Is it against the law to leave my dog ​​in the front seat of my car while driving?

PET-LOVING Brits are risking a hefty fine and voiding their insurance by driving with the animals roaming around in their cars.

But what exactly does it say about having man’s best friend as a passenger in the front seat? Here’s all you need to know…



NINTCHDBPICT000651430910Credit: Getty

Is it against the law to leave my dog ​​in the front seat of my car while driving?

It’s not against the law to drive with your dog in the front passenger seat of a car, but you can still run the risk or be fined, or worse.

Drivers should still be wary of pet driving rules and advice for traveling with animals.

Driving with your pet without restraint is against the law in the car.

Pets should wear a harness or a seat belt – just like people – when the car is in motion, or you could run the risk of huge fines and voiding your auto and pet insurance.

The Highway Code states that if an animal moves during a journey, it can cause an accident.

They also warn drivers not to put their pets in the front seat for the same reason, but it’s not against the law.

Can I be penalized for letting my dog ​​sit in the front seat?

You cannot be fined for leaving your dog in the front passenger seat of your car, if you are following the rules and not driving dangerously.

You can fined up to £5,000 for not restricting your pets, no matter where they are in the car.

This means pets must stay in a belt, a pet crate or cage, or in the trunk of a car with a dog guard separating it.

Your car insurance and pet insurance may also be void if you don’t follow the highway code.


  • The Highway Code recommends the use of “seat belts, pet racks, dog cages or dog guards” to restrain animals in vehicles
  • Experts believe that using a cage or crate in a trunk is the safest way to transport your pet
  • Do not feed your pet within two hours of starting a long car trip to avoid motion sickness
  • Pack favorite toys or blankets to give your pet a sense of belonging
  • Use sunshades on windows when it’s hot or sunny, and never leave pets in a hot car.
  • Always carry a large water bottle (minimum 5 liters) in case your pet overheats and needs to be cooled down quickly in an emergency.
  • Do not allow your pet to ride with its head facing out the window, as it can be dangerous and may cause injury.
  • You should also move the front passenger seat as far back as possible and disable the passenger side airbag if your pet is riding a shotgun.

This also means you Do not let your pet turn its head out the window.

Although disobeying the Highway Code is not a direct penalty, motorists can be pulled over by police and fined up to £1,000 for driving without proper control if their pet causes they lose focus.

It can lead to not driving carefully and paying attention (careless driving) resulting in the maximum fine is £5,000 and nine penalty points if the case goes to court.

In severe cases, the problem can even lead to a driving ban and a mandatory re-inspection.

Automotive expert Mark Tongue at Select Car Leasing, explains: “Many owners get confused as to whether dogs are allowed in the front seat. It’s something of a gray area.

“Though not particularly recommended – dogs should usually sit in the backseat or boot for their own safety.

“You should only keep your dog by your side while driving if possible and know how to deactivate the front passenger airbag, as some vehicles do not actually have an override function.

“Failing to disable the airbag can result in catastrophic injury to a dog.

“When an airbag deploys, it does so with so much force, it could even crush a dog house.” Is it against the law to leave my dog ​​in the front seat of my car while driving?

Caroline Bleakley

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