Handy tips for traveling with pets in a car

Handy Tips For Traveling With Pets In A Car

There are a lot of things that car insurance covers, but an overheated pooch’s vet bills ain’t one of them. Travelling with animals isn’t always easy, because they can get carsick, bored, restless, hungry, and downright irritating. It takes a little planning to make sure that they are comfortable, safe, and less likely to chew through your car’s interior.

Handy Tips For Traveling With Pets In A Car

If you are thinking about taking your pet on a trip, check out these handy tips.

If the crate fits…

Make sure that you have the right size crate, because if it’s too small or even too big, your pet could get hurt. Basically, your pet should be able to stand up, lie down, and turn around easily – and that includes making sure that their tail doesn’t get bunched up or hooked in the sides.

It’s also good to give your pet a designated spot in the car, so that they get to know “their” space and won’t get up to (too) mischief, cause an accident, or hurt themselves. This spot should not include your lap or the front seat as neither of these is particularly safe.

Oh, and an excellent tip to protect your car’s interior from hair and stains is to put down seat covers. You can even use an old sheet with plastic bags underneath.


Consider the temperature

There’s a major difference between a 2–minute dash into the corner café for a litre of milk and leaving your animal in the car for 10 minutes and longer… But to really understand the reality of what it means to them, here’s a handy table to show the rates at which temperatures increase in a parked car.

Time Temp (°C)
Your Starting Temp 21 24 26.5 29.5 32
10mins 31.5 34.5 37 40 42.5
30mins 40 42.5 45.5 48 51
60mins 45 48 50.5 53.5 56

Tips for traveling with pets

Plan a few breaks

No one likes being in the car for long periods of time. So, plan regular breaks around areas that are animal friendly, so that everyone can stretch their legs and get some fresh air. Just make sure you put your dogs on a leash so that they don’t cause any accidents, disappear, or get hurt.

Pack the necessities

Sometimes you might be heading out to wide, open spaces so that everyone can stretch their legs and take in the fresh air. Other times, your journey might involve several hours on the road.

Near or far, this handy checklist will give you a good idea of what your pet might need while they’re in the car:

  • Food and/or treats.
  • Bottles of fresh water.
  • Any meds that your pet is currently taking, including vet-prescribed anti-nausea meds.
  • A bag for leashes and food/water bowls.
  • Pet-friendly wet wipes, paper towels, and poop bags for any (inevitable) messes.
  • If they’ve got a favourite toy or blanket, bring it because pets enjoy familiarity.

The bottom line is that cars are one of the best ways to travel with your pets, so with these safety and comfort tips and a little prep work, you’ll all enjoy the journey and arrive at your destination safe and sound!

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3 comments

  1. This tips its very good but i don’t unfortunately i dont have any pet

  2. Seeing the rate at which temperature rises is just plain scary! Wow!!

  3. Elize Swanepoel

    These are great tips.

    I get boiling mad when I go to the mall or a shopping center, and I see a poor dog / dog’s left in a car over a long period of time. Even if the car is parked in a covered parking lot.

    Leaving them in a parked car in the sun is just horrendous. I feel so sorry for them and I know in some instances the security or people had to break the window in order to save the pet.

    But I see lately that people post the registration numbers and photo’s of the pets locked in a car on our local groups.

    This will make the owner think twice (hopefully) before doing so again and to create awareness. But you still get people that are completely arrogant and that doesn’t give a damn.

    If you plan to do shopping for an extended period of time, rather leave the dog at home.

    The few times that we traveled with Grietjie, my little dog, I had her sitting or lying at my feet on a continental pillow with her own blanket. Being close to me seemed to calm her down a bit. Generally, she doesn’t like traveling in a car at all, so I try not to submit her to this very often.

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