How do I restrain my dog in the car?
The Highway Code from the UK Government states that “a seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars”. These are the safest and most appropriate ways to restrain your dog in the car, and it’s important to choose the restraint-type that suits you and your dog the best.
Dogs should never be restrained just by their collar while in the car.
Dog guards are fitted to your vehicle between the back of the seats and the boot. This keeps your dog within the boot if you put them there, and prevents them climbing over the seats. This is a similar premise to using a crate, but because boots are generally more spacious, dog guards work more to protect car passengers than the dog or dogs themselves.
Seat Belt Harness
A harness fits around the chest and neck, and should fit well – You should be able to get two fingers between your dog and the harness. Harnesses should also be comfortable. Padding will be important in a crash, but you also want your dog to feel happy in the car, and making sure they are comfortable for journeys will help them enjoy car rides.
Once your dog is fitted with the harness, car harnesses then fit into your car’s seatbelt fittings. For very small dogs you can also use specialised dog booster seats, but your dog must always still be directly restrained, not just placed in the seat. A harness is generally considered to be the best and safest choice of restraint.
Especially for crate trained dogs, a dog crate can be an option for travel, although crates are large and can be unwieldy – it’s important to have enough space for one! Crates need to be secure within the car, and your dog can then sit within the crate for travel. Crates need to be big enough that your dog can stand up, lie down and turn around comfortably but they shouldn’t be too big