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Travel with your four legged friends

Although your dog may love sticking his head out of the window, it really is not recommended - the risk of injury is high, with debris and insects flying by, cold wind being forced into their lungs and electric window controls easily stepped on.

People fall in love with their cars. They also fall in love with their pets. So, of course, when they travel, especially when they go on holiday, many cannot do without their pets. Whether it is a dog, cat, bird or horse, leaving these behind with a pet-sitter is, for some, just a no-brainer. Animal shelters are an option, but then, it is expensive. So what is one to do when you insist on taking your animal companion with you?

“Generally speaking, dogs enjoy a road trip as much as we do, especially if they’ve been part of the travel fun from a young age,” says Dominique Kuhlmann, general manager of the Pet Food Industry Association of Southern Africa (PFI).

Let them be comfortable

Be sure to pack his favourite blanket, toys and his own feeding dishes. It is important to maintain your dog’s regular feeding habits to avoid any possible digestive disturbances that switching may cause. Seeing the vet before a long journey with your dog/s is never a bad idea. Certain vaccinations may be required or the destination and the vet should give your dog/s the “all clear” for travel.

If you are prepared to take everything including the proverbial kitchen sink, Rufus will also love the following: cooling blankets; seat covers – to protect your car seats; non-spill dishes; pet car seat; window bumper (it clips onto the window so that your dog can rest its head on the soft padded bumper, instead of directly on the hard window ledge); safety belt attachments (this allows your dog to lie down on the back seat, get to the window for air but stops him from lunging onto the front seat); safety sitters (these allow you to buckle your pet in to prevent him from jumping out and disturbing passengers or pedestrians) and of course safety nets.


Microchips are becoming the most popular method of identification, but a tag offers an immediate solution, and owners can often be located before needing to take the pet to the vet to read the microchip. It’s also a good idea to travel with a photo of your pet in case he gets lost. Be prepared to stop often, to allow your dog to go to the toilet and to stretch his legs, but secure your pet on a leash before opening any doors.

Offer him small amounts of water at regular intervals to prevent dehydration. Blankets may be needed in cold temperatures and open windows or air conditioners (with vents in reach of your dog) are needed when travelling in hot weather. Never leave your pet in the car as its internal temperature could rise to fatal levels very quickly

Yay’s and nay’s while travelling

Dogs on your lap? – NO!
Panado? – NO!
Alcohol containing medicine? – NO!
Natural medicine like Rescue and Spirulina? – YES
Microchips and identification? – YES
Pets in a car in hot weather (even with slightly open windows)? – NO, NO, NO!
On miniature pigs and horses: No, we will not get into these – not until it really becomes a general trend or the “in-thing”!


A stress-free trip takes planning. Plan the basics, like food and water, and there will be less for you to think about and more time to enjoy travel with your pet. And of course Rufus and Petina will love you to bits.

Now sit!

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