How To Travel With Your Dog In A Vehicle

When it comes to traveling to vacation spots or to see friends or family, you want your pets to come along. But traveling with pets is a little trickier than traveling with humans and there are a few things that you should be aware of, and some things you should do to prepare. 

Here are nine important tips for traveling with your pet.

Tip #1: Keep Your Pet Secure in Your Vehicle

It might be tempting to let your pet run free in your vehicle but this is a bad idea for many reasons. The main reason is safety. No matter if you have a dog, a cat or a gerbil that you’re traveling with, if they run under your legs while you’re driving, they could cause a serious accident.

Keep your pets secure in a crate while you are traveling. Your dog may love leaning out the window, but a strange smell can cause some dogs to jump out to investigate and that means at best – you were stopped at a light and must chase your dog down and at worst – your dog suffers serious injuries from jumping out at high speeds.

Also, make sure that you train your pets to ride in the car from a young age if at all possible. If not, then at least do a trial run before you head out on your trip.

Tip #2: Bring Plenty of Food & Water for Pets

This may seem like common sense, but you must remember to bring plenty of extra food and water for your pets. Your dog will get dehydrated faster than you will and you want to make sure that he or she has access to water.

Also, any unexpected delay might means hours before you feed again so make sure you have a backup plan.

Tip #3: Take Regular Pet Bathroom Breaks

The American Veterinarian Medical Association recommends that you give your pets a bathroom break – not only for the bathroom but also for some exercise – every 2-3 hours.

Your pet isn’t as good at holding it as you are. You should also make some kind of arrangement for them to go in their crate in an emergency like a puppy pad or a litter box for cats.

Tip #4: Get Travel Tags for Your Pet

Make sure that your pet has tags. These can be your regular tags, but they should contain your current mobile number rather than your landline at home. If not, consider getting pet travel tags that has your mobile number on it. You might also think about a permanent identification solution like a microchip.

Tip #5: Put Together a Pet Travel Kit

Another great tip is to put together a travel kit for your pet. This is a great option no matter if you are taking a long trip or a very short one. The kit should include the following:

List of animal hospitals on your route (or you can use your phone if you have internet service on the road)

  • Copy of your pet’s latest medical records
  • Any medications your pet needs
  • First aid kit to patch up pet injuries
  • Hydrogen Peroxide to make your pet vomit if they swallow something poisonous (call your vet first to ask if you should induce vomiting)
  • Anything else your vet recommends

Tip # 6: Never Leave Your Pets inside the Car Alone

Never leave your pets inside the car alone. Without the heater or the air conditioner, they can suffer very quickly. For example, on a balmy summer day around 80-85 degrees, ten minutes in your car without AC can turn your vehicle into an oven turned up to 120 degrees.

That can be deadly for your pets. The same goes for winter weather. If it’s cold, don’t leave your pet in the car to freeze.

Tip #7: Research Flying with Your Pet

You want to carefully research before you fly with your pet. Of course, you first want to know if the airline even allows pets and if there is an extra cost, but you also want to know a few other important details. For example: does the airline keep pets in the cabin or do they ride with checked baggage?

Does the airline have a reputation for keeping pets safe (there is a list you can check to see which airlines have bad records with pet care)? What about putting your pet on a “pet only” airline where they can fly in style?

Tip #8: Check with Your Hotel for Pet Policies

You definitely need to check with your hotel before you travel. They may not even allow pets and that means that you are going to have to find some kind of a board kennel (that is probably going to be expensive) when you arrive – or move to another hotel which could cost you as well.

In addition, check to see what the pet deposit is if the hotel allows pets and where your pet will be able to go to the bathroom. If it is the middle of winter in a rough climate and the hotel requires you to walk all the way over to the grass across the parking lot you might want to find a different hotel to stay at.

Tip #9: Get a Pet Checkup Before You Leave

Finally, make sure that your pet has a complete checkup before you leave. The odds are, your pet’s health is fine and putting him or her in a car is not going to cause any health problems.

But on the slight chance that there is something wrong and you could make it worse by putting them in a crate and carting them across the country, having a checkup is a good precaution.

In addition, you can get the aforementioned pet records and any recommendations from your vet on what precautions to take during travel. If your vet signs off on a cross-country trip with the arrangements you have made, then hit the road and have fun!

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