Does Your State Require Dogs Be Harnessed in the Car?

Dogs and Distracted Driving

Does your state require dogs be harnessed in the car?

Dogs and Distracted Driving.

What type of dog restraint law does your state enforce?

Click Law Types Below


This state has a law enacted which prohibits driving with an unrestrained dog in your vehicle.


This state does not have any law enacted which prohibits driving with an unrestrained dog in your vehicle.


There is some language in this state’s laws which indicates you should not drive with an unrestrained dog in your car, but it is not specific enough to determine if you can be penalized.


As of April 2017 a law prohibiting driving with an unrestrained dog in the vehicle had been proposed but defeated. No new law had been introduced. This is currently a “no law” state but is labeled to indicate legislation had been considered.


As of April 2017, there was a law currently proposed in this state to prohibit driving with an unrestrained dog in the vehicle. This is currently a “no law” state but is labeled to indicate legislation is being considered.

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16 thoughts on “Does Your State Require Dogs Be Harnessed in the Car?

  1. Larry Tyler

    Sad to say. I see Dogs riding unharnessed everyday in the back of a pickup truck. In my life I have rescued four dogs that fell out of the trucks while the driver drove on. We need a law to stop this.

    1. Eric j kwiatkowski

      I totally agree people want dogs to be treated like humans they should also suffer consequences like jail time in dog dies in a car accident and was not buckle harnessed. These people I see all the time with dogs hanging out windows etc and they claim to love their dog but puts them in harm’s way. The police need to start enforcing the law.

      1. Mike

        this is crazy talk come on people. dogs dont die because of riding in the back of a truck they dont die because they are riding in the front seat. something happend the drivers a idiot and not paying attention harness a dog in the car will solve nothing a crash can still kill them a harness dog in the bed of a truck even worst. if your dog is dumb enough to jump out of the truck while moving then you should have been smart enough to already know your dog might jump out so shame on you for putting him back there in the first place. this is crazy talk going to far. put your dog in the vehicle where ever you want (not in the trunk) and go to the beach or where ever.

        1. william lucas

          So you’re driving down the road and someone t bones you,you become an idiot, or someone rear ends you you then also becomes an idiot? Just because you have an accident doesn’t mean it’s your fault. But the not being restrained is hurt none the less.

        2. Joan Moss

          Amen to that I have room to talk I love my dog with all my heart and I have her in a bed in the front seat and whenever I’m driving I’m always constantly holding her with my hand to make sure she don’t fall but I know I got to get her a regular dog bed instead of her bed cuz if anything happened to her I would die so I’m going to go get her one ASAP so I know she’s safe she’s a Papillon Chihuahua the cutest dog ever and her name is Stevie Lynn

  2. Pingback: How to Drive Safely with Your Dog in the Car | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

    1. Orvis

      Hi AD,
      We had an outdated source. Thank you for your correction! We welcome any info/leads for changing laws or corrections. Please let us know if you see anything else fishy.

  3. Ian

    Hi, your interactive map seems to be broken.
    I hope you can fix it, it was a great resource I was hoping to link to in an article I’m writing about dog auto safety.

    1. Orvis

      Hi Ian,
      Sorry, the blog moved to a new subdomain and the map broke in the process. Should be all set now. Thanks for thinking of sharing the map with others. We hope you can still find a place for it in a future article. Safe travels.

  4. Ronnie j troy

    Is the map current?? I live in the state of Washington are the laws for or against your dog being restricted in your car??

    1. Orvis

      Hi Ronnie,
      The Washington law we found here suggests that transporting your dog in an unsafe manner is illegal. However, they do not state that the dog must be restrained in a specific way, which is why we labeled the law “ambiguous”. With that said, it’s safest to restrain your dog using a crate or harness at all times while in a vehicle.

      “Any person who wilfully transports or confines or causes to be transported or confined any domestic animal or animals in a manner, posture or confinement that will jeopardize the safety of the animal or the public shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. And whenever any such person shall be taken into custody or be subject to arrest pursuant to a valid warrant therefor by any officer or authorized person, such officer or person may take charge of the animal or animals; and any necessary expense thereof shall be a lien thereon to be paid before the animal or animals may be recovered; and if the expense is not paid, it may be recovered from the owner of the animal or the person guilty.”

  5. AD

    Your interpretation of the NJ law is incorrect. If you read through the statutes that you linked to you will find no mention of crates or restraining devices. The law only covers transport in a “cruel or inhumane manner” and to date there is no interpretation by a judge, attorney, or police officer that includes improper restraint. The intent as has been stated publicly is to reduce animals in truck beds, on drivers’ laps, or with their heads fully out the window.

  6. Lynn dodd

    I think dogs should wear seat belt required or not my dogs are like family want them to ride safely to as we wear seat belts also it very quick and simple to do and some are not expensive I’m real lol

  7. Concerned citizen

    I think it should be illegal for pets to move freely while driving. It’s a distraction, and also dangerous for everyone as well as the pet. Pets should have the same laws as a child would, in a moving vehicle. Honestly, I get mad when I see someone driving and a dog in their lap it hanging out the window.


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