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Auto advice: Taking your pets on a road trip? Follow these expert tips to make sure you are properly prepared

From getting your dog used to car travel to how to carry cats properly and what to pack before you set off, here are your queries answered


Travelling with pets can be made easier if you prepare before you go. Stock picture

Travelling with pets can be made easier if you prepare before you go. Stock picture

Travelling with pets can be made easier if you prepare before you go. Stock picture

Are pets allowed to roam free in a car?

Never let a pet roam free in the car, as not only can they be distracting, but they could also be seriously injured or killed in the event of a sudden stop or collision. By law animals must be suitably restrained. 

What is the best way to get a pet used to travelling by car?

If you plan to travel regularly with your pet then it’s best to start travelling with them when they’re young. However, if you generally only take your pet in the car for trips to the vet then they are likely to associate the car with an unpleasant experience so before you set off on a long trip you should take them for short trips so they can become accustomed to being confined. Also, make the trips enjoyable so ideally end with fun destinations like the park so car travel becomes a positive experience.

How can I safely restrain my pet?

There are options including a safety harness that can be attached to a fastened seatbelt and goes securely around your dog’s chest, back and shoulders. It is particularly suitable for medium- or large-sized dogs. For small dogs, cats and other pets, pet carriers are a good way to travel and can be secured in place by using one of the seatbelts or safely in the foot-well. A travel cage or crate is ideal for larger dogs and pets.

Do cats travel well in a car?

Generally cats find car travel stressful but it depends on your cat’s temperament and what their past experience has been. Encouraging them to become familiar with their pet carrier in advance of a trip may reduce their stress.

How often should I stop?

Cats and dogs overheat very quickly so regular comfort stops are a must so plan to stop every two to three hours. Never leave your pet alone inside a car.

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What essentials should I pack?
Pets on the move appreciate familiar comforts such as their regular bedding and usual food. Also pack their water dishes, litter and litter box, leash, collar and tag, grooming supplies and a first-aid kit with any medication.

Top tip: Identification is a must in case pet and family become separated so ensure your pet has a microchip for identification and wears a collar with your home address, mobile phone and any other relevant contact information.

Got a question? Email sundaymotors@independent.ie

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