If you have a pet, you’ll likely want to include it in family holidays. Here’s how to make travelling with pets a happy experience.
Travelling with pets: Yes or No?
Sometimes it’s better to leave your pet with friends or family while you’re away. If it’s an old or timid cat, an arthritic dog that has trouble getting around or a pup that barks at everything, the experience may not be worth it.
Domestic animals are rarely allowed in national parks, so if you plan to do a lot of bushwalking or free camping, you might want to leave Fido at home.
Otherwise, there should be no reason why your pet can’t share your adventures on the road.
- Some caravan parks do not allow dogs, so check for pet-friendly ones where you’re heading.
- Query your roadside assistance provider’s rules on towing broken-down vehicles with pets on board, as some do not allow it.
- Have your pet fully vaccinated; pack its registration papers and medical history.
- Keep flea and tick treatments handy.
On The Road
Provide a comfortable bed for your pet, keeping in mind it has to cope with sudden braking or swerving. Whether or not you restrain it will depend on the animal, but it should know to stay in the back seat so it doesn’t distract the driver. Plan to stop every few hours so it can have a run, drink and wee break and don’t ever leave it locked in your car.
Doggie Dos and Doggie Don’ts
- For your peace of mind and other travellers’ wellbeing, your dog needs to respond immediately to your command. If it doesn’t, send it along to obedience classes before leaving home.
- Most parks will require that your pet be kept on a leash and doesn’t infringe on other campers’ space.
- Carry litter bags and clean up after your dog – every time.
Cats are usually not fond of car travel and spend the time complaining from the furthest corner they can find. But once they’re used to it, they can be easy companions.
- If you’re determined to take moggie on the road, start with short trips to get it used to the vehicle and motion; you’ll soon get a clear idea whether it will ever settle in.
- Train it to walk in a harness so you can exercise it outside without running the risk of losing it in the bush.
- Set up a portable cat run under the caravan when parked.
- Have a litter tray handy and keep it fresh so the cat won’t prefer to go elsewhere.
Travelling with pets can be a delightful experience once you both adjust to the different routine. Make allowances for your pet’s particular needs and idiosyncrasies and it will reward you with affection and joy.
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(Photo credit – Lynne Reardon)