Driving With Your Dog


Multiple pieces of legislation apply to dog owners in Northern Ireland. This guide will help you understand your responsibilities, but it is not to be considered legal advice. The information below applies to Northern Ireland only. The rules may be different in the Republic of Ireland, England, Wales, and Scotland.

Driving with your dog

You can lawfully take your dog(s) in the car with you, so long as you properly restrain them so that they cannot distract the driver or hurt anyone in the car or themselves should the driver need to brake suddenly.  A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage/crate or dog guard may be used to safely restrain your dog(s) when travelling.

What can happen if I break the law?

There is no direct penalty for breaking the Highway Code. However, if your dog is unrestrained when travelling in a car you could be found to be ‘driving without due care and attention’, which results in  three to nine points on your driving licence and/or a fine of up to £2,500. This could also be used as evidence against you if you were to be involved in an accident.

If your dog is found to have caused or contributed to an accident, your car insurance could be invalidated, as could any pet insurance policies.

The law:

Highway Code for Northern Ireland, section 57.