Transporting dogs in utes

Thousands of dogs are injured each year while travelling in the back of utes because they aren't properly restrained. The dogs may be struck by tree branches or cars, be dragged along the side of vehicles or jump from moving vehicles.

Cage or tether your dog at all times if they travel in the back of utes, tray backs or trucks. This stops a dog from falling out or injuring itself, and fulfils your legal obligation to make sure your dog is safe.

Provide shelter with an enclosed cage

The safest way to transport a dog in the back of an open vehicle is in an enclosed cage.

Ensure the cage is:

  • the right size – to prevent cramping and overcrowding
  • well covered – to provide shelter from sun, wind and rain
  • placed behind the cabin – to minimise exposure to dust and wind.

Tether properly to the cabin

When tethering your dog to the back of the ute, ensure that the lead or chain:

  • is attached to a secure neck collar or properly fitted dog harness
  • is secured to a point in the middle of the cabin
  • is the right length (long enough to allow the dog to move about comfortably, but not long enough for the dog to reach the ute's side)
  • has swivels at both ends to prevent it becoming entangled.

Take extra care in hot or dusty conditions

To avoid heat stress, provide sufficient shelter for the dog, including:

  • covering the metal floors – utes and tray backs made of metal can heat up quickly and burn dogs' paws
  • giving your dog water to prevent dehydration during long, hot journeys
  • providing extra shelter when travelling in very dusty conditions to prevent dust particles harming dogs' eyes, ears, nose and lungs.

Secure loose equipment

Loose tools and equipment can become missiles in transit and may seriously injure your dog.

Avoid choker chains

Leads with attached choker chains can strangle dogs when vehicles brake suddenly. Don't use them.

Be aware of pedestrians

Don't let your dog harass pedestrians.

Understand your legal obligations

You are legally required to ensure your dog is safe, secure and comfortable while in transit. Considerable penalties apply for breaching the law.

Under the Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Vehicle Standards and Safety) Regulation 2010 there are penalties for travel with an unsecured load on the back of a light vehicle. An unrestrained dog can be considered an unsecured load. Penalties of up to  $2,757 may apply if you don't comply.