Driving For Members

What are the rules in Austria for having dogs and cats in your car?

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
What are the rules in Austria for having dogs and cats in your car?
Dogs are not allowed in the front seat in cars in Austria (Photo by marieke koenders on Unsplash)

If you are taking a road trip with your pets in Austria - or just taking them for a drive within the city - what rules do you need to follow?


Austria is a fairly strict country regarding rules for owning pets. For example, if you have a dog, you need to register the animal (with a chip and EU passport) and pay a yearly tax on it. For some breeds, you might even need a certification - and the rules for pet ownership are about to get stricter in Austria.

However, when it comes to driving with your dog or cat in a car, there is no specific legislation on the correct securing of dogs and other animals in vehicles. Instead, the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act (KFG) and the Road Traffic Regulations (StVO) on load securing apply to them.

READ ALSO: What are Austria's rules for owning pets?

What are the rules for transporting?

This means that "the load" (in this case, your pet) must be stored or secured by suitable means in such a way that it can "withstand the forces occurring during normal driving" and "the safe operation of the vehicle is not impaired, and nobody is endangered".

According to the jurisprudence of the Administrative Court, emergency braking is part of "normal driving", so requirements are rigorous. Even in such an extreme situation, parts of the load (including dogs or cats) must not slip away. 

Additionally, a dog (or other pets) must not be able to move freely in the vehicle. 

Lying unsecured in the rear seat or sitting on the front passenger seat is prohibited, according to the federal government.


What are the fines for wrongly transporting animals?

Violations of the rules can result in a fine of thousands of euros - up to €10,000 in extreme cases. If such inadequate securing results in a road accident with injuries, the driver can also be prosecuted. 

READ ALSO: How to move to Austria with your pets

What is the best way to transport pets?

Austria's ÖAMTC, the automobile club, has tested several scenarios for transporting pets in cars. 

"The fact is: Both humans and animals are threatened with massive injuries in the event of a sudden braking or evasive manoeuvre if the dog is not properly secured," summarised ÖAMTC technician Steffan Kerbl.

According to the experts, transporting a dog in the passenger seat is not only illegal but also very unsafe. During test drives on a test site, a dog dummy was placed unsecured in the passenger seat, back seat, and trunk. If the dummy sat in the passenger seat, he flew to the driver's lap during a sudden evasive manoeuvre and stuck his head between the steering wheel and the legs of the handlebar. The vehicle then hurled uncontrollably from the test track. 


"In real road traffic, a serious accident would have been the almost avoidable consequence," said Kerbl. He clarifies: "Basically, the passenger seat is completely unsuitable for transporting animals - even if they are secured by belts."

READ ALSO: Are certain dog and cat breeds banned in Austria?

The best solution, the expert stated, was transporting dogs in a secure box in the trunk. However, if the animal fits comfortably, a box in the rear footrest is also suitable. Boxes should fit the pet (if they are too big, the animal can be injured when hitting its walls) and be strapped in place. 

"For smaller dogs, accommodation in a corresponding box behind the passenger seat is best, they said. Alternatively, special baskets with the vehicle belt attached to the rear seat are a good solution for small and medium-sized dogs", Kerbl said. If you attach the dog directly to the seat belt system, he should wear a safe and comfortable chest strap.


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