Going on a road trip can be great fun, especially when the whole family, including the four-legged members are able to go. Sometimes the thought of a car trip with dogs can be a bit daunting, especially if your dog gets nervous or over-excited in the car. Here are some top tips to make your car trip as safe and enjoyable as possible for you and your pooch.
- Plan your route before you leave so that you know where you are going and where you will be able to stop. Make sure that all breaks and the final destination are dog friendly to avoid any added stress or disappointment.
- Restrain your dog safely either in a crate/cage that is correctly secured or using a car restraint. There are a number of car restraints available in harnesses or leads that can attach directly to or clip into the seat belt. The laws in Australia that govern how a dog must be restrained in a car for travel are different in each State and Territory. So be sure to check with your state government on the laws before setting off on a trip.
- Try and stop every 4 hours for at least 15-30 minutes, giving you and your dog plenty of time to stretch out and get some fresh air before hitting the road again.
- Exercise your dog before they get in the car and when you take breaks. This will help burn off any extra energy and hopefully make it easier for them to rest in the car.
- Feed your dog a small meal at least a few (3-4) hours before you leave on your trip. Never feed them while the car is moving and only feed them a very small amount, or preferably not at all, when on breaks. Be sure to offer them water when on breaks.
- Take their favourite blanket or bed to make them comfortable. Also take some toys to help amuse them during the trip.
- Never leave them alone in the car. Cars can get very hot, even with the window open, which can very quickly become dangerous and life threatening.
- Do not get distracted. Remember that the most important thing is that you all make it to your destination safely. So do not let yourself get distracted by your dog as it could lead to an accident.
Keeping these tips in mind why not set off on a road trip with your pooch and enjoy spending some time with mans best friend.
Originally published in My Pet Magazine Autumn 2015.
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