Time To Buckle Up For Car Safety

Time To Buckle Up For Car Safety

As the Summer holidays draw near and families across Ireland begin to make plans for road trips, fun adventures and more, it’s important to remember that our four-legged family members must be carefully restrained when taking to the open road.

Check out our blog post below with tips from The Road Safety Authority of Ireland, our own Brand Ambassador and Dublin Vet Dr Bobby Ortiz, and how you can find out more about car safety through one of our in-store demo days.

Did You Know?

  • Pet owners are required under law to safely restrain animals in a car
  • 23 per cent admitted to never restraining their pet (AIG Survey)
  • Unsafe driving behaviours more than doubled when a pet was unrestrained (Volvo Study)
  • At 50 km/h, a 25kg Labrador would projectile with a force equivalent to over 600kg.

It is a legal requirement to safely restrain animals in a car in Ireland. Despite this, an Irish survey1 found that 15 per cent of respondents sometimes restrained their pet and 23 per cent admitted to never restraining their pet. In an online poll this week, Petmania discovered that 20 per cent were unaware of their legal responsibility.

A 2019 study from Volvo Car USA2 found that unsafe driving behaviours more than doubled when a pet was unrestrained. Behaviours included climbing on a driver’s lap, jumping from seat to seat or hanging their head out the window and taking drivers’ eyes off the road.


CARSAFE Crash Tested Dog Harness

“We strap ourselves and our children in whenever we get into the car, so we should do the same for our furry family members! Working as a vet I have seen numerous injuries to pets travelling in cars that have been in accidents. Some injuries include dislocations, concussions and even fractures. Restraining your pet can also ensure that animals don’t escape out a window while we might be focused on the road.” -Dr Bobby Ortiz, Vet 

It is important to restrain pets properly in the car because in a crash, not only could the animal be seriously injured, it could become a projectile inside the car hurting other passengers.

For example: At 50 km per hour, a 25 kg Labrador, which is roughly the same weight as an average six-year-old child, would be thrown forward with a force equivalent to over 600kg.

Some tips and advice from the Road Safety Authority:

1. Always ensure that your pet is safely secured in a harness, a pet carrier, or behind a metal dog guard. The most suitable restraint will probably depend on the size and temperament of the pet.

2. For medium or large-sized dogs, a dog harness that attaches to the seatbelt is recommended. It should go round the dog’s chest, back and shoulders and is attached to the car seat belt, which should be fastened.

3. Ensure dogs cannot get entangled in the harness as this will be uncomfortable and could distract the driver.

4. For smaller dogs, cats and other pets, a pet carrier is a good option. It needs to be the correct size and should be held securely in place with a seat belt or by wedging it firmly in the rear footwell. Pet carriers should never be loose in a car boot as pets may be thrown around in a crash.

5. Never allow pets to put its head out of the window putting them at risk of injury, jumping or falling out of the car.

We also want to remind pet parents not to leave dogs in the car on their own, especially during the summer months when temperatures inside the vehicle can soar in a matter of minutes.

In-Store Demos

Petmania will host an in-store safety week focused on the correct use of travel safety equipment from 24th to 26th of June. One-to-one demos are available at each of its 15 stores nationwide. For those that cannot visit the store, Petmania is sharing tips via the Pet Care Advice Centre, a free online resource featuring advice from pet experts like Agility Trainer, Dawn Greer and Vet Dr Bobby Ortiz, AKA Dogtor Bob

“For many people, no road trip would be complete without the family pet in tow. We are urging day-trippers and holidaymakers to keep their pets’ safety in mind when driving with them. Keeping your pet properly restrained while travelling in a car will keep them and your passengers safe. We’re launching our Buckle Up campaign to share all our safety tips and tricks so everyone can enjoy the open road this summer.”


Emily Miller, Petmania Marketing Manager

1 survey with AIG policyholders 

2 Volvo Reports: Keeping Pets Safe on the Road 

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