How to keep pets safe while driving

RSPCA is reminding pet owners to keep their animals safe while driving. Picture: SUPPLIED

Police are reminding people to keep their animals safe while driving to their destination.

Laws in Victoria prohibit driving with an animal on your lap while a driver or passenger is leading an animal, or while an animal is tied to the vehicle.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act also precludes people from putting animals in the boot of a ‘sedan type car’ or transporting a dog on the back of a Ute or trailer if it is not appropriately tethered or caged.

If the temperature is at or above 28 degrees Celsius, dogs cannot travel on the metal tray of a Ute or trailer without the dog having access to insulating material.

Animals cannot be unattended inside a car for more than ten minutes on these days.

“Pets can die very quickly from heat stress, even in mild weather, so importantly, never leave animals unattended in a car on warm or sunny days,” RSPCA acting chief inspector Michelle Green said.

“The interior of vehicles can heat up quickly causing heat stress and potential death.”

RSPCA Victoria reinforced the necessity of animal security during car trips as it limits the risk of driver disruption and ensures animal safety.

“It’s important to prepare if planning to take pets in the car so if they have never travelled in a car before, do a test run and take note of their behaviour to make sure they will cope,” Ms Green said.

“If pets exhibit signs of sickness or anxiety during travel, seek advice from a qualified veterinarian or veterinary behaviourist who can provide expert advice or if required, medication to help them cope.”

Ms Green also provided information about sourcing vehicle restraints.

“Vehicle restraints for pets are widely available,” she said.

“When purchasing for a dog, look for restraints that have passed safety tests and attach securely to a properly fitted dog harness as well as to the vehicle as directed by the manufacturer (usually by attaching to existing seat belts or via buckles that clip directly into the seat belt).”