Most people would love to take the four-legged members of their family on trips with them. Traveling with pets is similar to traveling with very small children, and you should always keep their safety and well-being in mind.
If you’re planning to travel by road or air with your canine companion or feline friend, here are a few tips to make road trips go as smoothly as PAWsible:
1. Trial run
Before going on a long trip, take a few shorter drives with your pets to see how they respond to traveling. It helps you check if they get anxious, or car sick, and also to prepare them for the long journey yet to come. Try to find drug-free alternatives for animals that suffer from anxiety.
2. ID tags
Add a temporary identification tag to your pet’s collar with the address and phone number you will be using during your trip. If you don’t usually affix a permanent ID, with your name and home address, make sure to add that too.
3. Make pit stops
Stop every two to three hours so that your pet can attend the call of nature. It will also help them get some air and exercise. When outside, keep your pet’s collar and leash on at all times, however well trained they may be.
4. Keep heads and paws inside
Although your pet may find sticking its head out the window enjoyable, it’s not safe for long trips. They can get injured by flying debris or suffer ear and lung damage due to pollution.
5. Buckle up your furry friend
Pets wandering freely around the vehicle not only distract the driver but also make them much more likely to get injured. Make sure your pet is safe by restraining them with a pet car seat, pet seat belt, or a travel crate.
6. Entertainment and comfort
The comfort and safety of your pet should be a priority. Make sure that they are comfortable in their seat and bring along a favorite blanket or toy to keep them occupied.
7. Don’t ever leave them alone
Never leave pets unattended in a parked vehicle. On warm days, temperatures inside your car can reach 50°C in minutes, which can be deadly for your pet. It is also an invitation to pet thieves. If you’re going somewhere you can’t take them, find somewhere safe they can stay instead.
Keep 3 to 4 liters of water on hand for your pet, separate from what you take for the human members of your family. During pit stops, make sure they drink some fresh water to stay hydrated. If your pet has an upset stomach, ice cubes can be a better alternative to large amounts of water.
9. Control their food intake
Don’t overfeed your pet during travel. Keep food restricted to a minimum, and make sure to only give them their regular pet food. Keep a few treats handy to satiate random hunger pangs, but don’t feed them fast food or processed snacks – it never ends well.
10. Pet-friendly hotels
Try to book pet-friendly hotels, and look for destinations where you’re allowed to them along with you. Pet-friendly hotels also often offer pet-sitting services.
11. Always be prepared
Bring along copies of your pet’s medical records, as well as good quality pictures of them, in case of an emergency.
Next time, find out how to make flying with your pets easier!