Tips for a Happy Road Trip with Your Pet This Summer
With summer arriving soon, you may be in the process of planning a vacation to get away from it all for a time. If you have a pet, one of the biggest decisions is whether you should take him with or arrange for care until you get home. While taking your pet on vacation can be a wonderful experience and an opportunity to bond, it isn't the best choice for some pets. Many cats are not big fans of long trips in the car or a disruption to their normal routine, but you know your pet best. It's important to assess your pet's temperament before deciding if he should join in the vacation fun.
Car Travel with a Pet
Having a sick or injured pet can be stressful at any time, but it's even more so when you're away from home. We encourage you to schedule an appointment at Maryland Avenue Pet Hospital shortly before you leave. Your pet's veterinarian will make sure that she's in top shape for the trip. We can also issue you a health certificate and proof of rabies vaccination if you are traveling outside of Minnesota.
Packing for Success
You can determine how well the trip goes long before you leave home. Success starts with remembering to pack all of your pet's essentials, particularly his regular brand of food. You may not be able to find it at stores on the way to your destination, and we don't recommend feeding your pet something new when he is already feeling stressed or excited. Your pet's travel bag should also include a leash, water and food bowls, litter and a litter box for cats, toys, a first-aid kit, grooming supplies, bedding, and medications.
Time to Hit the Road
Here are some additional tips to consider while traveling with your pet by car:
- Plan for frequent stops so your dog can relieve himself and get some exercise. Since proper hydration is so important, make sure that your dog drinks water at every stop.
- Keep food intake to a minimum while the car is moving to prevent possible motion sickness. Don't give her any of your own food, whether you retrieve it from a cooler or stop at a restaurant.
- Make sure that your pet is restrained at all times. Having a dog or other animal moving freely in the vehicle is a dangerous distraction that puts everyone at risk. Plan to invest in a safety harness or travel kennel before the trip to ensure proper restraint.
- Never leave your pet unattended in your parked car. Even with the window cracked, the interior temperature of your vehicle can reach 120 degrees in a matter of minutes.
- Don't allow your pet to stick her head out the window. You may think this would cool your dog down, but it actually puts her at risk of injury from flying debris. If you drive a pick-up truck, it is unlawful in many areas and unsafe to allow your pet to ride in the back.
- Place a temporary identification tag over your pet's regular tag with the contact information of where you will be staying. Bringing a current photo will be helpful in the event he does get away from you and other people offer to help search for him.
As long as you carefully consider your pet's comfort and safety, getting to your destination can be half the fun. Happy travels.
Photo Credit: Wave Break Media / iStock Photo