A GUISELEY vets is warning motorists they face fines of up to £5,000 and invalidated car insurance for not securing dogs in cars.

White Cross Vets has issued advice after research from Confused.com, found almost two thirds of UK motorists were unaware that having an unrestrained pet travelling in a vehicle can result in a fine for careless driving.

Clinical director Tom Ward said: “Every year huge numbers of dog owners will holiday with their pets and during the summer months, you often see dogs travelling in cars with their heads poking out of the window.

“However, there are stringent laws surrounding unrestrained pets in cars, and these also relate to cats, rabbits and hamsters, as well as dogs. Rule 57 of The Highway Code states that dogs or other animals must be suitably restrained so they cannot distract the driver or injure themselves, or anyone else, if the vehicle stops quickly.

“People failing to drive with due care and attention could face a maximum fine of £5,000 and up to nine penalty points if the case goes to court, as well as invalidating the driver’s insurance policy.”

He added: “There are lots of options available to restrain pets in cars, but most experts agree that using a cage or crate in the boot of the vehicle is the safest way to transport a dog.”

White Cross Vets, which has 20 practices, has issued a list of tips for drivers embarking on long journeys with dogs this summer.

Tips include giving dogs plenty of exercise before setting off, packing favourite toys or blankets and using window shades.

Drivers are being warned never to let a dog travel with its head out of the window and never to leave a pet in a hot car.