So you’ve been thinking of that family holiday for a while now...you’ve finally got the time and you have your caravan or motorhome eagerly awaiting to feel the wind in it’s errr...metal?
But one thing is stopping you, you want your family to have a fantastic trip but you don’t want to leave without your trusty companion, your best friend, the family dog.
Here’s our hot tips on getting your dog ready to travel with you in the car.
1. Make sure your dog is comfortable with travelling in a car
This is very important if your dog is going to be travelling potentially long distances for hours at a time. From an early age make sure you take your dog on regular car trips so she’ll get use to it - therefore minimising the likelihood of getting car sickness and anxiety when she is older.
If your dog is already past the puppy stage, and you know she has the tendency to get car sickness or anxiety, practice getting her in the car, when it’s parked, with treats and lots of praise. When you feel she is ready for the car to be in motion start by driving only short distances (10 minutes to start) then slowly increase to longer periods. When your dog is comfortable with car travel (and you don’t need treats to get her in the car!) don’t feed her directly before she gets in the car - this will decrease chances of vomit on car seats. If you’ve tried everything and your dog still gets car sickness, another option is to purchase anti-nausea tablets from your vet.
2. Know the rules and regulations of dog car travel
A few specific laws regarding dogs are vital to know before you make tracks:
- The animal must not be on the driver’s lap whilst driving
- Animals should be seated or housed in an appropriate area of the vehicle
- Dogs on utes should be restrained via a tether or cage to decrease risk of injury when vehicle is moving.
Please note rules and regulations differ slightly depending on the state you are in, make sure you check the relevant state's laws you are travelling in.
3. Restrain your dog properly
To insure the safety of your dog is maximised, if you were ever in an accident, you need to find the right dog restraint
. Do your research! Some restraints are not crash safe so make sure you have a crash tested dog restraint to keep your furry friend as safe as possible.
The types of restraints you can get vary - some attach to the seat belts and others clip directly into the seat belt. You then attach this to the dog’s collar or harness. Another option is a transport container or crate
, which needs to be secured appropriately in the car. These allow your dog to move freely and lie down in a comfortable position. Another positive is a restraint or container will decrease any distractions to the driver.
4. Make your dog feel at home
Bring your dog’s favourite toy and blanket along for the ride. She will be more comfortable with the familiar smells surrounding her and therefore be less likely to fret. You must never leave your dog in the car! Dog’s suffer from the heat stress very easily and can suffer brain damage or die in only 15 minutes from being left in a car.
5. Take regular breaks whilst on the road!
Once you are on the road make sure you are stopping regularly to let your dog do her thing. Your dog has a smaller bladder than you and may not be happy to “hold on” for several hours. Make sure you are stopping at least every 1-2 hours for your furry friend. Incorporate these stops into to your travel itinerary as toilet breaks, sightseeing spots or lunch breaks. Make sure you bring a dog water bowl and to let her re-hydrate. The pop-out kind are perfect for storing in the car, you can also get an anti-spill dog bowl so your dog can stay hydrated during the drive.
If you are dying for that perfect holiday but it includes a bunch of activities that you simply can’t take the dog on, a pet-minding service may be what you need. Services, such as Mad Paws
, let’s you search for your perfect dog-sitter in a particular location.
Here are 10 holiday parks that are pet friendly! Make sure you check with management prior to booking for a site or cabin.
1. Big4 Rivershore Resort, NSW – (sites only - outside school holidays) QLD
2. Ingenia White Albatross, NSW – (sites only)
3. Ingenia Mudgee Valley, NSW – (sites and cabins)
4. Ingenia Albury, NSW – (sites only)
5. Goondiwindi Holiday Park, QLD (sites only)
6. Murray Bridge Tourist, SA (sites only)
7. Cohuna Waterfront Holiday Park, VIC(sites only)
8. Pink Lake Tourist Park, WA (sites only)
9. Henty Bay Beachfront Holiday Park, VIC (sites only)
10. Leisure Ville Holiday Centre, TAS (sites only)
Thanks to Campstay for providing this fantastic list of dog friendly parks!
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