Are you taking your pet on your holiday road trip?
With increasing numbers of pet-friendly hotels and resorts, family pets are going along in the car for much more than trips to the vet.
Here are some tips for traveling with your pet this holiday season, starting with Rover’s safety.
Many states, including Illinois, prohibit drivers from having their pets in their laps. And once you explain to Dottie that she now has to ride in the back seat, you may also want to make sure she’s properly restrained for safety reasons. For large dogs, small dogs and even cats, there are travel harnesses with a strap that latch into the seat belt. There are also car carriers and booster seats that can be secured to your vehicle’s seat belts, and there are zip lines that allow your animal to move around in the back seat, but still be somewhat secure. For extra protection for both you (the driver) and your pet, you can also invest in a back seat barrier to make sure there are no surprise visits to the front seat. (Here is an article on PetMD that details these different restraint options.) If you’re not sure which one is best for your pet, speak with your veterinarian.
Do you get hungry while traveling in a long car ride? Your pet does as well. When packing your own snacks and beverages, remember that your furry friend also needs his food and water. BUT don’t feed your pet in a moving vehicle. According to PetMD, “Your pet’s travel-feeding schedule should start with a light meal three to four hours prior to departure. Don’t feed your furry friend in a moving vehicle, even if it is a long drive.”
Just as we like to be familiar with our surroundings, so do our pets. If you are driving a long distance for the first time with your four-legged family member, let her get used to her carrier or other travel restraints before taking her on the long journey. It will make an already stressful situation less tense. In fact, PetMD suggests you take your pet for several short trips in the car before you hit the road for a long trip.
Do you like to take your favorite pillow along for a long car ride? Or your favorite cup holder? Think about your pet’s favorite things, and make sure you pack an easily accessible travel bag for him as well: favorite toys, water dish, snacks, etc. But don’t forget the necessities: food, bowl, leash, clean up bags, grooming supplies, and medication.
Travel Papers & Identification
Just like we travel with a photo ID and our health insurance card, you’ll want to need to bring along your pet’s vaccination records, especially proof of rabies vaccination. (Some states require this proof.) To be smart and safe, PetMD suggests making sure “your pet has a microchip for identification and wears a collar with a tag imprinted with your home address, as well as a temporary travel tag with your cell phone, destination phone number and any other relevant contact information.”
First Aid Kit
There are many first aid kits for pets, so speak to your vet to make sure you have what you need for your furry friend. Here are some First Aid Tips from: The Humane Society and from the American Veterinary Medical Association
Other useful information:
Some information in this article was sourced from PetMD.com
Not sure what else to take with you? Here is a checklist also provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association
We hope every member of your family enjoys your holiday travels!