Traveling with a dog involves more than just loading Rover in the back seat and driving off-especially if you will be driving long distances or plan to be away for a long time. There are three things that matter when travelling in car with your dogs: preparation, preparation, preparation!
The RSPCA says it’s important that owners make sure their pet will be comfortable and safe during car transport. Here are our top tips for car travel with dogs
Tips for car travel with dogs – before you leave
- Check the laws regarding restraint of dogs, which can vary between Australian states and territories. Visit your local road safety authority’s website for information. Your dog should be restrained within the car to prevent your pet and passengers from getting hurt in a car accident. I suggest you check out the Victorian Government’s information on ‘Dogs On Moving Vehicles‘ (whether you are travelling to Victoria or not, this site has excellent information about dogs in cars).
- If you are using a travel crate – allow time for your dog to become familiar with the travel crate well before the journey. Make the crate a pleasant place by feeding your dog with a few treats inside the carrier. Make a cosy bed of familiar smelling bedding which can be used on the journey. Leave the crate door open and encourage your dog to go in and out, and sleep in it.
- Ensure your dog’s health is ok for travel, check vaccinations and worming are up to date.
- Research the destination for potential risks such as ticks and heartworm.
- Exercise your dog within 24 hours of departure to burn off some energy
- Withhold food for about four to five hours before the journey in case your dog is sick while travelling
Tips for car travel with your dog – during the journey
- Ensure your dog is restrained and has plenty of ventilation
- Do not let your dog travel with their head out of the car window. Particles of dirt can enter a dog’s eyes, ears and nose, causing injury or infection.
- Never leave your dog unattended in a car. Dogs in vehicles and on the back of vehicles can suffer from heat stress and exhaustion during the warmer months of the year.
- Allow for frequent stops for your dog to stretch their legs.
- Take your dog’s regular food and water (use a non-spill travel water bowl) for your dog for the journey
Enjoy the journey!