G’day our names are Amz & Kurt and we’ve been traveling around Australia for 12 months now with our beloved fur-child Rusty.
Rusty is a kelpie cross cattle dog and is 9 years old, but acts like she’s 2. While planning our trip around Australia we knew leaving her behind was not an option, as she is part of our family. Initial planning of our traveling setup, including vehicle and caravan selection started 7 months prior to our ‘official departure date’. We had decided to keep my (Amz’s) Navara as our touring vehicle, as there was nothing major mechanically wrong with it, plus it was dual cab and could tow 3 tonne. We knew the dual cab feature would be great, as we had decided we wanted to install a cage behind the passenger seat for Rusty to travel in.
We’re not personally fans of dogs riding in tubs, exposed to the elements etc. Hence why we liked the idea of an inside car cage. My parents picked up a travel cage from an op shop, for $10 a few months out, what a bargain!
The cage was a little to long for our designated space for Rusty, so we cut about a third off it, keeping both the ends/ doors and slide out tray bottom. So it can still be fully utilised as a travel cage, if we ever so needed it. When installing the cage, we made sure she couldn’t escape / jump into the front seat, the idea of the cage was to keep her fully contained in the back seat area. Also installing it on the passenger side meant it was safer to get her in and out while on the side of a road, pulled over etc.
A lot of thought went into this installation!
Keeping Rusty Comfortable;
Now inside of her cage, she has a super comfy round bed she can snuggle in, which we picked up from k-mart. They are relatively cheap and if she ever has a ‘mishap’ we can just buy her another one. We also bought some large stainless steel bowls that clip onto the sides of the cage, one has water and the other has food (although we rarely give her food when travelling).
We do tend to take these out when traveling along long corrugated roads, as you could imagine, the water splashes everywhere and she’s not a fan of impromptu showers. We have also installed a section of security grill to the inside of her door, enabling her to have the window down, get a breeze in and keeping her completely safe. She loves sticking her nose out, and if we don’t wind down the window far enough for her, boy will she’ll let us know!
There is plenty of space for her in there whether she wants to stand, sit or turn around, which is great – it’s what we were trying to achieve, especially for those long car trips.
The major advantage of the security grill and her cage setup is, we can leave her parked in the shade for a small amount of time, if we need to nip into the shops etc. The grill is screwed directly to the door frame by 6 screws and is super strong. The car is also alarmed for extra security.
We never leave her in there for long periods, but it’s a great option for small trips into the shops plus if it rains, she covered. Our phone number is plastered on our canopy signage, so we figure if there is a major concern someone would call us.
Now we should mention her cage is situated quite high up, so we are constantly lifting her into it (which keeps our arm muscles strong). We do tend to lift her down aswell, because of her age, we don’t want her getting arthritis too early. We have completely removed our back seat and installed a wooden bench. This has given us more storage room to utilise, much better than just the bench seat.
Here is a quick video of Rusty’s cage and a few helpful items we travel with:
Top tips for back-seat dogs;
The main thing is make sure they are comfortable. Like we have said, plenty of space to move about but not enough space to get into mischief. The last thing you want is your dog jumping on your lap if you’re going 100km an hour down the highway. You want your backseat passenger to be comfortable in their setup so they enjoy traveling and not dread it.
A lot of it is just common sense as well. If you’re hot in the car, chances are they are too. The same goes for cold weather. You need toilet breaks on long journeys, as do dogs.
Overall, Rusty loves her car trips in her cage. She knows when we are on the move and runs to sit next to her door, waiting to get in (no joke!). This set up works perfectly for us and for Rusty. We can only suggest you experiment and find the perfect setup for you and your dog.
If you have any further questions about Rusty’s setup or would like to follow our adventures you can find us.