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Safely Securing Your Dog on a Ute or Pickup Truck: States and Territory Law:

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

All of us love taking our mate on adventures, and for many, that includes rides in the back of a ute. However, ensuring your dog's safety should always be a top priority. In this blog, Safely Securing Your Dog on a Ute or Pickup Truck: States and Territory Law: we will discuss safe ways to secure your dog in an open back ute or pick-up truck, while respecting the laws in various states and territories.

Remember, a secure dog is a happy dog, and following these guidelines will ensure both you and your beloved pet can enjoy your journeys worry-free. We have a list of recent updates to various Australian State and Territory rules regarding, the legal perspectives but it is only a reference for this dog blog. Check for any changes to your state or territory law. prior to having your mate on a tray.

We fully acknowledge the vast array of tray setups utilised by builders, electricians, plumbers, landscapers, and various other working professionals. When it comes to transporting your dog in these setups, safety should be the utmost concern. There are numerous potential hazards, both from within the ute or pick-up truck and externally, that could potentially harm your best mate. In the unfortunate event of an accident, it becomes crucial to address these safety concerns promptly.

Moreover, the risk of your dog falling off the back of the vehicle or getting injured by loose objects demands careful consideration. It's essential to reevaluate the current arrangements and take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of your beloved pet.

A dog on the back of a ute
70KPH - 37 degrees - Don't fall - please

Naturally we don't want our dog to be one of the thousands and thousands of dogs across Australia who get hurt annually. It could be for various reasons from being dragged along by the neck and collar as they fell off or overbalanced. In slightly wet conditions this too can add further issues, as the car may in fact slide in a corner, and the dog can slide along the tray.

If your dog leans out too far there is a chance they can be hit by a branch or something protruding from the side and above. This includes oncoming cars and trucks. We not supposed to even drive our car resting our elbow on the window because of incidents.

There is always a chance something may startle your dog and they may even try and jump off.

WORKING DOGS: WORKING PROPERTIES: Working dogs on working properties have a unique situation when it comes to transportation. These dogs are accustomed to living and traveling on the back of trays, horses, 4-wheel drives, or even motorbikes and helicopters. Their daily routine involves being on the move, often at slow speeds, with frequent stops while transitioning from one paddock to another.

Given the nature of their work, the general laws and regulations for utes or pick-up trucks on the road may not entirely apply in these cases. Tethering these dogs might lead to more complications than solutions. The rugged individuals who rely on these working dogs understand the importance of their dogs and are deeply devoted to them.

In these scenarios, the safety and well-being of the working dogs are of utmost importance. While the typical rules for securing dogs in vehicles may not directly apply, it is essential for the owners to find practical and safe ways to ensure their dogs remain secure during transportation.

The strong bond between these working dogs and their owners highlights the level of care and affection present despite their tough exterior. Their dedication to their four-legged mates goes beyond conventional norms, making it vital to find the right balance between keeping the dogs safe and enabling them to perform their valuable work on the properties.

TraySafe Lone Wolf products may suit you. Click on the image on the left.

Many fantastic tradespeople are now opting for custom-made or store-bought crates or tethering systems or products that provide secure and fixed confinement for their dogs during transportation. This choice significantly reduces the risk of injuries and keeps the dog comfortably contained while on the move.

By prioritising the safety of our mates and rethinking the way we transport them, in work-related or play-related vehicles, we can prevent potential accidents and ensure a safe and enjoyable journey for both you and your dogs alike. Let's take the necessary steps to safeguard our furry friends while on the road.

  1. Understanding the Laws in Each State:

Before embarking on any journey with your dog in the back of a ute, or other tray or open backed trucks, it's important to familiarise yourself with the specific laws and regulations in the states you'll be traveling through. Each state may have varying rules regarding the transportation of animals in open vehicles. Be sure to check the relevant authorities' websites or consult your local veterinarian to stay informed and avoid any legal issues.

  1. Do's and Don'ts of Securing Your Dog:

  • DO: Use a Reliable Dog Harness or Crate One of the safest ways to transport your dog is by using a sturdy and comfortable harness specifically designed for automotive use. Ensure it is appropriately fitted and securely attached to the ute's tie-down points. Alternatively, using a properly sized and ventilated dog crate can also provide a secure and cozy space for your canine friend during the ride.

