Travelling safely with your pet

Have you been dreaming of your next road trip? The lure of the open road is especially tempting, given that we have the June school holidays just around the corner.

Holidays are always welcome, and this time, you might even want to bring your furry friend along for the ride. While a trip with the family and your pet can be fun, it can also present some challenges.

Pets can become restless and behave in ways that are not safe, such as jumping into your lap while you are driving or hanging their head out the window. Distracted driving can pose various dangers to your family. It is imperative that you, the driver, remain focused on the road. Stay safe with these handy suggestions to make your road trip with your pet, as safe, enjoyable, and trouble-free as possible:

  • Plan a pet-friendly route: When you are on a road trip with your dog, you will have to plan around their needs—and that means pulling over for potty breaks and exercise. Check to ensure your route has various safe places to let your pet stretch their legs (away from the main road). Find a safe spot to pull over and take a break. It is important for you to stretch your legs as well.
  • Take practice trips ahead of time: Consider trying behavioral techniques if you know your pet is particularly anxious during vehicle trips. Before going on long road trips with your pet, take short practice trips that end in positive experiences for them. This will help them form more positive associations with driving.
  • Check-in with your vet: If your pet has existing health issues, ask about how travel may affect them, and make sure your pet’s vaccines are up to date. You can use your visit to the vet to ask about anti-nausea or stress-reducing aids that may be useful for your pet during your trip.
  • Pet friendly accommodation:  This might seem obvious but can be overlooked. Please check with the establishment prior to booking, to see if the facility is pet friendly.
  • Pack the essentials: It is a good idea to travel with your pet’s necessities. Packing your pet’s food and water, treats, medicine, toys, blanket, feeding bowls, and other supplies, is a must! Do not forget to bring equipment to pick up pet waste so that it can be disposed of as and when required (i.e., walking on the beach etc.)
  • Protect your pet and vehicle: The safest way for your pet to travel is in a carrier that is secured safely using the seatbelt. Make sure the carrier is large enough for your pet to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Having your pet roam freely in the vehicle is not a great solution – as they can and will distract you.
  • Tire your pet out: By ensuring your pet has used up all their pent-up energy, they will be more likely to just go to sleep in the vehicle. Play ball, fetch, chase, anything you can think of to get them sprinting around to burn up their energy – do this before the trip if possible.
  • Carry sufficient water: Pets will need water when travelling in a vehicle. You should ensure you have enough for the full road trip.

We hope that these tips can help you enjoy your road trip with your pet. Travelling with your pet does not necessarily have to be stressful. A calm, prepared owner usually has a calm pet. Have fun on your adventure! Avoid unnecessary distractions and enjoy your holiday. Wishing you safe travels!

As a client of African Independent Brokers, if you find yourself in need of emergency roadside assistance, do not hesitate to contact us on our Roadside Assistance line. We are available 24/7, ready and willing to assist you.

Roadside Assistance number: 0861 001 002


African Independent Brokers (Pty) Ltd (Registration Number 2012/010479/07) is an Authorised Financial Services Provider (FSP38159)