Make the most of a roadtrip with your dogs

roadtrip with your dogsroadtrip with your dogs
roadtrip with your dogsroadtrip with your dogs


Make the most of a roadtrip with your dogs

Dog owners love their dogs and will sometimes go through extraordinary lengths to keep them by their sides. Take the dog handbag, for example. So, it comes as no surprise that when it’s time for a roadtrip, people want to load their dogs into the car with the rest of the goods. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. There are so many places in South Africa that are pet-friendly and perfect for a whole family adventure.

If you’re planning a roadtrip soon, there are a few things you can do to make the most of it for you and your furry friends.


Know your destination

Before anything else, you need to research your destination. You need to make sure that every stop is a pet-friendly one and that the accommodation establishments you stay at are able and okay to cater for your dogs.

Take note of the wide open spaces along the route of your trip and set aside some time to spend there with your dogs. Also be sure to plan every rest-stop and try to time them with toilet breaks for every passenger in the vehicle.


Everything they need  

When it comes to packing, don’t leave out the doggy-bag with everything they need during the car ride and at the final destination. This includes their food, water, any medication (have their medical records and vaccination certificates on hand as well), beds, grooming supplies, poop bags (very important), their collar with updated contact ID details and a leash for rest-stop walks.

Before you go on your roadtrip, be sure to stop at your vet and ensure that your puppies have all the necessary shots and find out what they would recommend should there be any car sickness experienced along the way. They will probably also suggest that you take a pet first-aid kit with you in the event of an emergency.


Feed well before leaving

The rule of feeding before a roadtrip is to not feed them close to departure time. Feed them up to three hours before you drive and it will give them enough time to digest. Doing this will also decrease the chance of them becoming car sick in the car, which is something neither of you wants to deal with.


Seat belts buckled

Now that you know where you’re going and you’ve packed all the essentials, it’s time to strap your dogs in. Having your dog stick their heads out of the windows is adorable and all, but it isn’t safe for your dog’s eyes and is an opportunity (for the smaller ones) to jump out of the car. So, it’s not about looking cute or being funny, there are general road safety concerns with people who don’t secure their dogs inside vehicles.

The different options are dog seat belts, these are good for cars with minimal space or owners who’d prefer their dogs be able to move a bit in the car. There are also crash-tested crates and cages that are perfect for securing the dogs comfortably in the car, or you can get a dog safety seat. If you don’t need your boot-space and there is enough of an open area for your dog to stand up, lie down and have a blanket set up, that is also an option – as long as you prevent them from jumping over into the back seats.


Test drive

With your safety devices in place, it’s time to take your dog for a test drive or two… or three. This is a good way to see how they behave and whether or not they get car sick. You will also be able to determine whether your dog actually enjoys riding in the car. You might find that the mess that is left in your car after only a short trip might lead you to look at some of the latest used car sales to find a big, but not fancy, used car specifically for these pet roadtrips.

But, the more often you do shorter trips with them in the car, the more accustomed they become and that will make the longer roadtrips manageable. Take them to a park where they can run around and soon, just as they associate the sound of the choker chain and leash with a walk, they’ll associate hopping in the car with a fun outing.


Canine entertainment

The problem with longer roadtrips is keeping your dogs entertained. Don’t forget to bring along some of their favourite toys to chew and cuddle throughout the trip. Otherwise, you’ll have very restless passengers whining the whole way.

Another way to keep them entertained and calm during the drive is by making stops along the way. 15-minute breaks after every four hours or so should be enough to let them do their business, get some energy out and be ready for the next stretch. Getting rid of their energy is one of the better things you can do to make the car ride a pleasant one.


roadtrip with your dogs