How To Road Trip With Your Dog

Hit the road hassle-free with your four-legged friend.

Road trips are arguably the best way to see Australia, and there’s no better travel companion than your furry best friend. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as opening the car door and letting Baxter jump in.

While taking a road trip with your dog can be a fun and memorable experience, it can certainly have its challenges too. So, here are some tips from our friends at The Living Room and Ford to make sure that you and your four-legged friend are ready to hit the open road together.

Is Your Pet A 'Frequent Traveler'?

For some dogs, a drive is a life highlight (almost as good as a roll in some poop on the grass). For others, it can be a nerve-wracking experience that leaves them shivering and anxious. If your pet has never been on holidays before, consider taking a trial run. A test drive or two will help your dog get used to the vehicle and their harness and allow you to gauge how well they might travel when it comes to the real thing. You want your dog to be as relaxed and comfortable as possible for the big journey.

Chris Brown and Carbie doing some vehicle recon in the car park.
Buckle Up, Baby

Just like all passengers, your furry family members need to buckle up. Your local pet store can advise you on the different types of restraints available to help keep your dog safe in the car. A popular option is to use a harness that secures your dog by either linking to the seat belt system or using a seat belt attachment. For smaller dogs, booster seats or crates are another good option. Before you leave, check the laws that apply to transporting dogs by road in your relevant state.

Carbie, strapping in for the ride of his life.
Keep It Comfy

It’s important to keep your dog as safe and as comfortable as possible so they’re enjoying the road trip as much as you are. Try bringing along their favourite blanket and toys to make the car seem more familiar and homely. A good quality chew toy will pay for itself on a long car trip as it will help activate your dog’s brain and keep them busy for hours.

Carbie, 'chillaxing' in the car with his favourite belongings.
Avoid The Dreaded Motion Sickness

Like humans, some dogs suffer from car sickness, so it’s best to give your dog a small amount of water and a light meal a few hours before you get in the car. Dr Chris also recommends making sure the movement of the car matches your dog’s view. Positioning your dog so they can easily see out the window (use a booster seat for smaller dogs) will help reduce the chances of motion sickness. Plenty of toilet breaks and lots of exercise along the way also make for a happy pooch.

Daisy Brown, road-ready in her adorable booster seat.
Pack The Essentials

Pack whatever you feel is necessary to ensure a safe and comfortably journey. Some suggestions include:

  • Your dog’s normal food and favourite treats
  • Food and water bowls, plus plenty of drinking water (sometimes it can be hard to find a tap on the way)
  • A big towel and basic grooming tools (in case your pooch gets wet)
  • Small plastic bags to pick up your pet’s poop
  • Your pet’s collar (with tags), leashes and harnesses
  • A waterproof sheet, paper towels and disinfectant (in case your dog has an ‘accident’)
  • Any necessary medications and a pet first aid kit
    Chris Brown helping Carbie settle in.

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