Should dogs wear seatbelts? (UK)

In the UK, the law states that a dog must be suitably restrained while in a vehicle to prevent them from causing a distraction to the driver or injury to themselves or a passenger.

So when transporting dogs in a car or van, you must ensure that you meet these legal requirements as a minimum.

Then, in order to present yourself as someone who goes the extra mile for their clients, you can build upon these legal; requirements and make your vehicle even safer by using crash tested harnesses, crates or dividers.

What are the options when securing dogs in a vehicle?

To ensure any dogs travelling in your vehicle comply with the law you can use any of the following to restrain the dogs in your care;

Dog crates

Dog crates will need to be secured to the vehicle itself to be safe, and ensure that any dogs in crates must be able to stand, turn around and lie down easily to be the right sized crate. Don’t forget to line the crates safely too so that the dog doesn’t slide around.

Be aware though, although crates satisfy the rules, they won’t do much to save the dog in a crash. Only crash tested crates will do this and that increases the expense of fitting them.

Dog guards

Divide the front seats from the back, and the boot from the back seats in a hatchback and you’ve got two distinct sections in your car to restrain your dogs. You can even divide the boot into two for further safety.

Bespoke crate system

If you feel like splashing the cash, a bespoke crate system made just for your van is ideal for segregating and safely restraining dogs.

These systems are built specifically to fit your make and model of van, run floor to roof on 2 layers and have escape hatches as well as the usual doors. Expect to pay in excess of £1k (2023 prices)

Seatbelt restraints

A relatively cheap option which keeps you legal and the dogs safe. If you’re going to use these, ensure they’re attached to a suitable harness and not the dog’s collar. In a crash, having the attachment around their neck can do unthinkable damage to a dog. If it’s attached to their back with a harness, this will significantly reduce injuries, especially if it’s a crash tested dog harness, built to withstand the seams tearing and with a wide chest plate to minimise injury.

What does the law state?

In the UK, the Road Traffic Act 1988 covers the use of vehicles on public roads and determines the rules and regulations in the highway code.

It states that dogs must be suitably restrained when travelling in a vehicle, for example by using a dog guard or seat belt harness. It is an offence to not have your dog properly restrained while in a vehicle, and you may be fined up to £5,000.

Highway code Rule 57

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.

What are the best seatbelt restraints for dogs?

When using a seat belt, it is important to ensure that it is securely fastened around the dog’s chest and not just around their neck, as this can cause injury.

When using a harness, it is important to ensure that it is properly fitted. A good rule of thumb is that it should fit snugly and be adjustable enough to allow two fingers to fit between the harness and the dog’s body.

It is also important to make sure that the harness is securely fastened to the seat belt or anchoring point in the vehicle, as this will help to prevent the dog from being thrown around in the event of a sudden stop.

Our top dog seatbelt picks for every budget


The ezydog attachment uses the seatbelt itself in your car for extra safety.

Other clips of this type tend to clip into the seatbelt socket but many have substandard clips compared to your own cars.

Much better to use the already safety tested seatbelt in your car and slip this over the belt and clip to your dogs harness.

Safe, secure and legal.


The Sherpa seatbelt harness uses the harnesses handles to secure your dog to the seatbelt in your car.

Why is it so expensive in comparison? It’s crash tested which means the clips, stitching and fabric have all been through rigorous testing and expense to meet safety standards.

Isn’t your puppa worth it?

Can dogs legally travel in the front seat?

In the UK, dogs are allowed to travel in the front seat of a car as long as they are properly restrained. However, it is recommended that dogs travel in the back seat for increased safety.

How to start a successful dog walking business in 2023


The dog walking coach website is supported by our visitors. Some of the product links on this website are through affiliate schemes such as Amazon. This means that I earn a small commission if you choose to purchase something at no extra cost to yourself.

Scroll to Top