Off leash: top tips for travelling with your dog

RACV RoyalAuto magazine

Dog sitting in front of a car

Keep your dog happy and safe on your next road trip with these travel tips.

Update details

Before you head off on your trip, make sure your dog’s ID tag is in good condition and that their microchip information is up to date.

Health check

Check with your vet that your dog is up to date with vaccines and worming or tick treatment. “Depending on where you are travelling, there can be potential dangers for your pet,” says dog lover and veterinary nurse Lydia Rayner. “Paralysis ticks, for example, are more prevalent on the east coast.” Make a note of emergency vets in the area you plan to visit, in case internet access is problematic.

Pack a bag

Pack some travelling items for your dog such as a collapsible water bowl, snacks, blankets, wipes and plastic bags for any accidents. Towels can be useful too. “If you have an anxious dog, bring a comforter from home, such as their favourite toy or blanket,” says Lydia. “An adaptil (synthetic pheromone) collar or spray can help to calm and reassure anxious dogs.”

Place to stay

There are plenty of websites that list pet-friendly accom-modation. Try holidaywithdogs.com.au, takeyourpet.com.au, dogsonholiday.com.au, or simply search for “pet-friendly accommodation”. Before booking, check that the provider is as pet-friendly as you are. Some won’t allow pets inside, while others go to town with dog beds and treats.

Safely secure

Ensure your pet is secured in your car properly using a tested safety harness. “Don’t be afraid of using a crate to secure your dog on a road trip,” says Lydia. “A travel crate can double as a bed or pen while you’re away.”

On the road

In the car, make sure your dog has access to air via a vent or window. If your pooch likes to hang it all out the window, consider buying some “doggles” to protect their eyes from dirt and insects. Never leave your pet in the car alone and try to make regular breaks to let your dog stretch their legs. Consider a shade cloth, too, if the weather is going to be hot and sunny.

Looking ahead

Nissan X-Trail 4dogs concept car has the future of dog travel all sorted out. Its boot space is kitted out as a “bespoke travel space” for two animals, upholstered in wipe-clean leather, with a pull-out shower, fur dryer, ramp, “luxurious” bed, no-spill water bowl, treat dispenser, clip-on harness hook, “dog-cam” and audio link from the dashboard so owner and pet can keep in touch. Other car manufacturers, take note.

Members save

Don’t want to take your pet on the road? RACV members save 10% when pre-booking the Hanrob Pet Hotel. Go to racv.com.au/petboarding

Written by Jessica Hirst
May 19, 2017