Top tips for travelling with your dog over the holidays
We've almost made it! The summer holidays are just around the corner, and with them a much-needed (and much-deserved) end-of-year holiday break. It's the perfect time of year to explore new places and get outside with your dog
Whether you've already locked in a trip with your pet or were on the fence about bringing them on the road this holiday season, here are our tips to make it easier.
Plan for the journey ahead
Before any holiday, you need to make sure your destination is pet friendly. If you're going to be spending time in towns and cities, find pet-friendly restaurants and activities.
When planning your trip, it’s also important to consider your dog's breed and physical fitness. For example, you probably don't want to plan a hiking expedition in the mountains with your Pug or take your Husky to a hot part of the country. Also, make sure you know the ins and outs of taking your dog to the beach to make sure they're safe on the sand and in the surf.
Staying safe in the car
Taking your dog on a classic Aussie road trip can be lots of fun. But safety needs to come first.
Just like humans, it's important to always remember to strap your dog in while driving. In Australia, it's illegal to have your dog on your lap while driving. Unrestrained pets can pose a safety risk and distract you, especially when sitting in the front of the car. And if you're forced to suddenly stop your car or swerve, your dog could be thrown into the dashboard or a window – or even out of the car altogether.
There are a couple great options for keeping your dog safe in the car: Dog seat belt/ harness. A dog seat belt typically attaches to or forms part of a harness, which locks into one of your car's existing seat belts or buckles to keep your dog secured in an upright sitting position. Seat belts can be fitted to your dog’s size to provide the safest, most comfortable fit.
Travelling crates. These are crates that can be securely fitted into the back of your ute or car. Your pup will be contained in the crate during the ride, so make sure it’s the correct size so they have enough room to sit, stand and turn around easily. Also, remember to throw in a towel and toy to keep them happy.
Keep all paws and heads inside the vehicle
It’s cute to watch dogs hang their heads out the window with their tongues out while enjoying the scenery. But resist the temptation, as doing so can be very dangerous. Their eyes will be exposed to rocks, dust and other flying debris that can cause serious injury.
Also, if your dog isn't properly strapped in, they could fall out of the window while the car is moving.
You can both still enjoy some fresh air. Just remember to keep your dog securely strapped in and have the window down just a bit to keep the summer breeze coming in.
Visit your vet before the trip
The holiday lead up is a great time for a check up. Before you take off, make an appointment to ensure your dog is happy and healthy to travel. This includes getting all their vaccines and records up to date, including their flea, tick, intestinal worms and heartworm prevention.
Make sure your dog's microchip details are up to date, especially with the correct phone number/s. It's also smart to ensure your phone number and contact details are on their collar as an emergency backup in case your dog goes for a little wander.
Pack the essentials
Be sure to pack your dog’s food, along with any measuring cups you require. You can also measure out individual portions into containers before you leave.
You'll also need to bring lots of water for your dog. Your dog can dehydrate easily while on holidays, especially if you're having a lot of active fun outdoors. Pack a travel bowl and make frequent stops to give your dog a chance to drink and toilet.
If your dog is prone to motion sickness, don't feed them within 3-4 hours of travel. But do provide regular drinks of water before and during the trip.
Pack a doggie bag
While you can sometimes combine family members' clothing into one suitcase or bag, it's a good idea to have a separate bag for your pet. This keeps things more organised and can help ensure you don't forget anything. It also makes it easy to find the essentials during the journey.
Pack your dog's leash, harness, bowls, toys, food, medications and bedding.
Never leave your dog unattended in the car
While road-tripping with your dog, it may seem tempting to quickly leave your dog in the car while you run into the shops. But the Australian sun is brutally hot, and your car can heat up extremely quickly, putting them at risk of fatal heatstroke within minutes. So just take your dog with you wherever you go.
Make copies of vet records and know where the local vet is
In case of an emergency while on holiday, bring your dog’s medical records and important medical history in a small folder or saved as photos on your phone. Also, research vet locations near your holiday destination so you can be fully prepared if anything goes wrong.
Prepare for take-off
If you plan on flying, you should know that many Australian airlines only allow dogs to travel in the cargo hold. Before booking anything, speak to the airline so you're clear on any restrictions they may have. This will help you best prepare yourself and your pet for flying. Allow your dog to spend some time in the pet carrier for a week or so before the journey - use it as a positive space by feeding them in there and providing treats in the comfort of their own home. This will allow them to become familiar and content with the carrier before flying. You can also ask your vet for specific tips that relate to your individual pet.
Travelling with your dog gives them a chance to experience new sights, smells and sounds outside of their usual routine. And sharing an adventure with your dog by your side can bring a whole new level of enjoyment to the holiday season.
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