Summer is near, and many pet parents want their four-legged friends to join in on the family fun as they travel for the Thanksgiving and winter holidays. While car travel can be stressful for both you and your pet, a safe and comfortable road trip can be enjoyed by all with some preparation.
Tips to experience a successful trip:
The last thing you want is a sick pet as your travel companion. Schedule a medical check-up with your vet to ensure your furry friend is up-to-date on all vaccinations. A healthy pet equals a healthy start to your road trip.
Before hitting the road, take a trial run to see how your pet reacts. Does he get anxious or car sick? Those are behaviors that should be addressed prior to the big trip.
Invest in a pet restraint. Each year, more than 30,000 vehicle accidents are caused by unrestrained pets in the front seat. Allowing your feline friend to prowl freely or your canine companion to sit in your lap is not only a distraction to you, but it is dangerous to your pet in the event of an accident. Have a pet barrier, pet seat belt or travel crate ready for your road trip and take time before the trip to familiarize your pet with the restraint.
Most dogs enjoy sticking their heads outside the car window, but doing so can cause ear damage and risk of lung infection. They can also be hit by flying road debris. Always keep heads and paws inside the vehicle.
On the day of departure, feed your pet a light meal 3-4 hours prior to travel time. Don’t feed him in a moving vehicle, no matter how long the ride, as this may cause upset stomach and potty accidents.
When packing a bag for your pet, include an ample supply of pet food, favorite toys, collar and leash, bedding, litter box and litter, any necessary medication, and any other items that will make your pet feel at home.
Make frequent pit stops, ideally every 2-3 hours, for a potty break and a bit of exercise. Don’t forget to bring doggy bags to pick up after your pooch! If you’re traveling with your favorite feline, you may opt to place a small litter box somewhere within your vehicle.
During your pit stops, provide your faithful friend with some fresh water. Take along a small cooler with ice cubes, which are easier on your canine companion’s tummy than large amounts of water.
Finally, NEVER leave Fido or Fluffy unattended in a parked vehicle. While you may not have the worry of excessive heat during the winter months, accidents can happen if your pet is left alone. He may get stressed and scared, chew on things that aren’t meant for chewing, and, keep in mind, an animal left alone in a vehicle is an invitation for pet thieves.