A couple of months ago we added a new member to our family, Buddy the Dalmatian.
Our girls have been practically begging us for years to get a dog and we kept saying 'one day' and so now we have finally relented.
Buddy is currently 5 months old and as you can imagine, he is full of energy, eating more than just about all of us put together and slowly but surely training us on how he expects to be treated!!
He wants to be with us all the time and cries if we even go upstairs to the bathroom for 5 minutes . . . he's a bit 'clingy' you might say.
So the big question now is 'how is he going to go when we take off on our next road trip?'
We want to take him with us because he's part of the family now but we have no experience at travelling with dogs.
It's a question I know others have too because we get emails and messages from people quite often asking for tips and advice.
Next month me and the girls and Buddy are heading back up to Lake Argyle on a 3 week road trip which will be both a holiday and a chance for me to shoot some new footage for an update to our film, Discovering Lake Argyle.
The girls and I have had numerous road trips together and managing them by myself is a challenge enough.
Now I have a puppy on board as well . . . it's fair to say I'm a little nervous about how it's going to go.
So I've done some home work and found a great book called Bush Camping With Dogs written by John Frith.
It's exactly what I was looking for - plenty of tips and advice for travelling and camping with dogs and over 1300 free and low cost dog friendly camp sites across Australia.
6 tips I've picked up from Bush Camping With Dogs:
1. Get your dog used to longer car trips before you go
Some dogs can get car sick on longer trips so it's worth taking your dog on some trips to get them used to it before taking off across the country. It's also a good idea not to feed your dog just before you put him in the car to avoid him vomiting all over the upholstery or passengers.
We've already taken Buddy on a return trip between Adelaide & Melbourne and he was happy to sleep most of the way. One issue we still haven't solved is that he's toilet trained to do his business outside at home but he doesn't like going anywhere else.
He basically holds onto it until we get home.
I'm pretty sure he won't be able to hold onto it for 3 weeks though so this trip will probably be the time that we solve this problem.
2. Take a good supply of their food and their own food and water bowls
Continuing to feed them the food they are used to will reduce the 'change stress' they are experiencing and also minimise the chance that they will get sick or not be interested in different food.
Our puppy eats pretty much everything we give him without any issues but his main diet is a meat, veggie and rice casserole I make for him in batches every week. I'll take enough to last him a week then plan to make a couple more batches along the way.
3. Make sure he is micro chipped & your phone number is on a tag on their collar
There is a greater chance of him wandering off and getting lost while you're travelling so hang a metal tag off his collar with his name and your mobile number on it so if someone finds him they can call you.
Vets will also be able to read the microchip and look up your details in the database.
4. Take a doggy first aid kit
Dogs have different first aid needs to humans and John has included a great list of things to include in a 'doggy first aid kit' in 'Bush Camping With Dogs'.
Include your vets phone number in the kit as well so you can call them for advice if you need to.
5. Make sure they are wormed, fully vaccinated and take copies of the vaccination certificates
There is increased risk of them catching diseases or worms while you are travelling due to the exposure to other dogs and animals so making sure they are fully wormed and vaccinated is critical.
If you are heading to Tasmania you'll need to have him treated for hydatid tapeworm within 14 days before you go.
6. Take their bedding from home
They'll feel more 'at home' and sleep better at night if they have their own bed which they are used to.
I'm going to buy a collapsible crate like the one below for Buddy and get him sleeping in it a few weeks before we go so that we can take it with us and it will be his bit of familiar 'personal space'. We can also use it to contain him if we need to.