Restraint of dogs in vehicles in the UK

James Andrew Oxley, V. Tamara Montrose

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


    Within the United Kingdom, many dog owners travel by car with their dog(s). Despite guidance in the Highway Code that dogs should be suitably restrained, large numbers of dogs are thought to travel without restraint in cars. Unrestrained dogs have the potential to distract drivers and could cause an accident resulting in injury and even death. Despite the prevalence of dogs’ travelling in cars, and concerns raised over the restraint of these dogs, to date, there is limited information available on the restraint of dogs in vehicles in the UK. The aim of this study was to determine the frequency of use of vehicular dog restraint devices, the methods of restraint used and the reasons for restraining, or not restraining, dogs in vehicles. Dog owners and drivers in the UK (n=690) completed an online questionnaire providing information on how often they drive with their dog and the location of their dog when driving, as well as whether their dog is restrained whilst driving, methods used to restrain their dog and reasons for use of restraint methods. Dog owners frequently drove with their dogs, with the highest proportion of respondents (33.2%) driving with their dog between 2 and 5 days a week. The majority of respondents stated that their dog mostly stayed in the boot (42.4%), or the back seat (33.1%). Whilst a large proportion of respondents (72.2%) restrained their dog whilst driving, 5.4% stated that they only sometimes restrain their dog and 22.4% stated that they do not restrain their dog whilst driving. The most popular reasons for not restraining dogs whilst driving were that the dog was thought to be comfortable or safe in the boot (31%) or that the dog was well behaved or calm (22%). Of those respondents that did restrain their dog, a harness and tether attached to a seat belt or buckle (43.3%) was the most common restraint method used. The main reason for respondents’ decisions to use a specific restraint device was that it was thought to be the best method to ensure the safety of the dog (59.6%). Overall, whilst our findings highlight that dog owners are generally aware of the need to restrain their dogs when travelling by vehicle, there is a need for further education on why this restraint is important and evidence-based guidance on the safety and suitability of different vehicular dog restraint devices.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2018
    EventUFAW Animal Welfare Conference: Recent advances in animal welfare science VI - Newcastle, United Kingdom
    Duration: 28 Jun 201828 Jun 2018


    ConferenceUFAW Animal Welfare Conference: Recent advances in animal welfare science VI
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Internet address


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