Drivers warned as pet dogs could stop your car from passing its MOT test

Drivers are being advised to protect their vehicles from pets as damage caused by dogs can lead to a failed MOT test. Chewed seatbelts and soiled upholstery are just a couple of ways your beloved pooch could leave you with an expensive repair bill.

Car and van leasing firm Select Car Leasing has shared the simple steps motorists can take to protect their cars from their pets. Managing director Graham Conway said: “Many people train their dogs in the home but neglect to prepare them for car journeys.

“Being in a vehicle is a new experience for a lot of pets and can cause anxiety, which can result in upholstery being scratched, seatbelts being chewed and floors being soiled.

“Not only can damage to the interior cost owners in repair bills, it can also make cars hazardous and therefore fail an MOT.”

Dog owners are advised to secure their pets in the car correctly, so they cannot distract the driver or injure themselves or anyone else in the vehicle.

“Securing your dog also helps them stay in one spot and not get their paws or mouths on anything they shouldn’t,” Graham explained.

“You might also consider giving your pet one of their toys or treats to chew on, in case they do start to get restless.

“Many dogs chew on upholstery or seatbelts if there are no other options there. Damage to the upholstery can be pricey to fix, but damage to seat belts can put lives at risk.

“Even if the damage seems minor, it can be detrimental to the seatbelt’s function.

“And even if it’s a seatbelt you don’t use, having a faulty seatbelt can result in your car failing its MOT, which can harm your wallet and take time to get it fixed.”

Graham suggests tidying up your pets belongings and removing any fur on the seats before taking your car for its MOT, as the tester may refuse to complete the checks.

When travelling long distances in the car with your dog, it’s important to take regular breaks and familiarise them with the car by taking short journeys first.

“This can make sure your pet has plenty of opportunity to go to the toilet, rather than being tempted to soil themselves in the car and ruin your car’s surfaces,” Graham added.

The advice comes as a major car insurer has suggested that dogs should be banned from sticking their heads out of car windows.

New research by Direct Line Pet Insurance discovered that two in five dog owners who drive with their pets risk significant fines by not always keeping their pooches secure whilst driving.

Nearly half – or 47 per cent – of drivers allowed their pets to put their head out of a car window, prompting injuries in 28 per cent as a consequence.

Additionally, in the past five years, 18 per cent of motorists who did not restrain their dog in the car have had an accident while driving with their pet.

This ignores the Highway Code, which states that animals must be suitably restrained when in a vehicle so that they cannot distract or injure the driver.