For some pet parents, a road trip is no fun if the four-legged members of the family can't come. But for animals, traveling can be highly stressful. Here are 10 tips to help ensure a safe and comfortable trip for everyone.
1. Keep your pet safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. There are a variety of wire mesh, hard plastic, and soft-sided carriers available. Be sure the carrier you choose is large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down, and turn around.
2. Get your pet geared up for a long trip by taking him on a series of short drives first, gradually lengthening time spent in the car. It's smart to get your pet accustomed to the carrier before your trip. Be sure to always secure the crate so it won't slide or shift in the event of a quick stop.
3. Your pet's travel-feeding schedule should start with a light meal 3 to 4 hours prior to departure. Don't feed your furry friend in a moving vehicle, even if it is a long drive.
4. Never leave your animal alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked car can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop. In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
5. What in your pet's traveling kit? In addition to travel papers, food, bowl, leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and a pet first-aid kit, pack a favorite toy or pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity.
6. Make sure your pet has a microchip for identification and wears a collar with a tag imprinted with your contact information, as well as a temporary travel tag with your cell phone, destination phone number, and any other relevant contact information.
7. Don't allow your pet to ride with his or her head outside the window. He or she could be injured by flying objects. Keep him or her in the back seat in the carrier or with a harness attached to a seatbelt.
8. Traveling across state lines? Bring along your pet's rabies vaccination record; some states requires this proof at certain interstate crossings.
9. When it comes to H2O, we say BYO. Opt for bottled water or tap water stored in plastic jugs. Drinking water from an area your pet isn’t used to could result in tummy upset.
10. If you travel frequently with your pet, you may want to invest in rubberized floor liners and waterproof seat covers, both of which are available at auto product retailers.