Many Australians are dog-lovers and want to take their canine friends everywhere they go. While we know not to ride in a vehicle without putting our seatbelts on, the question of what to do when travelling with dogs in the car is rarely addressed.
The laws regarding the safe travel of dogs vary between states and territories. The information in this post applies to Victorian traffic law. So if you are crossing the Victorian border, you’ll need to check the specific law for where your travels take you.
Travelling with dogs in the car falls under two realms of law:
- Road traffic laws.
- Animal welfare laws.
If you are checking the law in another state or territory, you’ll need to check with the local road traffic authority and the state RSPCA to get all the information.
Travelling with dogs – Safety first
Restraining a dog in the car is about the safety of the dog as well as the travelling passengers. The benefits of dog restraints include that the dog cannot move around the cabin and disrupt the driver, and if there’s an accident, the dog is less likely to be harmed or cause harm to others as a projectile.
Restraints for dogs are easy to find. Many dog restraints for the car simply latch onto a collar or harness and plug into the existing seatbelt or buckle.
In Victoria, there is no law that says a dog must be secured within a vehicle. However, Victorian traffic law prohibits a dog from travelling on the driver’s lap.
Other specific road rules include that you cannot drive while leading an animal or while an animal is tied to the vehicle.
Transporting a dog on a ute
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 prohibits a person from transporting an unsecured dog in or on a tray or trailer. The dog must be secured to prevent them from falling off or being injured within the tray or trailer.
While travelling with dogs is a great alternative to leaving them behind, you must take every care to maintain both the wellbeing of the animal and the safety of you and your passengers.
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