The importance of a dog car harness

“Hayley our vet nurse explains why it’s important for our pets to buckle up in the car, even for short journeys. This is something we should all be doing as responsible pet owners. Here are some ways in which we can keep our pets safe. Take it away Hayley”


My mother-in-law was house-sitting for us recently. I asked her if she could take our dog Toby down to the local park for a play date with a few of his four-legged friends. I explained his dog car harness  was hanging in the laundry.  This was met with, to say the least, a very baffled look.

“Why on earth would I use a harness, he’s just going to sit on the back seat?!” she asked.

It made me realise she thought it was totally normal for dogs to ride on the back of utes and hang out of car windows. She hadn’t even considered securing him while driving, even just a short distance to the park.  As a vet nurse, using a safety harness for a pet in the car is second nature. Unfortunately, this message isn’t so prevalent within the general pet loving community.


RSPCA statistics reveal about 5000 dogs each year are injured or killed  in Australia as a result of falling from a moving vehicle. Seat belt safety has long been an important issue in regards to children and adults. The second we get into a car we ask “Is everyone buckled up?”

You would never let your child  hang their heads out of the car window, with no restraints to hold them in. That is reckless, neglectful and dangerous. Why should it be any different when it comes to your dog?



Everything but the harness!

Everything but the harness!



This is one of many excuses police hear when pulling drivers over for not restraining their dog in the back of their vehicle, particularly utes. Drivers sometimes have the proper restraint in the vehicle but don’t bother to put a dog car harness  on their four-legged passenger because they are “only going around the corner”

Would you drive with a child in the car without a seatbelt? The law looks at it in the same way.





Unrestrained pets cost more than you think

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979  requires a dog be restrained on the back of a moving vehicle or enclosed in such a way as to prevent the dog falling from the vehicle. The maximum penalty is $5,500 or 6 months in jail.

Setting the bones and repairing the torn muscles and tendons of a dog that has been thrown forward in an accident or fast breaking incident can be thousands of dollars. Both on the operating table and off through rehabilitation.

What seems like 10 minutes hassle for a 5 minute trip could cost you far more in the hip pocket, not to mention your dog’s health if things do go wrong.




The most popular would be a car harness with a seatbelt attachment. The  NRMA independently tested a variety of dog car harnesses on the market using life size and correctly weighed dog ‘dummies’ at speeds of up to 35km/h.

The Purina Roadie was one of two car harnesses that passed, the tough webbing and strong buckles standing up well to in-car low speed crash tests. Fox Valley Animal Hospital now stock this dog car harness for your convenience. And we have many different sizes to suit the smallest to largest of dog.

When using the Roadie ensure the harness is fitted properly and the lead is short enough so they can’t reach out of the window, or fall off the seat.

Check out these safe but happy pups

Check out these safe but happy pups

If your dog is travelling on the back of a ute, they must be in a harness with a short lead tied away from any equipment that could hurt them.

Dog crates are a good option too, just make sure you use the seatbelt to secure it.


An effective car harness such as the Purina Roadie is critical when travelling with your dog. It keeps the animal safe and restrained and avoids the driver being distracted while driving. In a collision, an unrestrained dog also has the potential to injure other passengers as well as themselves. Considering car accidents don’t discriminate on how long you’re journeying for, neither should you when it comes to safely restraining your family dog.

Want help getting your dog ready for the car? Please bring your dog in to Fox Valley Animal Hospital.

We’re happy to fit him/her with the most effective, safest and affordable dog car harness available: The Purina Roadie.














About the Author
Owner and Vet Alex Brittan, Vet Katie Syms and the team of Fox Valley Animal Hospital pride themselves on quality service. Fox Valley Animal Hospital is the one you choose for your family pet when the care your animal receives really matters.