The Laws and Risks of Driving with Your Dog in British Columbia


Driving With A Dog In The Car


Taking your dog for a ride in the car can be dangerous to you, your pet, and others on the road. We love taking our pups with us wherever we go, but dog lovers beware of the distracted driving laws that came into existence on October 20, 2014. Not only do the laws apply to handheld electronic devices such as cell phones and G.P.S. units, but it includes your dog being free in the vehicle or on your lap.




The distracted driving penalty for a first offence is a $167 fine and 3 points! According to the B.C.A.A., Nearly 60% of dog owners have driven while distracted by their pets as passengers. Some places in the United States – Rhode Island and Tennessee – are considering banning unrestrained pets altogether. Only about 1 in 6 pet owners use restraints when their pets are riding in the car.

When left unleashed, our canine companions can prove to be quite distracting by:

  • Interfering with the ability to steer
  • Climbing into the driver’s lap
  • Crawling on the foot pedals

dog sitting in the front seat of car


You might be wondering, is it illegal to have a dog in the front seat of a car? Well, yes, the Vancouver police to the pocketbook frown upon dog owners who do this. First of all, there’s no restrain whatsoever for your dog when sitting there. 

The simplest of movements could cause your dog extreme whiplash; they could hit the windshield or eve

n hit the dashboard from a collision alone. This could cause a lot of injury to your dog and, at worse, put you in danger also.

An airbag deployment could cause serious injury or death. That’s not forgetting your dog could easily distract you when driving. You never know when your dog might get overexcited, squared or anything else. They could easily block your brake, sit on your lap or interfere with the steering wheel. That’s the last thing you’ll want, as you could potentially be putting your life in danger while on the road.

Finally, if you’re going on a long journey, it’s not comfortable for your dog to sit upright in the front seat. The backseat offers your dog a lot more comfort and support for your journeys.


driving with dog in car


A dog car seat might be a more practical option or even a crate designed for the car. These cushy seats give your pup a comfy place to relax while riding and have safety straps that hook to the dog’s harness to anchor them in place. 

A car harness is a good idea for larger pets. These comfortable harnesses buckle to the car-s seat belt and keep your pooch in place. The top dog seats have been specifically designed to ensure they can withstand a crash. Whether it’s a car crate, booster seat or harness, make sure they’ve been restraint tested and read their reviews before buying.


dog car seat

Leaving dog in car laws in B.C.


If you’re out strolling about the shops, at home, visiting friends or just outside your vehicle, you can’t leave your dog there. In fact, it’s illegal to do so, and it’s also dangerous. Leaving your dog in the car could be life-threatening. In fact, your car could become a furnace causing the temperature to rise and running the risk of them experiencing heat exhaustion. 

Plus, you could face a fine of up to $75,000 as per the Prevention of Cruelty Animals Act. So next time you think about leaving your dog in the car to run some errands, you should take them with you or leave them at home.



By changing a few small driving habits, a dangerous – and potentially very costly drive can turn into a safe trip for everyone in the family. If you are planning on taking your dog to Jet Pet Resort, please take the time to properly harness your dogs in and to ensure that they are safe and that you are free of possible distractions.



Do dogs need to be restrained in cars?

Dogs should be restrained while driving in cars. The last thing you need is your dog sitting in the front or back seat without any restraint. First of all, if you have a slight collision or crash, they could hit the windshield straight away and also kill you. 

Similarly, dogs are unpredictable; they can get excited and scared very easily. If they are unrestrained, they might run to you for your support. As a result, you may not be able to see in front of you, reach the steering wheel or brake. This could cause a high risk of accident, putting you, other passengers and others on the road in danger.

How do you travel long distances with a dog in a car?

Long distance car journeys can be a bit of a chore if you aren’t prepared well. When travelling long distances, you will want to ensure that you have water and food prepared in advance alongside poop bags. You might want to take them on short-distance journeys before you go on a long one, as they will become used to the sensation of the car over time.

Ideally, you will want to tire your dog out before the long journey, so they can sleep while on the road and not cause you too much of a distraction. Make sure they’re comfortable also and provide them with a nice seat or hammock. Most importantly, remember to take them out on toilet breaks on the long drive.

Do dogs get car sick?

Dogs can get car sick; it’s known as motion sickness. This is often a common problem in dogs on long drives and is more prevalent in younger dogs than adults. Part of the reason is that their inner ear that relies on balance may not be fully developed. 

Generally, after one year old, dogs grow out of it. If you have an adult dog who does experience car sickness, speak to your veterinarian as there is a medication they can take to help with this.   

Can dogs sit in the front seat?

It’s not a good idea for dogs to sit in the front seat. They could become injured quickly or even die from the slightest collision or crash. Plus, your dog could distract you, putting you at risk of crashing your car, hammering passengers and others on the road. Finally, it’s just not as comfy dogs sitting on the front seat as there is not as much support as the back.