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Tips to make car travel easier with your cat or dog

With travel restrictions starting to lift around Australia, you might be considering a road trip to catch up with loved ones. It’s understandable if you wish to include your four legged family member on your excursion. Here are some tips to make the trip more smooth sailing for both you and your pet.


Preparation is the key. Think about what you might need on the journey as well as how you are going to keep your pet restrained. Pet carriers are an ideal solution particularly for cats as they should be restrained for everyone’s safety. Once frightened a cat could end up at the drivers feet near the pedals resulting in an accident. A frightened cat in an enclosed area is a recipe for disaster. Pet carriers can also be used for smaller size dogs whereas larger dogs can be fitted with a safety harness which attaches to a seat belt. It is important to make sure that your pet does not become airborne in the event of an accident.


If you intend to use a pet carrier, let your cat or dog sniff around it before the trip. Put their favourite bedding inside. Even feed them their meals and treats in there. You want them to feel positive around their pet carrier.


Take your pet on short journeys to get them used to the car. You want them to associate good feelings with being in the car. Offer them treats and lots of praise.


Don’t allow your dog to ride in the tray area of your ute. Those trays become extremely hot which could result in burnt paws and in the event of an accident your dog could sustain massive injuries.



It is also never a good idea to let your dog ride with their head sticking out the window. They may love the feel of the wind on their face but they could end up with dust and debris in their eyes resulting in an injury.


Never leave your pet unattended in a car as temperatures soar very quickly and dogs in particular are susceptible to heat stroke. Don’t be tempted to stop for groceries because just 10 minutes in a hot

car can be fatal for your cat or dog.


Pack a travel bag for your pet. Some essential items are :-

Food and water

Treats

Toys to keep them stimulated and provide security

A collar and lead for when you stop to stretch your legs

Doggy bags and a poop scoop

Wet wipes and kitchen paper for easy clean up

Consider putting 2 layers of bedding in the pet carrier with the top layer being disposable in case of accidents. It will make for a faster clean up as there is nothing worse than being in a confined area with that poop or vomit smell.


If your pet suffers from an upset tummy try to limit their food. Only feed them their own food (not the family takeaway). Feed them 2-4 hours before the journey.


Make sure the journey is as comfortable as possible. Check the air flow, stop for toilet breaks and to exercise your dog if it is a particularly long journey. This is also beneficial for the driver as well.


Fit your pet with a tagged collar showing your contact details. Make sure the microchip register has your up to date contact information. It would be your worst nightmare to lose your pet along the way but this has happened.


Check with your local travel authorities to find out what the rules are regarding travelling with your pets. You may not be aware that you can lose demerit points on your licence by travelling with an unrestrained pet.


As much as you would love to have your buddy sat at your side on the journey it is not recommended because in the event of an accident the airbag might deploy causing injury or death to your dog. They should be kept in the back of the car for their safety.


Hopefully by following the tips above you will have a stress free journey with all family members including your beloved pet. Happy motoring and enjoy the ride!


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