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blog large image - How to road trip with your dog | Melville Mazda

How to road trip with your dog | Melville Mazda

Table of Contents

  1. Know the laws
  2. Understand pet safety in the car
  3. Go to the vet before you set off
  4. Plan ahead
  5. Pack the essentials
  6. Take frequent rest breaks
  7. Don't leave your dog in the car alone
  8. What's the best car for driving with a dog?
  9. Test drive the Mazda BT-50 today!


There's nothing like jumping in the car and heading off on an adventure. And who better to take with you than your four-legged friend?

Going on an epic road trip with your dog can be great fun, but it's important to plan out longer trips to make sure you and your pup stay safe and make the most of your time.

Here are our top tips for having a pet-friendly road trip with your dog—and our top pick of the perfect car for dog owners.


Know the laws

Driving laws with a dog in your car vary across states. Therefore, it's crucial to familiarise yourself with the specific regulations of your area before you begin your journey.

In Western Australia, dogs must be situated in a way that they don't divert the driver's attention or obstruct their view. Additionally, it's prohibited for dogs to sit on the driver's lap.

Failing to securely restrain your dog in the vehicle, resulting in injury, could lead to a hefty penalty. Thus, ensuring that your dog is safely and comfortably secured in the car is vital.


Understand pet safety in the car

Dogs that are unrestrained in the car could be seriously injured or put the safety of others in the car at risk if there's an accident. So in the interest of your pooch and other passengers, make sure they're secured properly.

There are plenty of seat belt restraints for medium and large dogs available at local pet stores. If your dog is too small for seat belt restraints, you can use a pet crate instead. Make sure it's secured to the car seat so it doesn't move around as you drive.

When transporting your dog in the tray of a ute, it's important to ensure their safety by either caging or tethering them. Additionally, if the dog is to be transported on the open back of a moving vehicle on a road, you must adhere to specific safety measures: the dog must be provided with adequate shelter during extreme weather conditions, and they must be suitably secured.

Make sure any tethering rope isn't attached to a choke chain and is long enough to let your dog move around comfortably, but short enough that they can't reach the sides of the ute.


Go to the vet before you set off

It's important that dogs are in good health before going on a long road trip, so it's a good idea to take your dog to the vet for a general health check-up before you set off.

If you are planning on crossing state borders, you may also need a current health certificate or vaccination records from your vet.

If your dog takes regular prescription medicine, make sure you have enough packed for the journey.


Plan ahead

Planning can make your road trip with a dog that much smoother. You may want to book accommodation in advance, especially if there's not much choice for pet-friendly accommodations where you're going.

It's also a good idea to note down where the local vets are, in case you need to visit them.

Research activities or dog-friendly destinations you can visit in the area, such as a dog park. Not all national parks in Australia allow dogs, but with a little bit of research, you can avoid disappointment.


Pack the essentials

Make sure you've packed all the things your pet dog will need for the long drive as well as anything they'll need at the destination.

Here's a quick road trip checklist for dogs:

      Favourite toys

      Treats and dog food

      Lots of water

      water bowl

      Walking leash

      Dog poop bags

      Grooming kit

      Dog bed

      First aid kit and/or medication that your dog might need

      Seat belt restraint or pet crate

      Towel or seat covers to protect the car

      Brush or small battery-operated vacuum to clean up

      Vaccination records


Take frequent rest breaks

On long journeys, it's as essential for your dog to take frequent breaks as it is for you. Be on the lookout for parks and rest areas in the towns you pass through, where you can stop and let your dog stretch, run, and play.

Ensure they have an opportunity to hydrate and go to the bathroom. Frequent exercise breaks can also aid in keeping your dog calm if they tend to become restless during car rides, contributing to a more relaxed travel experience for them.


Don't leave your dog in the car alone

Dogs struggle to manage their body temperature on warm days and can rapidly overheat if left alone in a vehicle.

If it's not possible to take your dog with you, consider securing them safely outside or ensure someone remains in the car with the engine on and the air conditioning active.

For dogs travelling in a ute tray, be mindful that the tray's surface can become extremely hot and potentially harm their paws. To safeguard your dog's feet, it's advisable to place carpet or a similar soft material in the tray's base.


What's the best car for driving with a dog?

Dog-friendly road trips are made so much easier when you've got the right car. Our top pick for the ideal car for dog lovers is the Mazda BT-50.

Here's why:

      Your dog will love the fresh air riding in the tray, and you'll appreciate having less mess on your car seats!

      The 4 tie-down points in the tub make it easy to secure your dog safely and comfortably.

      Up to 3.5 tonnes of braked towing capacity means you can bring a caravan or trailer with you on your adventures.

      Tough build for off-road activities, long drives and remote camping trips – which means you can go more places with your furry friend.

Plus, there's a whole range of genuine accessories to make any road trip with a dog that much better.

      A bed rug will offer more protection for your dog if they ride in the tub. A tub mat or tub liner will also be kind to your dog's paws and make it easier to wash down the car after a day at the beach or river.

      Seat covers will help protect your seats if your pooch is riding in the cabin with you.

      Tailgate assist offers hands-free lowering to make it easier to get your pup in and out of the tub.


Test drive the Mazda BT-50 today!

Looking for a new car that'll make it easier and more carefree to take road trips with your best friend? Check out the Mazda BT-50 at Melville Mazda, or book a test drive with us today!