Many of us have a “man’s best friend” equivalent and what would be a trip to the beach, park or just down the road without them? Whether it be a dog, cat, bird, or even the odd guinea pig here or there, any pet owner has a special place in their heart and car seat for their beloved little family member. The trick, however, is making sure that you stay safe on the road and in your car when travelling with them, no matter the distance. And don’t forget – the same rules apply for leaving them in the car as they do for children!
Here are our little tips to make for an easy-breezy drive in the second (or third) love of your life – your car.
Seeing as Australia has strict import/export rules for animals, the pet of choice in the land Down Under is most commonly a dog. Each year in Australia, more than 5,000 dogs are injured or killed in auto-related accidents, mostly because of poor or no restraints at all in the car. Laws were introduced into Australia in 2013 where a pet is prohibited from being in the driver’s area of a vehicle for safety reasons.
The Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) states that police can fine a driver $425 and three demerit points (more in a school zone) if “an animal is causing the driver to be not in full control of the vehicle, or if they are driving with a dog on their lap.” Although penalties may differ in your state or territory, the following rules still stick:
A driver must not drive with an animal in the driver’s lap
A motor cycle rider must not ride with an animal between the handlebars and the rider
Dogs on utes should be restrained either via a tether or cage, so that the dog cannot fall off or be injured when the vehicle moves
A driver, motorcycle rider, bicycle rider or passenger must not lead an animal, while the vehicle is moving.
A fine of $5,500 (or possible six months’ jail time) can also be issued by the RSPCA under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act if an animal is injured because it was unrestrained.
So restrain your animal next time you are travelling to avoid a fine and more importantly, the safety of you, your pet and others.
Just like your canine four legged friend, the feline variety can also get agitated when in a small space and are notorious for roaming. To avoid distractions, you should keep your cat in a carrier when travelling. Make sure it is sturdy and hard for Houdini acts – this means a cardboard box will not suffice. Just try to keep your cat as comfortable as possible with ample ventilation and be prepared for the bodily functions that you may have to clean during/after the trip.
Free the birds
Quite possibly the last thing you want in the car is a bird flying around in hysterics. Although only small compared to other pets, they can cause some damage due to their flying ability. Like all other pet recommendations, keep them in a carrier to avoid escapes and you should be good to go.
Trips for humans in the car are hard enough, so make sure you are on the ball when it comes to your pet in your vehicle. Laws are implemented for a reason so try not to make a habit of letting your dog just jump in the back or bird fly into the car – it’s more dangerous than you think.