Consider Going to the Vet Before You Go
A vet checkup is never a bad idea. If you’re going on a road trip and plan to be gone for a few weeks, then you may want to bring your dog in for a checkup. The vet can give you a health certificate indicating your pet is healthy. They can also give you vaccination records and microchip information – all of which is good to have before you go on an adventure with your pet.
Take Your Dog on a Long Walk Before Getting in the Car
Dogs like to walk around all day. When they sit in a car for a long period of time, they naturally get uneasy. Save yourself trouble later in the road trip by taking your dog for a long walk before getting in the car. Repeat this every day before a big drive and you’ll have a much smoother road trip.
Bring a Jug of Water and a Bowl
It’s easy for you to grab a bottle of water at a petrol station. It’s not so easy for your dog. Make sure you bring a bowl you can use for water. Every time you get out to stretch or take a break, let your dog drink some water.
Consider Buying Safety Restraints
You’re legally required to wear a seatbelt when driving a vehicle in most parts of the world. But most of us don’t force our pets to wear seatbelts. That may change in the near future.
6 states in America already require some type of dog restraint for your animal when driving by car. Australian road rules aren’t as strict: in Australia, the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) advises that police can fine a driver and issue demerit points if “an animal is causing the driver to be not in full control of the vehicle, or if they are driving with a dog on their lap.”
That means you can’t drive with an animal in your lap, and that animals need to be seated or housed in an appropriate area of the vehicle. Dogs on utes also need to be restrained either via a tether or a cage to prevent them from falling off or being injured when the vehicle moves.
If you’re caught with an animal dangerously running around your vehicle, then you can be fined $425 and receive three demerit points. In certain situations, the RSPCA has also fined drivers under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
Whether you want to avoid a fine or protect your pet, a dog safety restraint isn’t a bad idea. They can protect your pet in the event of a collision while giving you valuable peace of mind during your drive. You can find them at any pet supply store.
Roll Up the Window
Yes, it’s funny to see your dog lean out the window with his tongue flapping in the air, but it’s not very safe: many dogs have been injured while doing this. Projectiles like gravel or rocks from the road might hit your dog. Or, there have been many cases were dogs just jump out of the window. Or, they could fall out when the window suddenly collapses or when the vehicle suddenly turns.
Just like with humans, it’s a good idea to keep your dog’s head inside the vehicle at all times.
Call Ahead to Make Sure Hotels and Campsites Are Dog-Friendly
A growing number of hotels and campsites across Australia are dog-friendly. Call ahead to make sure: you don’t want to be in a situation where you have to leave your dog in the car overnight.
By following these tips, you’ll be on the way to a memorable road trip in no time!