Driving With Your Dog In the Car | Top Tips For Travelling & Pet Restraints

Dogs are the perfect furry companions to accompany you on a car journey, whether it’s for a lengthy road trip or a quick coffee break at a local dog-friendly café. They are regularly seen as the cutest passengers on the road.

Although dogs are naturally loyal and obedient animals, they may become a distraction while driving. It is important to note that an unrestrained dog could be hazardous on the road. Failure to secure a pup in the vehicle may result in dangerous consequences for everyone involved.

Fortunately, this guide provides top tips for keeping man’s best friend safe when travelling. We’ve highlighted relevant road rules and information on the safest way to travel with a dog in car.

If you’re planning a road trip, why not consider reading our guide on the best dog food in South Africa to keep your buddy’s belly satisfied along the way.

Furry brown dog

Transporting Dogs In Cars Safely

Dogs are often seen as extended members of the family. So they wouldn’t want to be left behind when you’re heading out. Whether it’s an essential outing or a spontaneous adventure, the necessary procedures should be followed.

How To Travel With a Dog In Car – Preparing Your Pup

To ensure a pleasant and safe journey, the following steps should be taken into consideration when transporting dogs in cars:

  • Visit your local vet before hitting the long road to ensure that your puppy is in good health and ready for the road.
  • Ensure that they are comfortable with travelling as some dogs get motion sickness – this can be resolved by gradually increasing the length of trips until you can see they don’t affect your pup.
  • Make sure that they have a microchip, collar, and tag with your contact details
  • It is best to feed your dog in advance – preferably 3 hours before.
  • Pack a pet travel kit – with food, waste bags, water, bowls, grooming supplies, medication, health records, first-aid kit, and toys.
  • Ensure your pup is properly secured in the car – we’ll discuss this in more detail further on.
  • Prevent dogs from sticking their heads out of windows as it is unsafe and dries out their eyes.
  • Don’t forget about scheduling water and wee breaks!

Dog in passenger seat

Dog Travelling In Car Rules In South Africa

It is extremely important that drivers are not distracted by both human and animal passengers. According to South African regulation, there are several rules that both drivers and passengers should obey.

Driving With Dogs In the Car – Laws and Regulations

The relevant laws that apply when driving with pets include:

  • No driver on a public road should allow any persons, objects or animals to occupy a position that may prevent the driver’s full control over the vehicle’s directions and movements.
  • No driver on a public road should allow any persons or animals to occupy a place on top of a vehicle (e.g. sitting on the roof) whilst the vehicle is moving.

There is no official ‘leaving a dog in the car’ law. However, some steps to keep in mind include:

  • Only leave your dog unattended if it is absolutely necessary.
  • Make sure there is sufficient ventilation.
  • Keep the car doors locked.
  • If possible, it is best to park in the shade.

How To Secure Your Dog In a Car

Often, pets become disoriented when travelling. An unrestrained pet could come to be a distraction and danger when driving.

To prevent harming your furry fellow and others on the road, it is important to ensure that they are secured by employing adequate pet car restraint.

Best Way To Restrain a Dog In the Car

There are no official pet seat belt laws in South Africa, however, it is best to secure your dog with a seat belt or a harness. This will confine them and provide safety in the event of an accident.

Before buckling up, ensure that all passengers are secure. A dog in the car can be restrained with supportive pet travel seats, booster seats, padded safety harnesses, and seat belts. This will provide both protection and a comfortable ride.

Dog raising paw

5 Dog Restraints For Cars

Dogs are adored members of the family, and most love to tag along when travelling. To help you ensure a safe and comfy ride, we’ve listed the top dog restraints below.

1. Dog Harness

A harness attached to the seat belt is ideal for well-behaved dogs. Full-body harnesses provide security and limit movement during speed changes.

The harness has a strap that easily attaches to the seat belt of the vehicle. It’s an easy way to buckle your buddy in and ensure a secure, comfy ride.

2. Zipline Harness

The zipline harness is perfect for younger and active dogs. It is used in combination with the dog harness.

It keeps the dog from moving around which helps with settling down. Simply hook the zipline into the back of the passenger seat-belt tab. Tweak the seat belts to remove any slack and lock in position.

Dog with full-body harness

3. Backseat Barrier

Pet barriers provide a safe area in the car for animals and prevent them from distracting drivers. It is perfect for canines who want to enjoy the views. The barrier protects pets in cars from being thrown forward during speed changes or accidents.

When choosing a barrier, it is important to make sure that it will fit your vehicle. It comes with easy-to-follow instructions. Generally, it requires the guard to be bolted behind the car seats and locked to the inside of the roof.

4. Dog Crate

A dog crate is excellent for older, relaxed dogs. It provides the relaxing dog in car with safety, security, and comfortability.

Keep in mind both the size of the car and the pet when selecting the dog crate. Don’t forget to add a blanket and toy for extra comfort.

5. Plush Carry Box

Similar to a dog crate, the carry box is better suited for smaller pups. It is ideal for apprehensive dogs as it provides them with a view of their loving owners and surroundings.

It is best to use the carry box in conjunction with a harness. Once the harness is fitted to the dog, simply attach it to the carry box and place your pup on the back seat.

Dog in a car looking at the view

Last Thoughts On Driving With Dogs

As adoring pet parents, acting responsibly is vital in keeping your precious pup safe while travelling. It is important to take the necessary precautions to prevent harm to those present in the vehicle and on the roads.

Before buckling up your dog in a car, ensure that they are comfortable with being on the road. If you’re struggling with an anxious pooch, why not consider CBD oils and treats for dogs? For more information, check out our guide on the best CBD oil for dogs.

Happy dog with owner

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