  • DO: Utilise a Dog Barrier Invest in a dog barrier that separates the back of your ute from the passenger compartment. This will prevent your dog from climbing over into the front, reducing distractions and enhancing overall safety.

  • DO: Provide Adequate Ventilation and Shade Always ensure that your dog has access to fresh air and is protected from direct sunlight. Utilize a canopy or mesh cover to provide shade and prevent overheating during hot weather.

  • DO: Make Frequent Stops On long journeys, make regular stops to allow your dog to stretch its legs, have a drink of water, and take bathroom breaks. These breaks are essential for your dog's comfort and wellbeing.

  • DON'T: Allow Your Dog to Roam Freely Never allow your dog to roam unrestrained in the back of the ute. This can lead to accidents, injuries, or even the dog jumping out of the vehicle, especially when it's parked or moving slowly.

  • DON'T: Tie Your Dog with a Regular Leash Using a regular leash to secure your dog is highly dangerous. In the event of a sudden stop or impact, it can cause severe injuries to your pet. Always opt for a specially designed automotive harness or crate instead.

  • DON'T: Transport Your Dog in Extreme Weather Avoid traveling with your dog in the back of the ute during extreme weather conditions, such as very hot or very cold temperatures. Exposure to such conditions can be harmful to your pet's health.

  • DON"T: leave them on the back of the ute on a hot or cold day or in the sun where possible. A small off the ground dog bed under the tray can work a treat. With water of course.

Transporting your dog in the back of an open ute can be an enjoyable experience, but safety should always come first. Familiarise yourself with the laws and regulations in each state you'll be traveling through, and follow the do's and don'ts of securing your dog to ensure a safe and pleasant journey. Remember, responsible pet ownership means prioritising your dog's comfort and wellbeing at all times. Happy travels!

  1. ACT: Section 15A of the Animal Welfare Act 1992 prohibits a person from carrying a dog in or on a moving vehicle if the dog is not restrained or enclosed in a way that prevents the dog from falling or jumping from the vehicle or being injured (exemption for dogs being used to work livestock)

  2. NSW: Section 7 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 prohibits a person from carrying a dog on the open back of a vehicle unless the dog is restrained or enclosed in such a way as to prevent the dog falling from the vehicle (exemption for dogs being used to work livestock).

  3. NT: Section 34 of the Animal Protection Act 2018 (NT) prohibits transporting a dog in a vehicle unless the dog is inside a passenger compartment AND is secured in such a way that prevents it from being injured or falling from the vehicle.

  4. Qld: The recently passed Animal Care and Protection Amendment Bill 2022 prohibits transporting a dog on the open back of a vehicle unless the dog is secured in such a way that prevents it from being injured or falling from the vehicle.

  5. SA: Section 45 of the Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 prohibits a person from transporting a dog on an open tray of a vehicle unless the dog is enclosed or restrained in a way that prevents the dog from falling or escaping from the vehicle. This does not apply to the transport of an accredited assistance dog or a dog that is being used in the droving or tending of stock or is going to or returning from a place where it will be, or has been, so used.

  6. Tas: Section 16(3) of the Dog Control Act 2000 requires a person in charge of a dog in or on a vehicle to restrict the dog sufficiently to prevent the dog from leaving the vehicle or attack any person or animal outside the vehicle.

  7. Vic: Section 15A of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 prohibits a person from transporting a dog in or on a tray or trailer unless the dog is secured in such a way as to prevent the dog from falling off, moving off, or being injured from the movement of the vehicle or trailer. This does not apply to a dog which is being used to assist in the movement of livestock.

  8. WA: Section 6.2 of the Standards and Guidelines for the Health and Welfare of Dogs in Western Australia 2020 requires that, where a dog is transported on the open back of a moving vehicle on a road, the dog must be suitably secured by enclosing the dog in a transport crate fixed to the vehicle or restrained by a tether where; (i) the length of the tether allows the dog some movement, including to stand and lie down, but does not allow the dog to jump or fall off the tray; and (ii) the tether is not attached to a choke chain or other device which may tighten around the neck.

There are also recommended guidelines for the transport of dogs on the open back of a moving vehicle.

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