Drivers have been warned they could face fines of up to £5,000 if they travel with their dogs in the car and breach the Highway Code.

The code contains a rule that all pet owners should be aware of if they don’t want to be hit in the pocket.

The rule states that pets should be “suitably restrained” when travelling in the car to keep them safe if drivers are forced to stop quickly.

Rule 57 of the Highway Code states: "When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly.

Bracknell News: (Choose My Car)(Choose My Car)

“A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars."

So, although the image of a dog with his head out the window with its tongue out and its ears fluttering in the wind is a very enjoyable one, it can actually put you in the doghouse with the law and result in a fine of up to £5,000.

To stay safe while driving and avoid the hefty fine, ensure your dog (or any other pet) is restrained appropriately so it doesn’t distract you or hurt you or itself if you suddenly come to a stop.

Founder of Choose My Car, Nick Zapolski, encouraged drivers to buckle up their dogs to ensure the safety of both them and their beloved pets.

“Having your dog loose in the car can cause both them and you serious harm. Not only can it be very distracting, in the event of a crash, a loose dog flying through the air could be fatal,” he said.

“The safest option is to have your dog belted into the back seat, as the passenger seat airbags could also cause your pooch serious harm in the event of an accident. The belts are inexpensive to buy, and simple to use.

“Most of all, they will keep you and your dog safe, while saving you from the serious implications of breaking the Highway Code.”