Summer is a time for many people to travel. Road trips to new cities, trips to the beach, family visits or time spent camping in our wonderful wilderness, there are lots of options. But what to do with your pet? Bringing your furry friend on a trip can be a great idea as long as you are well prepared. Before you embark, make sure you have all the information you need to ensure you and your pet will be safe and comfortable.
Before you begin, make sure your pet is comfortable in the car. There is nothing worse than hot summer driving with a pet that is vomiting; for you or for them. Some pets do not feel comfortable in the car. It may be due to anxiety or due to motion sickness, but sometimes it is not an enjoyable experience. There are some ways to try to alleviate this. Getting your pet familiar with the car by doing short trips initially. If motion sickness seems to be the issue, there is some medication available from your veterinarian which will help. Sometimes the issue is difficult to resolve. Starting the journey on an empty stomach sometimes help prevent nausea. Keeping the windows down a few inches can help reduce carsickness and also to keep the car cool.
To keep you and your pet safe on your trip, you should keep a few things in mind. In the car, pets should be confined in some way. This can be by having them in a crate which is secured in the car or by using a harness which attaches to the seatbelt . Pets, carriers, or anything that is not secured can become a dangerous missile in an accident. Even something as minor as a fender-bender could cause injury to a unsecured pet.
Ideally, your pet should drink a few ounces of water every hour or two. Cats often can go for up to 8 hours without water. Whenever possible, bring bowls for water and food and stop every few hours for bathroom and hydration breaks during the trip.
Check out your accommodations if you will be travelling for more than one day. Make sure your hotel will be ok with a pet in the room.
Besides the obvious leash, food, bed and comforting toys, make sure you have all your pets medications with you. If your pet has ongoing health issues, bringing their information with you will help if you need to visit another vet during your trip. Also you need to be prepared for those unexpected issues that may arise. The most common problem is GI upset. Sometimes this can be caused by the travel itself, other times it is due to changes in routine. Allergies can also be a problem as exposure to an environment that’s different from home can cause flare-ups. It can be helpful to research what veterinary help will be available in the places you are heading to.
One of the most important precautions when heading out with your pet is to make sure they have identification that will allow you to be reunited if you become separated. Because they will be away from their familiar environment, getting lost is a real possibility. Ideally having a microchip will be the best means of getting your pet back to you in case they get lost. Also, having a collar and a phone number where someone can be reached can be very helpful.
Road trips are a lot of fun for the family and it can be a great experience to take your pet with you. Just make sure you are prepared and things should work out well. Happy travels!