If you are planning your dog-friendly road trip in Australia - then this guide has everything you need to get started! This guide will feature an array of beautiful destinations to explore, practical steps to help your dog enjoy the journey & the ultimate dog road trip packing list.
Plus we’ll answer common questions like…how can we keep pups safe in the car? And how often do you need to stop on a road trip with your dog?
First Things First
Before you even begin to think about em-bark-ing on a trip with your pooch in tow, it’s important to ask one major question…do dogs like road trips?
The answer depends entirely on your dog’s individual experiences and personality:
- Are they thrown off by any major changes in their routine, or are they a happy-go-lucky type?
- Do they have experience travelling for longer periods of time or are they new to the car entirely?
- Do they travel well, or do they have any history of travel sickness or anxiety on the road?
If your dog seems happy whilst on the move, then the chances are they will LOVE the chance to explore with you. If your dog is relatively new to travelling, start small by taking them on short, positive outings to new places to help them acclimatise to wanderlust.
By nature, most dogs are adventurous beings that relish novelty - especially new smells to sniff - which makes them excellent travel buddies. But only you know your dog best, so make the decisions and put in the practice that you know will benefit them.
Whilst road tripping might seem to be all about freedom and impulsiveness, when it comes to travelling with your dog planning and preparation are key. It’s important to factor in your dog to every stop you plan to make along the way.
Bear in mind the following when deciding where to road trip with your dog:
- Leaving dogs alone in a car is a big no-no. Not only can cars become too hot or too cold very quickly, but dog theft has risen dramatically in recent years. This means you need to be able to keep them with you at all times on the road.
- Plan your route ahead of time, marking pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, trails and activities along the way.
- Factor in that you may move a lot slower than you would alone, as you’ll need plenty of pee breaks. How often to stop on a road trip with a dog? Plan for at least every 3-4 hours to allow them to stretch their legs and relieve themselves. A high-energy dog might need more breaks to stay happy.
- Make a note of vets along the route in case you need them on hand in an emergency. If you can, make sure you are never more than an hour's drive from a practice - this way you can relax in the knowledge that they will be available in any emergency.
The Dog Road Trip Packing List
To get ready for your trip, you’ll want to make sure you stock up on all the basics, as well as investing in some dog car travel essentials.
- Food - Make sure you pack enough food (plus a contingency) for the entire trip.
- Bowls - To make your life easy, invest in some travel bowls that can come with you wherever you go.
- Water - A portable water bottle is essential, especially if you plan on hitting the trails.
- Car Safety - Probably one of the most important parts of your preparation is ensuring you have the right equipment to keep your dog safe and comfortable in the car. Make sure they are securely fastened with either a tether, or a purpose-built car harness. Smaller dogs will benefit from being able to see out (which can reduce car sickness) so invest in a booster seat. We have a full range of dog car travel products you can browse to find the option that’s best for you.
- Secure Harness & Leash - Whether you are sightseeing in cities or hitting remote trails, a secure walking harness is an absolute must to avoid losing your dog in unfamiliar territory. The 4Pooch Control Harness features a H style fit and fully adjustable straps - meaning your dog won’t be able to wriggle free. Combine this with the matching Multi-function Lead to give yourself the control you need in any situation.
- ID Tags - In most states in Australia, including NSW, your dog must wear a tag with your phone number or address when it’s outside of your property. Check out our range of Dog Tags if your dog tag needs an upgrade.
- Treats & Treat Pouch - Training our dogs never really finishes, and a road trip is a fantastic opportunity to train your dog. To keep their attention in new and exciting environments make sure you have some healthy, tasty treats easily to hand. Our Dog Training Treat Bag Kits are the perfect place to start if you don’t have the right equipment for the job.
- Toys - Toys are a fantastic way to quickly exercise your dog at a stopping point, and a great way to help them feel reassured in a new environment. Check out our range of outdoor toys, as well as the amphibious range for water pups!
- Poop Bags & Holder - Never be caught without again with our handy Poo Bags & Dispensers.
- Travel Shower & Towel - If there’s a chance your dog’s going to get mucky on their adventures, a Travel Shower & Microfiber Towel are an essential addition to your packing. These towels allow you to quickly get your pup clean and dry, before hopping back into the car.
- Documents - Check and make copies of your important health and insurance documents for your dog. This way you’ll be fully prepared and covered for any eventualities or entry requirements along the way.
- Medication - If your dog is taking any medication, be sure to pack enough for your trip in a secure location.
Stay Safe, Enjoy The Road
Taking a road trip with your dog in Australia comes with some unique safety precautions you’ll need to take into account. Knowing these risks can help you to both enjoy your trip, safe in the knowledge you are prepared.
- Stay Alert - As with any outback or remote area trails, it’s best to leave the headphones at home and stay alert for any wildlife that may come your way. Both those that could be a threat to your dog, and those that might tempt any prey-driven pooches to take chase. It’s also important to know that wild dogs can be prevalent in some areas - and not all of them are friendly. So make sure to keep an eye out whilst you enjoy the trails, and if in doubt keep your dog leashed.
- Be Aware Of Bait - Sodium fluoroacetate, more commonly known as ‘1080 bait’, is a highly toxic pesticide used in some parts of Australia, often bushland and reserves. There have been several cases of accidental poisoning in pet dogs that have ingested 1080 bait either its pure form or the carcass of an infected animal. If the area you are in is affected, the safest thing to do is muzzle your dog. This way they can enjoy the trail without the chance of ingesting anything they shouldn't.
Dog Friendly Road Trip Destinations in Australia
To help you get started on planning your amazing adventure, here are some top destinations to consider:
- Byron Bay, NSW - A popular tourist hub for good reason, Byron Bay has a host of different beaches where dogs are allowed to roam without a leash; Belongil Beach, Suffolk Park and Tallows Beach to name a few. As it’s a busy spot, head out early in the morning to make the most of the scenery with your dog.
- Nelson Beach, NSW - No visit to New South Wales is complete without a visit to the beautiful Mimosa Rocks National Park. But hiding within is the pristine Nelson Beach. Bring your dog and a surfboard, as it’s perfectly sheltered for ideal conditions.
- Wave Rock, WA - This breathtaking landmark is a must-see in Western Australia. This ancient rock has a distinctive shape thanks to years and years of erosion, something you and your dog should definitely tick off the bucket list. Don’t forget to get a selfie with your pup here!
- Egan Reserve, Victoria - This gorgeous reserve trail makes an ideal hiking spot to visit. Plus, you’ll find plenty of expansive grassy areas, perfect for a game of fetch. There are some designated off-leash areas too, where dogs can swim, paddle and play to their heart's content.
And if you’d like a more in-depth approach to planning, definitely check out Travelnuity. Their informative guides help you theme your road trip - for example, you can plan a dog beach crawl, gourmet food & wine trip, visit historical landmarks or focus on State Parks and forest hikes.
Don’t forget to tag us @pittapatta_dog_boutique in your travel pics - we’d love to see you and your adventure hounds!