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Driving with pets

Did you know there are laws on driving with pets? Break them and you could land yourself with a £5,000 fine. But don’t worry, our guide will tell you everything you need to know about driving with dogs and cats.  

Daniel Hutson From the Motor team
minute read

Laws on driving with dogs in the car

Lots of people drive with their dogs in the car, but did you know there are laws on transporting dogs in cars? If your pet isn’t secured with a restraint, you could be liable for a fine of up to £5,000.

A dog guard, cage, carrier or harness are all fine, but if you let your dog distract you by wandering around the car unrestrained, you could get a £100 fine for driving without due care and attention – as well as penalty points on your licence. And if you’ve caused an accident or endangered other drivers or pedestrians, the fine could be as much as £5,000.

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Plus, if your pet isn’t restrained and causes an accident, you may find that your insurance provider refuses to pay out. 

Here’s what the Highway Code says about driving with pets in the car: 

‘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.’ 

A guide to taking pets abroad

Planning on driving your dog or cat to Europe? Here’s what you need to know. 

  • Your dog needs to be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies and tapeworm – that’s the law. For full details, check the gov.uk website
  • You’ll also need a pet passport. You can pick this up from your vet.
  • Ferry companies like Brittany Ferries have a PETS Travel Scheme, which means you can take your dog to France or Spain.  
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  • Driving your pet to France? You’ll have to go via ferry or Eurotunnel. Pets need to stay in the car during the crossing, but can walk around the pet area. Unfortunately, only guide dogs are allowed on the Eurostar.
  • If your pet gets anxious in the car and you don’t want to drive them yourself, there are companies that specialise in transporting animals door-to-door throughout Europe.

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