As a dog owner, ensuring your furry friend is safe and secure when travelling with you in a vehicle is essential. Regarding car safety, one of the most commonly asked questions is whether dogs can sit in the front seat of a car in the UK. In this article, we will answer whether dogs can sit in the front seat of a car, and explain the dos and don’ts of travelling in the car with your dog. Continue reading to find out!
Can Dogs Sit in the Front Seat?
Can dogs sit in the front seat? Yes, dogs can travel in the front of the car, but you must make sure to deactivate the airbag on the passenger’s side and adjust the seat as far back as you can.
Driving with your dog in the front passenger seat of your car is not against the law, but you still run the danger of getting into trouble, paying a fine, or worse. Before starting their trip, drivers should be aware of the regulations of animal transportation. Driving while your pets are uncontrolled in the vehicle is prohibited.
The Law On Travelling in the Car with Your Dog
When a car is moving, pets should wear a harness or seat belt precisely like people do, otherwise, you run the risk of receiving hefty fines and having your automobile and pet insurance both declared invalid. The Highway code regarding animals states that:
“Make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves if you stop quickly.”
If you are obeying the rules and are not operating your vehicle recklessly, you cannot be punished for having a dog in the front passenger seat. However, no matter where your pet is in the car, failing to restrain them might result in a £5,000 fine.
The Do’s and don’t of Travelling in the Car with Your Dog
Here are some do’s and don’ts for driving with your dog in the front seat:
- Protect your dog with a seat belt, or a crate
- Make regular halts for your dog to use the toilet
- Carry enough water for your dog to rehydrate itself
- Carry motion sickness medicines if you think your dog might get sick during the journey
- Bring along its favourite toys to reduce travel-related anxiety
- Allowing your dog to hang their head outside the window
- Feeding your dog before travelling increases the chance of motion sickness
- Leaving your dog alone in the car- this is very risky as your dog may overheat which can be fatal
- Leaving the passenger airbag on if they’re travelling in the front seat.
How Should You Transport Your Dog in the Car?
If you feel that the front seat is not safe for your dog, then there are other methods through which your dog can travel along with you in the car. It’s important that you pick a solution that’s comfortable and suitable for your pet, and that the device is attached to the car securely.
Putting your dog in a crate will keep them safe and sound in the car. A high-quality crate offers a dog a decent amount of space to sit or lie down in, so your dog can comfortably travel along with you.
2. Dog Harness:
A dog harness can simply fit onto your pet and clip into place (rear-seat seat belt), making it safe for your pet to sit.
A pet carrier is a portable and light alternative to a crate and is generally used for smaller-breed dogs.
4. Boot Gate/Gaurd:
A boot gate protects your dog and passengers from harm during an accident. It is safest for everyone concerned if you combine the use of the dog guard with a dog car harness or a dog car crate, to minimise the amount they’ll be moved around in an accident.
It’s completely legal to take your pet in the car with you, so long as you have your dog restrained, and not letting them stick their head out of the window, you cannot be fined.
As Rule 57 of the Highway Code states ‘When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly.
Dog owners can be fined a hefty amount of £5000 fine for letting their dog stick its head out the window under strict Highway Code rules
According to the Rule 57 of the Highway code; when in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.
So, can dogs sit in the front seat? Absolutely yes, there are no laws that prohibit dogs from sitting in the front seat of a car in the UK. However, it’s crucial to ensure that your dog is safe and secure when travelling in a vehicle. This includes deactivating the airbag on the passenger side, securing your dog using a harness or crate, or using a suitable barrier to prevent your dog from interfering with the driver. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your dog is safe and comfortable when travelling in a vehicle, and you can avoid potential accidents or injuries.
- Kilshaw, D. (2021, July 30). How to travel in the car with your dog. Animal Trust. Retrieved February 20, 2023, from https://www.animaltrust.org.uk/blog/how-to-travel-in-the-car-with-your-dog/
- Munbodh, E. (2019, July 25). Why driving with your dog in the car could land you a £5,000 fine. Mirror. Retrieved February 20, 2023, from https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/pet-dog-car-seatbelt-rules-13458389
- Snapper, T. (2012, October 3). Driving with your dog could be distracting. The Snapper. Retrieved February 20, 2023, from https://thesnapper.millersville.edu/index.php/2012/10/03/driving-with-your-dog-could-be-distracting/
- Schamble, M. (2021, February 16). How to Keep Your Dog Safer in the Car. American Kennel Club. Retrieved February 20, 2023, from https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/dog-seat-belts-what-you-need-to-know-to-keep-your-dog-safe/