Every now and again an incident occurs causing an accident requiring veterinary treatment with dogs where we, and the owners, think ‘if only….’
The injuries sustained from unrestrained dogs falling, or being thrown, from a moving vehicle can range from minor to severe with a long recovery time and, unfortunately, sometimes they can be fatal. Often the dog falling goes unnoticed and it is not until you reach your destination that you notice your dog is missing.
The Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018 state that dogs on moving vehicles on public roads must be secured in a way that prevents them from falling off or hanging off an open deck or open trailer by using a cage or tether.
However, this regulation does not apply when the dogs are involved in moving stock along a public road to another paddock. If the dog is secured by a tether, you need to ensure that it is long enough to enable the dog to sit and lie down in a natural position BUT short enough to prevent the dog’s legs from reaching over the sides of the deck or trailer. This is important because a dog hanging off the side of a truck from a longer tether always receives severe and traumatic injuries and can also be dragged under the wheels.
If you do not have a dogbox or cage secured to the back of your truck, and whether you are on a public road or a farm track, our recommendation is that you tether your dogs to the back of the cab at the centre with a short chain or rope. Remember to regularly check your dogbox latches and hardware for wear, and make time to do those repairs – the last thing you want is your secure dog falling out of an open door (this has happened at 100km/hr!).
Is the risk of any dog falling and being injured, if you need to avoid something or brake suddenly, worth less than the inconvenience of tethering or securing them in the dogbox?