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Summer travels with Charlie, Luna and Gucci

So you’re off on summer holidays and you want to take Luna, your four-legged friend. First, ask if it’s a good idea to take her with you. Second, prepare to make her (and you) comfortable and happy on the way. Plus a few tips about what not to do.

Should you travel with your dog?

Nearly half of Australian households own at least one dog, and that’s over 10% more than before the pandemic. Naturally, you want to take Daisy with you on holidays. Whether you do or don’t depends on:

  • How you plan to spend your time. You can’t take dogs on cruises, to many hotels, into marine parks, state forests, walking trails, art galleries, shops, or inside cafes and restaurants.
  • How well she travels by car. You need to stop every 2 hours to give her water and toiler breaks and make sure she’s on a leash and can’t run off.
  • Personality. Will she get anxious, stressed or aggressive, or yap all the time in unfamiliar circumstances?
  • Energy levels. Energetic puppies might not like long journeys or being cooped up in a caravan for too long.

You know Milo better than anyone, so decide whether to take him with you, check him into a pet hotel or find a reputable dog sitter. He will have to trust his sitters enough not to bark excessively or try to escape. Of course, you will want to stay in contact with your dog sitter or pet hotel.

Are you flying this Summer?

In Europe and the US, dogs are allowed to travel in plane cabins. In fact, the Civil Aviation Authority in Australia also allows this, as long as it does not hinder aviation safety. However, none of the airlines is currently convinced about having Chilli in the cabin.

All pets (except guide dogs, hearing dogs or assistance dogs) must still travel in the cargo hold.

Are you going on a road trip?

A Summer road trip might be fun for the family, but not necessarily for Bella. Some dogs even get car sick. Here are some things you should pack:

  • Baby wipes, towels and poo bags
  • Collapsible bowl for food and water
  • Familiar items, such as favourite toys, food and bedding
  • A good paper photo of Bella in case she gets lost.

It’s a good idea to plan your breaks on the way. As well as stopping to rest every 2 hours, consider your other needs. Find out in advance which cafes and restaurants are dog friendly. While only service dogs can legally enter the indoor area of a restaurant, many cafés and pubs are happy to have Coco in their outdoor courtyard.

Is the car suitable for a dog?

It’s likely that if you have a dog, you have a car he can ride in. But if you’re looking for a rental car, it’s a different matter. You might want to look for a large boot space and boot opening, with a decent loading height so Teddy can readily jump in.

Look also for some kind of pet tether. Did you know having an unrestrained dog may be comparable to using a mobile phone in the car? You may be tempted to admire and pat your Charlie at just the wrong moment. Even so, 70% of NSW dog owners already tether their animals in the car. They usually prefer a harness and tether attached to a seat buckle. Also look out for:

  • Leather seats because they are hardwearing and easy to wipe down or fit a seat cover to protect Frankie’s spot.
  • Good climate control in Summer because dogs don’t go well in hot cars.
  • Window locks and child locks. If Frankie is a lively spaniel or excitable terrier who likes looking out of windows, he may lean on the window or door opening mechanism.

What not to do when travelling with dogs

You can’t drive with Archie on your lap. The penalty for this is $464, 3 demerit points and perhaps a severely injured dog. However, if he sits on your passenger’s lap, it could be just as dangerous. Animals can distract, block the driver’s vision and can also be killed if the front airbags inflate in an accident.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act says you can’t put Dougal in the boot of a sedan, leave him alone for more than 10 minutes in heat above 28 degrees, or transport him untethered in a ute. The fine for the last offence is $5,500 or imprisonment for 6 months – or both.

Whether it’s Gucci, Pepe, Yoda, or Bundy, they’re going to be a big and wonderful part of your Summer trip. So take care by preparing well for them and the rest of you.

Tip: Count the popular dog names. If you’re right, you may get a visit from Santa.

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Corrina Baird

Writer and Researcher, greenslips.com.au

Corrina used to lend her car to her kids and discovered what Ls, Ps and demerits mean for greenslips. After 20 years in financial services and over 9 years with greenslips.com.au, she’s an expert in the NSW CTP scheme. Read more about Corrina

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