Orchard Vet's Blog

Restrain your pet!


Recent research has revealed that pet owners are failing to secure their animals when travelling in the car.

The research, conducted by Direct Line Pet Insurance and released last month, shows that over a fifth of vets have seen dogs die as a result of injuries sustained because they were travelling in a car without proper restraint, while many others have had to treat broken bones and minor injuries following an accident.

The Highway Code states that when dogs or other animals are travelling in a vehicle, they must be suitably restrained (Rule 57). Dogs can use a seat-belt/harness, but they and smaller animals can also be kept in a suitable crate/carrier.

However, there are good, common sense reasons for restraining your pet if carrying them in a car:

  • Firstly, any animal moving freely around a vehicle is likely to be a distraction to the driver and increase the risk of an accident.

  • Secondly and most obviously, in the event of a collision, your pet is likely to be severely injured.

  • They're also likely to hurt the occupants of the car by effectively becoming an unsecured projectile: according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, at 30mph a 50lb (22.5kg) dog would be thrown forward with a force equivalent to almost nine 12-stone men.

  • Finally, an injured or frightened animal is likely to be a threat to first responders, preventing them from helping injured passengers, and may cause another accident if it escapes - the owner will be liable for this secondary accident, but their insurance may not necessarily cover it. §