dogs Trust says it's important to keep your dog calm and ensure that it is paying attention to you before they get in or out of the car. Allowing your dog to exit the vehicle immediately after you stop could cause them to expect this each time you stop, which could prove to be dangerous in the long run - and could see your dog injured.

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Dogs should ideally be taught to wait for you to attach their lead properly before being allowed to carefully exit the car, and owners should keep a lead close to hand in case they need to exit the vehicle quickly in emergencies.

A Dogs Trust spokesperson said: "When lockdown restrictions lift, one of the things dog owners may be looking forward to is a road trip with their canine companion, to go somewhere further afield for walkies.

More of us will be travelling when restrictions ease (Credit: Unsplash)
More of us will be travelling when restrictions ease (Credit: Unsplash)

"Not all dogs love travelling in the car, so please be aware of this before embarking on a trip. If you're unsure, avoid journeys while you seek the guidance of an experienced behaviourist. If you know your four-legged friend enjoys a car ride, it's important to make sure they are safe, comfortable and feel confident."

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Dogs Trust also advises that should you see a distressed dog in a vehicle, always call 999.

Featured Image Credit: Unsplash

Topics: Dog, UK News, Pets, travel, Animals, Dogs

Kimberley Bond
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