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Be Prepared Before Taking Your Dog on Your Next Holiday Road Trip

By Edited Feb 18, 2016 0 0

Planning Your Trip

It is exciting when you start planning a holiday vacation. Although when it involves taking a dog it needs a little more planning. Years ago you would not see a lot of people travelling with their dogs on caravan or camping holidays.  Today thousands of travellers include their pets in their holiday celebrations. I have written this article on travelling with dogs although the same applies for most pets.

Take Dog for Short Trips in the Car

Before even thinking of taking a road trip with a dog you should take him/her for short trips to get him used to travelling in the car. Make sure the dog is wearing a safety harness when in any vehicle. Dogs can suffer from motion sickness and may require medication.  A dog may associate a trip in the car to a vet, therefore, take him on fun trips to the park or beach to dispel this notion. When he is comfortable in the vehicle take the next step.

Titan waiting for caravan door to be opened

Come on Guys, let me in.  Titan is always in a hurry to get in the caravan when we stop to camp for the day. Hoping for a treat of course.

Authentic Puppia Soft Dog Harness, Red - Medium
Amazon Price: $20.99 $7.50 Buy Now
(price as of Feb 18, 2016)
Comfy padded safety harness for your dog. Adjustable quick release buckle comes in different sizes to fit all dogs.

Visit the Vet

Make sure your dog is up to date with the required vaccinations before leaving on holidays. Often while traveling you come across museums, art galleries or other places where you cannot take a dog.  To visit these places you can book your dog into kennels. Some veterinarians offer boarding facilities which allows you visit these places.

To do this you have to show their vaccination certificate before leaving them in kennels. Always keep these certificates handy as proof.

Microchip and Update His ID Tags

It would be horrible to lose your wonderful pet especially if travelling in the countryside; you should have your dog Micro chipped. This will identify your dog if it becomes lost. Make sure that if you change your phone number or move home that you have these details updated.  You can update these details online. Register your dog and attach his license tag to collar. Another useful thing is to engrave dogs name and phone number on a disk around his neck.

Comfort Trainer Head Halter, Black with Tan Nose Strap, Size 4
Amazon Price: $27.99 Buy Now
(price as of Feb 18, 2016)
This lead comes in three colors, red, black and tan. The lead fits comfortably over the nose which helps to control an excited dog especially when first training a dog to walk beside its handler.

Train your Dog to Walk on Lead

Even though parks accept dogs,  they must always stay on a leash.  Therefore, you have to train your dog to respond to your commands and walk on a lead. 

Traveling with a Dog in the Car

All dogs need restraining while in a vehicle. Many states in Australia charge a hefty fine when a dog is not restrained in a proper harness. 

By keeping your mate restrained in one of these harnesses he/she will not become a flying missile if you suddenly have to use your brakes, instead he will be held safe. You can walk your dog with most of these harnesses, simply click on the lead and go.

Water and Harness setup for our Dog in vehicle

We always have a water dish setup in front of our dog.   While restrained in harness he can still drink whenever he needs it while traveling. (ice cream container used for this picture)

Essentials to Pack for your Friend

 Like humans, dogs have specific needs when traveling.  Especially if traveling during the summer months, they need water. We always have a container of water positioned in front of Titan as we travel.  When he feels thirsty he helps himself to a drink.  Be aware, and look for signs of dehydration.  Our dog has little white flecks, like salt on his nose.  We use a small water spray bottle in the car to keep him cool.  Always carry extra water for emergencies.

Other Essentials 

  • Toys – Chewable ones to keep them occupied and toys that store food inside
  • Medications
  • Coat for the winter
  • Bedding
  • Flea and tick protection
  • Flea and tick removing brush, comb and shampoo
  • Poop bags
  • Treats
  • Food and bowl

  Pests and Poison Baits

  • Ticks can kill in a couple of days if not found quick.
  • Beware and keep an eye out for snakes when walking your pet in the bush
  • Make sure he/she does not pick up anything while out walking. Beware of Poison baits found in the bush and the city as birds often carry and drop baits anywhere.
  • Never leave water out overnight, especially in areas where cane toads live.

Toilet and Exercise Breaks


Stop to give dog exercise every 2 hours

Like humans, dogs need to do their business and enjoy a walk as they check out the area before this can happen.  Make sure you pick up his doggy doo, and place in a bin.

Heat in Closed Car

Never leave any pets inside a closed car in the summer. Even  when a window is left open an animal can still become dehydrated.

 Dog’s Head Out the Window

I understand that dogs love to have their head out the car window, although this is not good for the dog’s eyes. This is dangerous because their eyes can become damaged from flying sand, dust, rocks or insects.  Plus an electronic window can accidentally be activated forgetting about the dog.  Did you know that you can buy window guards that allow the wind through but not let the dog hang its head outside the car?

Prepare for overnight stays

Make sure you check that your intended place to stay accepts pets. More Caravan Park owners and managers have changed their rules and now allow pets into their parks. They realise they will lose money and customers if they did not change and accept travellers and their pets.

When holiday-makers cannot take their pets into a caravan park they make other plans like setting up their vans for free parking. In my opinion free camping is far better because you can relax more, without being cramped into a place with no room to move.

Some parks pack you in like sardines to make money. I recently stayed in an Adelaide Caravan Park and we could not even open our awning because the van next to us was so close. Whereas at free parks you can park where you choose within reason, and meet similar minded friends traveling with their pets.

Several places accept dogs in accommodation and cabins, although many will demand that the dog has to sleep in your car or outside.

Skin Irritations

Keep an eye on your dogs' skin when travelling.  They could suffer from a skin irritation, this may be caused from dried grasses. 

Conclusion:  We have traveled with our dog Titan for more than twelve years now and have enjoyed the experience of having him enjoying the trips too.  We have learned many of these things from this experience. I hope this article will help better prepare you before taking your next holiday with your pet. Plan and enjoy the holiday for both you and your pets and stay safe.

Dogs love to go swimming too

Titan fetching the ball.

Make your holiday fun for both you and your pets




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  1. "What do I need to know about taking my dog on a road trip with my family?." . 8/05/2015 <Web >

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