Dear Sarah,

We are going on a road trip during the school holidays and want to take our dog with us. Is there anything we should be aware of and where are the best places to stay.

Phillip C.

Hi Phillip,

Taking your dog on holidays with you can be loads of fun, but there are a few things to also keep in mind when you’re travelling with your furry family member.

Firstly, make sure that your dog is buckled in properly. Dog’s roaming around a moving vehicle is dangerous (and illegal) and in the unlikely event of an accident, a dog can easily become a projectile, putting them (and you) in serious danger. Either purchase a car harness from your local pet store, or buy a special lead that attaches to your dog and plugs straight into the seat belt. I normally recommend that dog’s wear a harness in the car rather than being secured via their collar, as sudden breaking could result in neck and spinal injuries.

Make sure that you take regular toilet breaks. The Roads and Maritime Services recommends taking a break every 2 hours to manage fatigue while driving, and this is a good opportunity to get out of the car, stretch your legs and allow your dog to go to the toilet. Driving for long hours can be boring for dogs too so take your dog for a 10 min walk and let them have a sniff so that they can get a bit of mental stimulation as well as relieve themselves. Make sure you keep them on lead at these times though, as rest stops are normally heavily populated by people and fellow motorists.

Many dogs will sleep in the car, but for those active pooches that like to be on the go, take something with you to keep them busy. A pig’s ear, bully stick or frozen Kong can do wonders to keep dogs busy for a while. Make sure you also have water handy though as these items can make them thirsty.

If your dog suffers from motion sickness or gets stressed in the car, these issues should be addressed before embarking on a long journey. There are things that can be administered to help with motion sickness, so check with your vet before you go.

As far as where to stay, there are a number of websites which advertise pet friendly accommodation. Check out www.holidayingwithdogs.com.au, www.doggyholiday.com or www.wotif.com/hotels/australia-pet-friendly-hotels. Make sure that the place you choose suits your needs. Will your dog be allowed inside with you? Is there a place you can leave them if you choose to go sight seeing? Do they offer doggie daycare? Where is the closest vet? Do they allow multiple dogs? Is there a restriction on the size of the dog? Researching the place you choose to stay at thoroughly will ensure that you and your dog have a spectacular holiday!