This excited Australian Shepherd dog gets comfortable on the trunk of a van before heading on vacation.

Travelling with Pets: Your Ultimate Guide


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Like the more than two thirds of Aussie households who own a pet, your furry best friend is a beloved member of your family… Do you hate the thought of leaving them behind for a holiday and are wondering if travelling with pets can be fun and fuss-free? Our pet travel tips below – some as simple as getting the right pet travel water bottle – makes travelling with pets easy.

Dreaming of a beautiful, busy, beach-side break? Or, maybe you’re keen for a relaxing roadtrip that ends with you kicking back around the campfire. Perhaps it’s a city escape that floats your boat. The good news is, taking your pet on your next beach getaway, countryside camping session or multi-stop road trip is easier than you think.

In this blog post, we’ll give you the keys to making traveling with your pet fun and fuss-free.

If you’re keen to further explore the ins and outs of travelling, overnight stays and more with animals, also check out our article on travelling with dogs, cats and horses.

During this countryside camping session, this black dog enjoys the company of its human friend.

How well does your pet travel?

When you’re travelling with pets, it’s worth remembering that animals rely heavily on their senses to make sense of their world. Different sights, smells and sounds can cause excitement or stress. Each animal responds differently depending on the environment and the length of time travelling.

Also, when it comes to travelling interstate, some exotic pets are restricted or require permits due to quarantine. This could mean your original travel plans need to change.

Some of the most common travel companions are dogs, cats and horses. Pets like guinea pigs, rabbits or reptiles are best left with friend, neighbour or at a boarding house because they usually don’t travel well. Besides, how would you explain the loss of your pet rodent or snake in the holiday house?

Travelling with a bird? Your pet budgie or cockatiel might be playful and happy at home, but the stress of travel can be fatal for them. Having said that, larger feathered friends such as parrots, cockatoos and macaws can suffer from separation anxiety in birds so a well-planned trip with you might be something they love.

The best approach? Arm yourself with knowledge to make the best travel decision for you and your friend. Whatever species they may be, it’s always best to ask advice from your vet beforehand and to have your pet’s health checked. Animals are their profession, after all.

Pets like this cute rabbit are best left with a friend, neighbour or at a boarding house because they usually don’t travel well.

Destinations friendly to travelling with pets

When deciding on a destination for you and your purrfect pal we recommend you balance your needs with those of your pet and other holiday goers.

It’s also important to note that pets are usually not permitted in Australia’s national parks. Why? This is due to the effects they have on the flora and fauna while you’re there. Click here to read about the parks they are allowed in.

Some of the best places to venture together on that much needed break are:

  • Camping and caravanning 🏕️
  • Regional beach holidays 🏖️
  • Ranch and farm stays 🌾

Alternatively, you might want a city break. With research, that will work too – there are plenty of choices available these days.

Thanks to a plethora of pet-friendly accommodation options that cater for a wide range of pets, booking the right place is a cinch. If their website doesn’t outline what pets are accepted then call ahead to double check. Here are a few helpful articles on pet friendly accommodation:

Before heading on vacation, this cat gets comfortable in its pet carrier.

Calm, comfortable car travel

The key to stress-free car travel with your furry BFF is planning and safety. On that, read up on the rules and regulations for car travel with your dog.

The first thing to remember is that animals can get motion sickness just like people. It’s a good idea to pack travel sickness remedies just in case, along with any other medication they usually take. And put a towel down just in case, or perhaps pet proof your car entirely!

As for safety, while there’s no law saying you need to secure your pet in the car, you will be fined if they cause you to lose full control while driving. It’s illegal to drive with an animal on the driver’s lap for good reason.

It makes sense to reduce driver distractions inside the car. You don’t want your pup to be one of the thousands that are injured or killed each year after falling or jumping from a moving car. You also don’t want them to be a projectile when you have to brake suddenly.

