Australia is a nation of dog lovers. There’s an estimated 4.6 million dogs in Australia, which is about 1 dog for every 5 people.
So when it comes to travelling around Australia by car, pet owners not only have to consider themselves, but also their furry friends.
However what’s not common knowledge is that when driving with your pets, it’s illegal to have them unrestrained in the car.
There are more than 5000 reported injuries to pets each year as a result of them being unrestrained in a vehicle.
The State Governments have also been cracking down on drivers that aren’t following the rules by issuing fines and a loss of demerit points.
In NSW in particular motorists face the loss of three demerit points and fines of more than $400 if they are found to be driving with a pet on their lap. Those numbers are even higher if you’re caught in a school zone.
And what’s worse, if you’re found to have injured a pet because it was unrestrained in your car while driving, you face fines of up to $5500 and even 6 months jail time.
So as a dog lover, what can you do to ensure both you and your dog are safe?
There are a range of different options to keep your dog secured and out of harm’s way.
-Doggy Seat Belts
There are a few different variations of seat belts and car restraints for dogs. Depending on the size and breed of dog, some might be more suitable than others.
A dog harness simply attaches to the seat belt buckle and allows dogs to sit on the seat either on the passanger side of the car or in the back seat. These are great for dogs that are more relaxed and travel well in cars. They are also easy to attach to the seat belt and the dog’s harness or collar.
A zipline style attachment fit over the seat and is good for smaller dogs that like to move around alot. It’s a more secure attachment and allows for a range of motion. Most suited to small anxious dogs.
-Crates & Carry Boxes
Both crates and carry boxes are a good way to transport your dogs if you need them out of the way.
Dogs who are left in crates regularly should have no problem travelling in a crate. However if your dog roams free at home then it’s likely that the crate might cause them a little anxiety when in the car.
For smaller dog a plush carry box is a good option. They fit to the seats or seat belts and are comfortable – just like their beds at home.
Larger dogs who need a bit of extra space might well be suited to a dog hammock. The hammock sets up between the back and front seats, so bigger dogs can lay down and not fall off the seats.
The hammock also prevents the dogs from getting into the front and distracting the driver.
Remember the point of keeping your dog restrained is to reduce distraction to the driver and protect the dog in the event of an accident or when braking sharply.
Cheap Car Insurance recently looked at some of the main times accidents occurred, and two of the leading times where after school pickups. A time when the dog might very well be in the car.
Saturday mornings were another prime time families like to take their dogs out to play and the worst time to be on the roads on weekends.
Cheaper Car Insurance
Reducing the risk of an accident by securing your dog, not only protects you, but it will likely reduce your car insurance premiums when you’re able to access a no claim bonus for your good driving habits.
Remember Car Insurance Providers reward safe drivers and it’s much easier to drive safely without your dog on your lap.