Travel with pets easier if properly planned ahead of the trip

Taking your dog on a car journey can be fun for all the family
Taking your dog on a car journey can be fun for all the family
Image: Pixabay

For many of us, our pets are part of the family and we love to include them in our adventures, whether for a Sunday visit to the park or a seaside holiday.

Travelling with animals can be great fun if you make the right arrangements, but poor planning can make it a stressful ordeal for both for you and your pets.

PETport owner and founder Hazel Imrie suggests the following strategies to help pets feel more comfortable when travelling:

Practice makes perfect

If you can, do a practice run before embarking on a lengthy road trip.

Place your little friend in a carrier, or your big friend on the back seat, and take a calm, relaxing drive to the beach or a nearby park.

This quick test should give you an indication of how your pet will respond to a longer journey.


Motion sickness is more common in younger pets because their ear structures used for balance have not fully developed yet.

If a car ride does result in nausea, your fur-kid may begin to associate the experience of travel with uncomfortable sensations.

To treat motion sickness, vets often recommend turning the air conditioning up to keep the vehicle cool or equalising the air pressure inside the car by lowering the windows slightly.

You should also help your pet face forward while travelling. Dogs can be strapped into their seats with specially designed canine seatbelts, which can be handy.

Buckle up

On that note, make sure your pet is suitably restrained so it cannot distract you while you are driving.

According to SA regulation, an animal may not occupy a position in the vehicle which may prevent the driver from exercising complete control over the car’s movements.

Animals also need to be secured so they don’t injure you or themselves if the car needs to stop abruptly.

Passenger airbags are primarily designed to brace people against impact, so remember to position your animal’s seat as far away from the dashboard as possible if they’re in the front seat, or better yet, use a crate or kennel in the back seat.


Remember to have your animal microchipped before a trip in the unlikely event it goes missing.

Similarly, a collar with your current contact details is a must, and remember to keep it on your pet at all times.

Happy travels

Necessities such as food, water and treats are always recommended, but it is important to remember that travelling can be a tumultuous experience for pets.

To ease uncertainty and panic, always bring along a favourite toy, blanket or even an item of clothing that smells like you.

Road trip checklist

To help you remember what to pack, here is a checklist of useful items you will want to take along to give your pet some peace of mind:

  • Medication and first aid kit
  • Water and a bowl
  • Snack treats
  • Leash
  • Crate or kennel
  • Toy
  • Blanket or bedding
  • Grooming supplies
  • Waste bags

“Our pets brighten up our lives with their unconditional love and companionship,” Imrie said.

“Bringing them along on holiday will give you peace of mind and is a sure way to spend quality time with them.”


  • PETport is a registered pet travel and relocation specialist service, trained and certified by international animal organisation Ipata.