Updated: 9 Road trip tips for traveling with your dog

With a little research and some planning, it’s possible to take your dog with on most road trips. If you’re going on an adventure with your four-legged best friend, follow the steps below to keep them safe and wagging their tails on the ride.

Before you leave for your road trip, buy your dog a sturdy collar and information disc with all your information, in case they get lost while on holiday. Only give your dog a small meal before the start of your journey – for obvious reasons!

Whenever you’re transporting precious cargo in your car, whether it’s your pet, kids, parents, or friends, you’ll want to ensure that your car is capable of completing the journey safely. Check when your next car service is due, and schedule a service two weeks before your trip if necessary. If you invest in a Service Plan through MotorHappy, the cost of the service would be covered by your monthly payments – which means your holiday budget remains untouched. Click here to get an online quote.

The safest way to travel with your dogs is to buckle them up. Secure them with special seatbelts, which you can buy from pet shops. If you need some guidance, chat to your vet about what suits their size the best.

A pet carrier or appropriate crate is best for small dogs so that they don’t run around. They’re also good for nervous or skittish dogs, who might feel more secure when they’re “contained”.

If Fido or Rex want to ride upfront or are missing you at the back, you don’t want them to jump on your lap or lick your face and distract you when you’re driving. You can get a barrier from a pet shop, which you can install to prevent your pooch from visiting to the front.

Just as humans need regular breaks on long drives, so too do dogs. Give them some fresh air, take them for a walk on a leash, and give them some dog biscuits and water. 

Disable the electric windows at the back, as your dog could accidentally press the button and get caught in a closing window or jump out of a wide-open window.

Dogs love sticking their heads out the window, but rather keep them inside as foreign matter could get into the ears and eyes while driving. If you want to give them window time, rather do it briefly on quiet or slower roads where there are less cars flying past. Make sure that the open window isn’t wide enough for them to jump out.

Monitor the temperature inside the car and make sure that it’s cool and comfortable.

Find a small bowl you can keep near your dog, maybe with a towel underneath, so your dog never has to feel thirsty.

Pack some dog treats, their favourite ball or blanket if they have one, a leash, and plastic bags for cleaning up after them.

For information on pet-friendly accommodation in South Africa, head to the Pet Friendly website.

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