There is no argument that working dogs are a valuable and helpful asset to farmers.
And it stands to reason that if your dog travels on the back of your ute, you need to take extra care to avoid exposing them to heat stress on hot days.
While it is legal to allow appropriately restrained dogs to travel on the back of utes, dogs being left in the sun for long periods can quickly dehydrate or even die from heat stress.
Adequate shelter - for example a fixed canopy - needs to be provided to protect tethered dogs from extreme temperatures.
A lot of utes and tray backs these days are made of metal and will heat up quickly and could easily burn dogs' paws.
Under new regulations introduced in Victoria in December 2019, when the temperature is 28 degrees or above an area of insulating material must be placed on the metal tray to protect the dog from the surface.
Ensure dogs kept in cages have adequate ventilation, particularly when the vehicle is not moving, and that all dogs are given regular access to cool water.
Victoria's Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act requires dogs travelling in the back of utes, trailers or open tray trucks to be tethered or caged in a manner that prevents them from falling from the vehicle.
The only exemption is when dogs are actively working livestock.
The tether should only be long enough to permit the dog to stand, lie down and move about, but not so long that it could let the dog fall off the vehicle and be dragged or strangled.
Tethering dogs should always be regarded as a temporary, short-term method of restraint.
It is an offence to leave an animal unattended inside a motor vehicle when the outside temperature is 28 degrees or above, so be sure to make appropriate arrangements when you are travelling with animals.