How to have a pawesome road trip with your four-legged friend

gotU’s go-to tips for safe car travel with your pet this summer

Aussies are a nation of pet lovers, and with almost two in five households owning a dog2 it comes as no surprise that many of us might opt for a holiday that includes our furry family member. If you have plans to travel by car this summer with your four-legged friend, gotU roadside assistance has a few handy tips for safe pet road trippin’:

No cuddles in the car – it’s against the law

In many Australian states it is illegal to have a pet sitting in your lap while you’re driving[1] (much like children), so your pet will need to be strapped in by a tether or housed in a dog carrier or crate. If you are caught travelling with your pet not properly secured, depending on your state or territory, you could be fined – and if your beloved pooch was injured in an accident as a result of not being harnessed correctly, you could even face jail time. So, in the spirit of keeping Fido safe and your family out of trouble, it’s important to make sure you have a secure option in place:

  • A transport crate is a great option to keep your pooch safe while on the road. It should be structurally sound, well ventilated and securely fastened in place
  • A dog harness is a popular way to keep your pet secure in the car, while still giving them a little bit of freedom to move around
  • Cargo barriers are a viable option if you have a large vehicle like a van or SUV as they are adjustable and can be easily installed and removed

Have a plan if you break down

If your car breaks down and you have your pooch in tow, you’re going to want assistance quickly – especially if the weather is hot. It’s really important to make sure you’ve got a plan in place for any roadside emergencies. You can download the free gotU roadside assistance app prior to your trip for peace of mind that assistance is available 24/7, should you need it. You can even track the journey of your roadside assistance provider as they make their way to you through the app, so you’ll always know how far away help is – pretty handy when you have your pet with you! You should always pack a first aid kit before you set off in case of an emergency to keep your pet, and your family, safe.

Car essentials to keep your pet happy

  • It may sound obvious, but don’t forget to pack plenty of water – at least 2-3 litres. A portable water bowl is also a good idea, so your pooch can keep hydrated during your journey
  • If you’re anticipating warmer weathers, make sure your vehicle’s air-conditioning system is functioning or look into purchasing a cooling blanket that can keep your pet’s temperature down and maximise its comfort
  • Treats and toys are a must to keep your pet entertained during long car journeys
  • If your pooch is basket-trained, bring it along. It will provide your pet with a familiar sleeping spot, whether that’s in the back seat of your car, hotel or family member’s home. Sometimes a new environment can be over-stimulating, so this is a sensible option if you want to give your pet quiet time to rest

Mark Longmire, gotU roadside assistance mechanic from GC Roadside says, “It’s important for drivers to remember that no matter how short the trip, pack essentials for your pet like plenty of water, pet food and bedding. You never know when you might have a breakdown, so it’s best to be prepared at all times.”

Don’t forget, travelling is just one part of your trip – the real fun starts when you reach your destination!

If you’re heading on a trip by car this summer and are still planning your itinerary, gotU has compiled the top pet-friendly destinations to consider for you and your furry friends:

  • Pearl Beach is a beautiful off-leash beach on the Central Coast, New South Wales, less than two hours by car from metropolitan Sydney and located close to other popular hotspots like Terrigal beach and Avalon beach
  • South Beach in Fremantle is one of Western Australia’s finest dog beaches, with plenty of parking. It is also renowned for having Instagram-worthy sunsets, so be sure to have your camera phone ready!
  • Nudgee Beach, Brisbane is one of Queensland’s best pooch-friendly beaches, with plenty of space to roam around – it even has a dog swimming area for your pet to have a paddle
  • Henley Beach in Adelaide is one of South Australia’s most popular on-leash dog beaches, with several pooch-friendly cafes along the Esplanade close to the beach. Local eatery Malobo even has an Instagram account called @dogsofmalabo dedicated entirely to featuring its four-legged customers!
  • Sandown St Beach (also known as Brighton Dog Beach) in Melbourne is one of Victoria’s most popular dog beaches as it is off-leash 24/7 all year round, so Fido can run free at all times

Last but not least, don’t forget to check the details of your destination online before visiting, as in some pet-friendly areas dogs are only allowed off-leash at certain times throughout the day.

[1] Source: https://www.dogculture.com.au/rules-and-regulations-for-car-travel-with-your-dog/

2 Source: http://www.ava.com.au/news/media-centre/hot-topics-4