Drivers could face £5,000 fine for breaking rule if they go on car journey

Boston Terrier dog looks out window of silver car
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A warning has been issued to motorists about securing their pets during car rides to avoid hefty fines. As summer approaches, many families are planning longer trips to visit relatives or holiday destinations, often bringing their dogs along for the ride.

Johanna Buitelaar-Warden from Lords and Labradors, a pet furniture company, highlighted that while dogs might enjoy sticking their heads out of the window for fresh air, this can expose them to dust which may harm their eyes.

She advised: "Now, most dog owners will know how much they enjoy the fresh breeze, new smells and faces as they smile headfirst out of a moving vehicle. However, this goes against the law.

"Not only are owners neglecting their duty to suitably restrain their dog if they allow it to hang their head out the window, but the potential that dust and debris from the road will blow into your dog's eye, which is a sure way for a trip to the vets," reports the Express.

The Highway Code says that animals like dogs must be secured in vehicles using a seatbelt, safety harness, or specialist pet carrier. Ensuring pets are restrained prevents them from distracting the driver, potentially causing an accident, and keep them calm during journeys.

Motorists found with unsecured pets can face fines up to £5,000 and points on their licence, which could increase future insurance costs. Johanna has issued a stern warning to drivers about the hazards of leaving pets unattended in vehicles for long periods, especially in hot weather conditions.

She went on to say: "Although it's not illegal to leave your dog unattended in a car, any owner is highly advised against doing so. Cars heat up extremely quickly, particularly in the summer months, which can be detrimental for your pet.

"Ultimately, owners are legally responsible for the welfare of their pet. Therefore, if an owner is found to be neglecting its health, they may be reported and prosecuted against."

The RSPCA warns that dogs trapped in heated cars could experience heatstroke in as little as six minutes. Hence, authorities advise against leaving animals alone in a vehicle for more than brief periods, suggesting opening of windows slightly to reduce the heat.

While travelling, the pet expert also recommended maintaining adequate ventilation, either via cracked windows or air conditioning, and ensuring the pet has ample access to food and water.