There's nothing like jumping in the car and heading off on an adventure. And who better to take with you than your dog?
Going on a 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 rules
The rules about driving with a dog in your car are different from state to state, so it's important to do your research before setting off.
In Western Australia, dogs mustn't be in a position where they can distract the driver or block their vision. They're also not allowed on the driver's lap.
You could get a fine if your dog gets injured because it wasn't restrained properly in the car, so having safe and comfortable restraints in place is essential.
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.
If you have a ute and transport your dog in the tray, they should be caged or tethered to keep them safe.
Make sure any tethering rope is long enough to let your dog move around comfortably, but short enough that they can't reach the sides of the ute. Avoid using choker chains.
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.
Planning ahead 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 you can do in the area where dogs are welcome. Not all national parks in Australia allow dogs, but with a little 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:
Treats and dog food
Lots of water
Food and water bowls
Dog poo bags
First aid kit
Seat belt restraint or pet crate
Towel or seat covers to protect the car
Brush or small battery operated vacuum to clean up
Take frequent rest breaks
Just like you need to stretch your legs and have a bathroom break when travelling a long distance, so does your dog! Whatever towns you're passing through, look out for parks and rest stops where you can pull over and let your pooch have a run around.
Give them a drink of water and a chance to relieve themselves. If your dog gets restless during car rides, giving them regular exercise breaks may help them feel more relaxed.
Don't leave your dog in the car alone
On hot days, dogs can find it difficult to regulate their body temperature and can quickly overheat if left in a car alone.
If you can't bring your dog with you, see if you can tie them up somewhere outside, or leave someone with them in the car with the engine and air conditioner running.
For dogs that are in a ute tray, remember that the tray can overheat on hot days and burn their paws. Place some carpet or other soft material in the base of the tray to protect your dog's feet.
What's the best car for driving with a dog?
Big 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.
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 in a safe and comfortable way.
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 on 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 care free to take road trips with your dog? Check out the range of options at Melville Mazda, or book a test drive with us today!