Road trips make for classic summer vacations. Rather than leaving your beloved pets at home with a sitter or boarded in a kennel, you can take them with you to enjoy the fun together. You’ll be able to take care of your pet yourself, and you’ll both enjoy the companionship of the other, making the trip that much more special.
Pets can’t just jump in the car and go. If you plan to travel with your pets, you’re going to need to plan ahead so that the trip is as comfortable as possible for them – and as easy as possible for you. Here are a few tips for taking a road trip with pets:
A lot of dogs love a short car ride, but most pets don’t like longer rides. There are a couple of things you can prepare your pet for the longer ride and making it a little easier on both of you. Start by taking more frequent shorter drives together. For a dog, you can lengthen the times that you are used to being in the car. For a cat, just taking the shorter drives should be a big change that will help get your pet adjusted.
Many animals also will not potty in a place that is unfamiliar. You can prepare your pets for your road trip by starting to take them to new places to do their business in the weeks leading up to the trip. Hopefully, by the time you are on the road, your pet will be able to do their business during pit stops instead of in your back seat.
Keep All Information on Hand
You never know when your pet may become lost, sick or injured during your trip. Make sure you have all the information you will need in case of an emergency. Start by making sure that your pet is wearing a collar with a tag on it that has up-to-date contact information, including your phone number. Then gather vet paperwork that shows that your pet is up-to-date on shots and that includes emergency contact numbers for your vet. Even if your vet won’t be able to treat your pet while you are out of town, being able to contact him in case of an emergency can provide you with good information about how to act in the best interest of your pet.
Your pet isn’t going to be changing outfits or taking a daily shower, but he will need a lot of things to travel comfortably. Most importantly, you need to pack plenty of food and enough water to last you between legs of your trip. Chew toys and other toys are also important to keep your pet entertained and to provide a sense of familiarity for comfort.
Don’t overlook first aid and medical needs. A good first aid kit will help you treat minor injuries such as cuts and scrapes. It’s also important to bring along enough of your pet’s prescribed medications or topical treatments to last you the duration of the trip.
Use a Safety Restraint
While your pet may be most comfortable moving about the car freely, this puts you and your pet in jeopardy. Your pet could become anxious and start jumping around the car or jumping into your lap or under your feet while you are driving, leading to an accident. Or, if you are in an accident, your pet could be thrown from the car.
Use a crate or safety harness to keep your pet contained in the car. If you use a crate, make sure that it is large enough to give your pet room to stretch and to lie comfortably. Include a familiar blanket inside for both physical and emotional comfort.
Take Frequent Breaks
Just as you would if traveling with a child, you will need to take frequent breaks when traveling with a pet. Breaks will give your pet a chance to potty, as well as to stretch their legs and get the exercise they need after being cooped up in the car for a long period. Make sure that you keep your pet on a leash the whole time you are out of the car – even a cat – to prevent losing your pet. You don’t want your pet to run off when you are in another state and never be able to find him again. Make sure that any memories you take home are good ones.
Traveling with your pets can be a rewarding experience, but you have to plan and prepare carefully for it. Use these tips to help make your road trip with your pets a happy and successful one.
Have you taken a road trip with your pets? Share your tips for success in the comments!