Pet Travel – Everything you need to know

As a nation of animal lovers, we are certainly spending a lot more time (and money) on our beloved furry companions, but are we really doing everything we can to keep them safe as we travel?

Regardless of whether it is a quick trip to the vets for a check-up, a jaunt to the woods or even getting away for a holiday, our pets deserve the same care and attention to travelling safely that we apply to our human passengers.

The Clunk Click Campaign

Who remembers the “Clunk Click for Every Trip” campaign that was introduced in the 1970’s to encourage people to put on their seat belt?

This campaign encouraged road users to make putting on their seat belt an integrated part of getting in the car. And the results have been incredible. The NHSTA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) estimate that around 374,196 lives have been saved since 1975.

That’s a huge number of families who were saved the agony and heartbreak of losing a loved one because they used their seatbelt.

And it is not limited to seatbelts. You only have to look at the array of car seats for infant and child travel and you can clearly see that we do value car safety.

But what about travelling with pets?

Pet Travel with dogIt is not just the injury to the animal that we need to be concerned about. A large dog travelling inadequately restrained on the back seat can become a deadly projectile when you crash.

Travelling with pets has come a long way over the years, with the introduction of rule 57 of the Highway code:

The driver of a vehicle travelling with an animal in it must do the following: “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.”

On the face of it there is a LOT of pet travel equipment on the market, from carriers to harnesses, crates to dog guards but, with no legal requirement to sufficiently crash test and rate this equipment, how do you know what products will offer the best levels of protection and what ones pay lip service to the adhering to the highway code?

There are currently only 5 crash tested harnesses available in the UK and they have only been tested under 30mph forward facing crash test scenarios. Unless your dog is wearing a crash tested restraint then it would not likely hold up in the event of an accident.

And let’s face it, that’s why we all put our seat belts on, why we have air bags, why car manufacturers spend billions on researching and implement the highest levels of safety in their construction – to protect the occupants as best it can in the event of an accident.

Claire and dogClaire Harris founder of Pets 2 Places Ltd is campaigning to encourage everyone to consider pet safety when travelling through the Pet Travel Safety Day.  

Claire states ‘people don’t know what they don’t know. People love their animals and would not want any harm to come to them in the event of an accident.

So little research has been done on pets travelling in cars.

  • How many accidents have there been where an unrestrained dog escaped the car only to cause another accident or never to be seen again?
  • What injuries were sustained by an animal in an accident?
  • What injuries were sustained as the result of not using a suitable restraint?
  • How many pets have been injured as a result of the airbag going off?
  • What injuries were sustained by the people in the car as the result of an animal not being restrained correctly?

But what about travelling with pets?

Pet Travel Safety Day a day dedicated to raising awareness that every time you go in your vehicle you need to make sure your pet is restrained by using crash tested equipment, and in an appropriate position in the car.

Cat carrier in carCats

  • If you are using a crash tested carrier that is suitable to be used with a seatbelt this is fine to go on the backseat. Do check before putting on the back seat.
  • If you do not have a crash tested carrier, position your basket on the floor behind the driver or passenger seat. A study undertaken by More Than car insurance shows you are 10 times more likely to crash at 30mph than any other speed. Which means your seats will not crush the carrier.

If you are not using a crash tested carrier, the wire mesh with the lid opening type are the most sturdy.


Small & Medium

  • A crash tested harness on the back seat
  • A crash tested crate in your boot, this must be anchored down correctly

Large dog carrierMedium/Large

  • A large dog needs plenty of space to lay down, if your dog does not have the space to do this a harness on the back seat would not be suitable.
  • A crash tested crate, anchored down

Large/Giant Breeds

  • If your dog is too big for a crate you will need a crash tested dog guard
  • I would recommend you use this with a crash tested Tailgate.
  • If possible, restrain your dog within this space. Currently there are no crash tested pieces of equipment for this. Do take extra care with how you do this and never attach anything to a collar, only a harness.

When choosing the right piece of equipment for your dog, the crash tested option will always be better than anything not crash tested.

Get involved

How can you celebrate Pet Travel Safety Day? By sharing this content with everyone you know to help them travel safely with their pets.

Join us for the very 1st Pet Travel Safety Day on July 1st 2021, where we will be celebrating travelling with our pets safely.

1st July 2021 marks the 30th anniversary that it became law for everyone in a car to wear a seat belt.

We’ve come such a long way protecting people. Let’s start protecting our pets!