So, what are the rules?
Interestingly while there is actually no official requirement to restrain your pets in a motor vehicle in the Australian Road Rules or the SA Road Traffic Act (but we highly recommend this for everyone’s safety), there is a rule that states you cannot drive with an animal on your lap and you also cannot lead an animal while driving. If you are the driver of a ute, the Dog and Cat Management Act of 1995 states you must restrain your dog if they are travelling in the back tray (unless you have a working dog in the process of tending to stock).
Despite these guidelines, it is worth a conversation with your insurance company to clarify if they require your animal to be restrained for claiming purposes. In our experience, some companies do require this but not all.
How do we achieve safe travel?
My own dogs, a Border Collie, and small Poodle, each have an Easy Walk Harness that has been carefully fitted and is able to be securely clipped into the car’s seatbelt attachment. This ensures the dogs do not become flying objects should an accident occur and they are less likely to be thrown around the vehicle. My dogs wear their harness while out walking and I connect them via a supplied attachment belt to the cars locking mechanism. This means the harness serves a double purpose!
Both dogs were taught at a young age to wear their harness but given that it seems comfortable it should not take any dog long to adapt to one. There are many different options for harnesses and if you pop into one of our clinics the team can show you the products on offer and help you fit your dog. Another alternative is to teach your dog to feel happy and safe in a crate and then fasten the crate secularly for the trip.
So now we have covered dogs, what about our feline friends?
For cats, travelling in their carry cage is usually the most comfortable and safe option. The crate can be placed on a seat and secured with the seat belt or placed in the footwell area. It is not recommended to travel with your cat outside their carry cage, we all know how persistent a cat can be when it doesn’t want to be held or kept in the same place for very long and this would be very distracting for the driver!
Cat carry cages can also be used to transport rabbits or birds, using the same technique (minus any water bowls).
It is important to note that other states in Australia may have different rules, so be sure to be aware of this before interstate travel.