On the road essentials

You need to avoid dehydration by planning to stop around every two hours or so and this applies whether you’re travelling in winter, summer or somewhere in between. It’ll allow your pet time to stretch their legs, use the toilet and have something to eat or drink (more on pet travel water bottles below).

Keep a close eye on them for travel sickness signs and tend to it as soon as you see it occurring. If you’ve ever been seasick and stuck out on the water you know how debilitating it can be. You also know how much you just want to return home once it hits.

This happy couple enjoys the beach after feeding their dog water from a pet travel water bottle.

How do I choose the right pet travel water bottle?

Keeping your fur baby hydrated with fresh water whenever and wherever they need it is an essential item for your pet travel checklist. Pet travel water bottles should be durable, lightweight, convenient to use, and made of materials that are safe and easy-to-clean.

Try this eco-friendly Creatures of Comfort Water Bottle & Bowl, perfect for walks, the beach, and road trips. When your doggo or kitty is thirsty, simply fold the silicone leaf into a bowl and press the quick release button.

Or if you’re worried about leaks, check out this RIUETAR pet water bottle on Amazon with a sealed silicone gasket to prevent water leaks. Featuring a carrying rope and carabiner, this pet travel water bottle is rated 4 out of 5 on Amazon. Portable and convenient, it’s perfect for outdoor activities.

Heatstroke can happen when travelling with pets 🚗

Most importantly, never leave your pet in the car, even for just a few minutes. Our pets can’t regulate their body temperature like humans.

Even on a mild day, and even if the windows are cracked, enclosed cars can get hot very quickly, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Leaving pets inside a car puts them at risk of heatstroke, which can kill them within 15 minutes.

In extreme heat, small pets are especially vulnerable, and some breeds with short muzzles, such as Boxers, Pugs, Shih Tzus, and Persian cats, will have difficulty breathing. Take a look at our ‘Health Conditions in Flat Faced Dogs‘ article if you’d like to know more about that.

Overheating can damage their organs and even cause death. For more information on why you shouldn’t leave your pet in a vehicle, read this ‘Don’t Leave Pets in Hot Cars! Here’s Why‘ article.

White dog on the beach enjoys pet travel with its owners.

Does my car or pet insurance cover pet travel?

This is a great question. You won’t be covered by your car insurance if you’re travelling illegally with your pet – if you “carry more passengers than permitted by law, loaded above the legal weight limit, or loaded in an illegal way.” Make sure your pet is safe and secured.

A similar sentiment applies to pet insurance – if you’ve taken steps to keep your pet safe while travelling then you’ll be covered. Taking due care of your pet is your responsibility and we’ll likely ask you to provide reasonable proof of this when you make a claim. Another factor is who is at fault for the accident. Regardless, what’s best is keeping your pet as safe as possible – otherwise your claim could be denied.

See our Product Disclosure Statements for more information.

What about demerit points and travelling with pets?

When it comes to legalities around pet travel in cars, demerit points and fines for doing the wrong thing is different in each state or territory. Refer to these links for more information:

There’s so much more you can learn about pets, from pet health and safety tips to just understanding them better. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to provide your pet with a healthier, happier life. We’ve some great articles below for pawrents:

  1. A Guide to Pet Safety in Cars
  2. Why You Should Ask Before Petting Someone’s Dog
  3. When Do Kittens Open Their Eyes?
  4. Pets and Partners: Helping Them Get Along
  5. What’s Your Pet Parenting Style?

Top tips for travelling with dogs, cats and horses 🐴

Are you taking your journey with a dog, cat or horse? Explore what to pack, where to stay, which checks to make before you leave and the five essentials of travel with each type of animal, in our tips for holidaying with pets blog post. Between that and this article you’ll be travelling much more confidently.

Not to mention including award-winning pet insurance in your arsenal – then you’ll be covered for a whole range of illness and injury costs if your fur kid is unlucky enough to run into trouble while on holidays 🌴. Our comprehensive car insurance features valuable cover too.

To get a quote for either, click below.

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