Many pet owners don’t find vacations worthy if their furry friends can’t go along. However, traveling can be highly stressful, not only for humans but for animals as well. It’s not entirely impossible, though. With careful preparation, you can ensure that you have a safe and comfortable trip for everyone involved.
Planning a road trip with a pet involved can be difficult, especially because it involves more than just loading the animal in the back seat and driving off. Long-distance travels or long vacations can be especially stressful for your furry friends. Here are some tips to help you prepare for a car trip with your pets:
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Keep your pets safe in a well-ventilated carrier
Despite movies and TV shows showing dogs with their tongues hanging out the window, it’s not ideal for long trips to keep the pets on the back seat, so make sure that they are in a secure crate so that they won’t spend most of the time sliding and shifting in case of quick stops.
Gear up your pet by taking him in short drives first
Start with short drives, but lengthen the time he spends in the car so that he can get used to it and won’t be too uncomfortable during the long hours ahead.
Adjust your pet’s feeding schedule
Start off with a light meal three or four hours before departure and don’t feed your pet while in a moving vehicle—even if it is a long drive—because it could upset his stomach.
Don’t leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle
Much like the way you can’t leave babies and small children in a parked vehicle with windows open, pets too, will feel the heat early, and it can make them feel like they are in a furnace. Leaving a pet in a parked car is considered animal abuse—he can either die from heatstroke in the summer or freeze to death in the colder months.
Don’t forget to pack your pet’s travel kit
Travel papers, food, bowl, leash, waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication, pet first-aid kit—these things are all important, but don’t forget other luxury items like your pet’s favorite toy or pillow to give him a sense of familiarity with the new surroundings.
Don’t forget the microchip identification
This is especially important if you have a frisky friend. Pet collars with tags and relevant contact information like your home address is important, but it is also necessary that you have a temporary collar with the destination address, phone number, and other important information. Also remember to get your canines flat collars, not choke ones. Many 3G GPS tracking devices could be attached to collars, and microchip identification can be made available, so it is great if you can invest in them as well.
Don’t allow your pet to ride with his head out a window
Again, movies are too good to be true. Having your pet ride with his head outside the window could spell disaster—he could be injured by flying objects, so keep him in his crate or keep him grounded with a harness attached to a seat buckle to ensure his safety.
Bring vaccination records
Some states require proof of vaccination records, so while this is generally not a problem, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Bring your pet his own water
Pets are not as adaptable when it comes to their stomachs, so ensure that you bring his water, stored in plastic jugs to avoid tummy upsets.
Invest in pet-proofing your car
If you travel with your pet on a regular basis, you may want to invest in rubberized floor liners or waterproof seat covers available at auto-product retailers so that you can clean up easier.