Travel Safely with Your Furry Friend: Pet Car Safety Laws Across Australia

Travel Safely with Your Furry Friend: Pet Car Safety Laws Across Australia banner

Our furry companions can be some of the best travel buddies. Their curiosity about the world around them, their enthusiasm for even the shortest trips, and their unwavering loyalty make every journey special. However, ensuring their safety (and yours) while on the road is paramount. Each Australian state and territory has specific rules about traveling with pets. Here’s a rundown to help you stay informed and keep your pet safe.

New South Wales (NSW)

In NSW, you can travel with your pet in the front seat as long as it does not impede your ability to control the vehicle. However, dogs are not allowed to be carried on the open back of a moving vehicle unless they are restrained or enclosed in a secure manner. This means if you have a ute, your dog must be properly secured to prevent any accidents or injuries.


In Victoria, dogs can sit in the passenger seat without any specific restrictions. However, driving with your dog on your lap will result in a $277 fine. It’s also illegal to leave your dog unattended in a vehicle for more than 10 minutes when the temperature is at or above 28 degrees Celsius, as this can pose serious health risks to your pet.


Queensland allows dogs to travel in the front passenger seat, but not on the driver’s lap. According to the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001, drivers must ensure their pet’s safety, whether inside the vehicle or on a vehicle tray or trailer. It’s advisable to have your dog travel in an enclosed cage in the back of an open vehicle. Additionally, only the dog's head should be allowed to protrude from the vehicle to avoid penalties.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

In the ACT, dogs can sit in the front passenger seat as long as they do not distract the driver. However, it is illegal for pets to travel on the driver’s lap. Under the Animal Welfare Act of 1992, dogs must be restrained in the back of a ute or properly restrained inside the vehicle.

Western Australia (WA)

In WA, dogs are allowed to travel in the front passenger seat if they are restrained. It is illegal to have a dog on the driver’s lap, and unrestrained dogs in the passenger seat that can move around freely can lead to fines if considered careless driving by a police officer.

South Australia (SA)

South Australia prohibits pets from sitting on the driver’s lap, but allows dogs to travel in the front seat. The Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 states it is illegal to transport an unrestrained dog in the open tray of a utility or similar vehicle, with fines up to $750 for violations.

Northern Territory (NT)

In the NT, dogs can travel in the front passenger seat. The Animal Welfare Act 1999 requires animals to be transported in a manner that does not inflict harm or pain, with a $100 fine for non-compliance. Pets must be restrained or enclosed when transported in or on a vehicle.


In Tasmania, it is illegal for pets to sit on the driver’s lap. While it is not illegal for pets to sit in the front passenger seat, road rules encourage securing dogs in the back seats to minimize the risk of injury or distraction.


Traveling with your pet can be a delightful experience, but it’s essential to adhere to the road rules in your area to ensure safety for both you and your furry friend. Whether you’re planning a short trip or a long road adventure, make sure your pet is properly secured and comfortable.

For more information on pet travel safety or to explore pet-friendly vehicles, visit Tynan Motors. We are committed to providing you with the best advice and options to make your journeys with your pet safe and enjoyable.

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