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Top Tips for Driving with Pets

Driving with pets is a daily activity for some, where your tail-wagging friend begs to join for the ride before you’ve even got the car keys. While for others, it’s a daunting task only kept for the dreaded vet visits or moving houses. Either way, we’ve got some great ideas to make travelling with your four-legged family members easy.

This guide has tips for keeping your furry friend happy and safe on a road trip or a quick drive to the park.

Getting Your Pet Used to the Car

It’s best to start slow when getting your dog used to the car. Being in a car can feel uncomfortable, and some dogs can get motion sickness. So, start with short drivers and gradually increase the length of the trips to get them used to their new environment.

Secure Your Dog in the Car

Driving with dogs can be dangerous for them and others on the road if pet restraints aren’t properly used. Keep your pup safe by not allowing them to roam free in the car or sit on your lap while driving. Unrestrained pets are a huge distraction and limit your driving ability, so keep them secure in a well-ventilated pet restraint.

There are many options for safe and comfy restraints depending on the size and character of your four-legged companion. There are dog harnesses, back seat barriers that clip onto the seat belt, and carriers for properly restraining your beloved pet.

Get your cat or dog used to the pet restraint before putting them in the car. If it’s a pet carrier or crate, leave it open at home while enticing your pet to discover it and eventually make it their safe place.

These restraints also keep your pets safe by stopping them from sticking their heads out the window, as it causes their eyes to dry out, and flying objects can hurt them.

When Should I Feed my Travelling Pet?

Feed your pets a light meal about three hours before the trip, and don’t give them new or unfamiliar food they aren’t used to. Furthermore, stop at a safe and secure pet-friendly area on long drives for food rather than feeding them in the moving car. You should also schedule toilet, water and stretch breaks en route to your destination.

Can I Leave my Pet in the Car?

You should never leave your pets alone in the car as it can cause serious health risks and can even be fatal to your furry friend. Even when the temperature feels cool enough, your vehicle can become a furnace and cause your animal to dehydrate and overheat. Likewise, your dog could be in serious danger if it’s too cold.

What Should I Pack for My Four-legged Family Member?

Pack a pet travel kit with food and bottled water, bowls, a favourite toy and blanket for a sense of familiarity, a pet first aid kit, grooming supplies, a leash, and a litter-scoop and plastic bags.

What About Travelling to Another Country?

When driving internationally with your pet, your travel checklist should also include a ‘pet passport’. This is a collection of documents like vaccination certificates, import permits and other paperwork that is destination specific. Be prepared and do the research beforehand so your furry travelling partners cross the border with no problems.

Keep Your Pet Safe with a Collar

As loving pet parents, we all want our furry children to be safe, so ensure they are microchipped and always wear a collar with your phone number. This is especially important when travelling in case they get lost in a different environment or if you’re in an accident.

Keep your Whole Family Safe When Travelling

Part of keeping your pets and family safe on the road is to have reliable car insurance. With PMD, you’re never alone on the roads and can request roadside assistance to come to you if your car breaks down or if you’re in a car accident.

Fill this form in to get a quote for car insurance from a reputable insurance company that won’t disappoint you.


This article provides general information about driving with pets in South Africa. Always follow South African law and be responsible pet owners.

Buying car insurance should be done with much thought and only from a certified financial services provider. Contact us today to learn more about getting affordable, comprehensive car insurance with fixed premiums* and a reduce-to-zero excess*. *T&Cs apply.

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