With borders opening and holidays approaching, many families are planning to hit the road with four-legged family members, so here are a few things to think about:
Before You Leave
- Check your destination is pet-friendly.
- Ensure your pet is happy travelling in the car. Animals, like people, can suffer from motion sickness, so don't attempt a long trip until this has been overcome or at least become manageable. Fear or stress are common causes which can be helped by an experienced dog trainer using positive methods. Your vet may prescribe a sedative before travelling.
- Make sure pet vaccinations and registration and microchip details are current. Ensure you pet has a collar with an ID tag carrying a mobile number. Also, if travelling interstate, seek advice on specific precautions. For example are you going to an area where heart worm could be a problem? Consider pet insurance and a pet first aid kit.
- Contain or safely restrain pets during travel. As well as being a legal requirement, it helps protect your pet in the unfortunate event of a collision. Use an approved restraining device that fits snugly around the dog or, in the case of other animals, a suitable carrier secured in the car to prevent it moving. Dogs should only ever be in a ute tray when tethered in the centre of the tray with a suitable material restricting the dog's movements to the centre section of the tray. If travelling by boat or plane, contact the company beforehand.
- Animals should be well-hydrated before setting out. If your animal has vomited in the past, limit their food on the day.
On The Road
- Plan your journey to include lots of rests stops. Never leave pets in the car alone, even on a cloudy day with the windows down. Heat stress can kill quickly. Stop every two hours for a drink, a stretch and a toilet break.
- When you do stop, don't let your animal wander. Keep them on a leash or suitably restrained when away from the car.
- Try to keep them cool, relaxed and comfortable during the journey.
Once You Arrive
- Keep you pet close in unfamiliar surroundings as they may want to explore and easily become lost. They may also encounter many unfamiliar hazards ie strange animals, dangerous objects and ticks.
- Check with your host for pet 'no-go' areas. Obviously food preparation areas, playgrounds and national parks are included, but there may be others locally. Also, find areas you can take your pet like off-leash parks, and get the number of the local vet in case of an emergency.
- Finally, settle your pet with their favourite rug, toy and food and spend time acquainting them with the new surroundings. Include them in all outings and don't leave them at 'home' all day alone.