There’s nothing better than getting out on the open road, the wind through your hair, your favourite tunes blaring through the speaker system and of course bringing your favourite furry friend along for the ride.
Utter the words “dog” and “car” and you instantly conjure up images of your best furry mate with his (or her) head out the window and tongue lolling out in the wind. However, when it comes to road safety, there are a lot of things you need to be aware of when you travel with your dog in the car. Which is why, as part of Sunshine Toyota’s SAFETY MONTH we’re sharing with you our top tips for travelling safely with pets.
SOURCE: Criminal Defence Lawyers
But first what are the rules and what are the penalties?
The penalties are different state by state but in QLD driving with an unrestrained pet can mean upwards of $400 in fines (and possible demerit points). An unrestrained dog on the back of a ute can be considered an unsecured load, which means penalties of up to $2,669 may apply if you don't comply. Ouch!
So let's break it down:
- A driver must not drive with an animal in their lap
- A motorbike rider can’t have an animal between the handlebars and the rider
- All animals need to be seated or housed in an appropriate area of the vehicle
- Dogs on utes need to be properly restrained via a tether or a cage so that the dog cannot fall or be injured when the vehicle moves
- A driver, motorbike rider, bicycle rider or passenger must not lead an animal when the vehicle is moving
So now that we know the rules & the penalties, here are our top tips for travelling safely with pets:
1. Get your dog used to car travel
The best way to do this is to reduce stress levels for your pup and associate positive feelings with the car. If your dog usually only travels to go to the vet, then they’ll be anxious whenever coming near the car.
Start by taking smaller trips around town and make sure you give them lots of love, treats and cuddles. If you’re really struggling, you can provide your pup with a variety of fun toys & treats that they only get when they go in the car – positive feelings indeed!
2. Car sickness is a real thing!
Dogs, and puppies, in particular, are prone to car sickness. Puppies will generally grow out of it, however, if it becomes an ongoing issue its probably worth mentioning to your vet. Relieving your furry friends stress about car travel (see step 1) can also assist with minimising car sickness!
SOURCE: Sarah's Pet Sitting Online
3. Keeping your dog properly restrained
Let’s talk restraints! You wouldn’t get into your car without strapping on a seat belt so why should your pup? If your dog is unrestrained, they could move around the car and become a distraction to you while driving – or worse become airborne in the event of a car accident.
There are a few options available for securing your furry friend in the car:
- Travel-safe crates or booster seats are a great way to go for puppies
- Dog car harnesses are much better for bigger dogs
We recommend keeping dogs (like kids) in the back seat of your car, or in the boot of an SUV or station wagon for their safety. Utes can be a tricky matter, we always recommend keeping your pup in the cabin – as trays can become quite hot in the summer months and burn your poor puppies’ paws, particularly steel trays!
4. Be safe around windows
We all love the wind in our hair and your canine friend will likely love it too but it's incredibly unsafe for dogs to put their noses (or paws) outside the window of a moving car. A good option is to leave the window open enough to allow air circulation but closed enough that no doggy body parts can escape!
SOURCE: Dog Time
5. Pack a canine-friendly travel bag
For particularly long road trips make sure you pack a doggy travel bag filled with things your dog might need for the drive (like you’d pack for kids). The main thing to consider is that you have plenty of food & water for your dog as well as treats to keep them happy and a lead for stops during the trip. Making regular stops is also important so your dog can stretch their legs, go to the bathroom and drink some water.
6. Never leave your dog unattended in the car
It goes without saying but sadly unattended dogs die in hot cars every year. According to the RSPCA they receive over 1000 calls about animals being left in cars via their 1300 ANIMAL hotline, you could lose your best mate in just 6 minutes!
So there you have it, our top tips for keeping your dog safe in the car!
Safety Month at Sunshine Toyota
It's safety month here at Sunshine Toyota! Throughout this month we'll be sharing tricks and tips just like this to help you stay safe and ensure your vehicle is in top condition.
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