If you’re like many Americans with pets, your travel plans may very well include your best friends, Fido and Fluffy. Before hitting the road with your best friend, it’s important to take some precautions and be prepared.
Traveling with your pet can be a wonderful and bonding experience if you do it right. Here are some tips to help ensure that your pet is happy and safe when traveling.
Healthy start. The last thing you need is a sick pet when traveling. So it just makes sense to begin with a healthy start. Before you start your trip, be sure that your pet is “up” for their journey. This means a visit to the vet for a medical checkup and to ensure that your pet is up-to-date with all necessary vaccinations.
Is your pet returnable? A pet ID tag is essential. This means a temporary ID tag, along with your pet’s permanent ID tag. This is one of the most important aspects of traveling with your pet, but also one of the most overlooked. If your pet runs off while traveling, a temporary ID tag that lists the address of where you are staying, will help ensure that your will pet be safely returned to you.
Ample food and water. How many times have pet owners pulled in the travel service area off the highway and grabbed a burger for their dog? Or filled their cup with water for their pet to drink? This is not a prepared pet traveler. Traveling is not the time to introduce a new diet of human food to your pet. That never has a good ending. Pack an ample supply of your pet’s regular food as well as water for your pet. Bring along collapsible pet travel bowls instead of their bowls from home. They are less awkward and are very convenient for packing purposes.
Pack other essentials. Include food and water dishes, bedding, litter and litter box, leash, collar and tags, grooming supplies, a favorite toy, a first-aid kit, and any necessary medications. In addition, a container of drinking water for your pet should always be with you.
Ice cubes. Occasionally traveling can upset your pet’s stomach. Take along ice cubes, which are easier on your pet than large amounts of water. It is recommended that you keep feeding to a minimum during travel. When traveling by car, a light meal for your pet two to three hours before you leave is advised.
Picture of Pet. Carry a current photograph of your pet with you. If your pet is lost during a trip, a photograph will make it easier for others to help you find your pet.
Practice restraint. Be sure that your pet is safely restrained in your vehicle. Utilizing a pet safety harness or travel kennel are the best ways to keep your pet safe. They not only protect your pet from injury, but they help by keeping them from distracting you with their usual enthusiasm as you drive. A safety harness functions like a seatbelt. While most pets will not have a problem adjusting to it, you may want to let them wear the harness by itself a few times before using it in the vehicle. If your pet prefers a travel kennel, be sure it is well ventilated and stabilized. Many pet owners prefer vehicle barriers, particularly for larger pets. Vehicle barriers are best suited for SUVs. No matter what method you choose, back seat travel is always safer for your pet.
No heads out the window. Although many pets find that sticking their head out the window is the best part of the road trip, it’s not safe. Your pet can easily be injured by flying debris. This should go without saying, but NEVER travel with a pet in the back of a pickup truck. Some states have laws restricting such transport and it is always dangerous.
Frequent pit stops. Always provide frequent bathroom and exercise breaks. When outside the car, make sure that your pet is always on a leash and wearing a collar and identification tag.
Don’t leave them alone. Never leave your pet unattended in a parked vehicle. On warm days, the temperature in your vehicle can rise to 120 degrees in minutes, even with the windows slightly open. In addition, an animal left alone in a car is an open invitation to pet thieves.
Secure pet friendly accommodations. If you’re driving a long distance, map out where you’ll be spending the night and arrange for accommodations along the way.
It all boils down to doing your homework. A little bit of planning will help to ensure that your vacation with your pet is a happy and safe experience.
Pet Travels Tips are sponsored by TRIPSwithPETS.com. TRIPSwithPETS.com offers resources for pet travelers to ensure they are welcome, happy, and safe when traveling. They offer directories of pet friendly accommodations across the U.S., pet hospitals and pet recreational activities, an online pet shop, airline pet policies, along with other pet travel resources.
TRIPSwithPETS.com is the premier online source for pet travel. Visit them online for more information on traveling with your pet.