The season for travel is upon us and families are planning vacations and outings. If you plan on taking your pet, ensuring a safe trip should be a top priority. I have a few important tips to keep in mind.
1. Visit the Vet First
Any summer trip planning should start far before departure. Visit the vet with your pet and have a veterinarian give Fifi or Fido the “all clear”. This is the time to ask any questions you might have about pet travel requirements. The vet will be able to update any required vaccinations, provide medications and flea and tick treatments at that time.
2. Pre-Pack for your Pet
Avoid the last minute dash by gathering pet supplies before the trip. Consider what you are going to bring with you well in advance to avoid forgetting crucial necessities, not to mention needless stress. Some things you will need are:
- Food dishes
- Pet food
- A leash
- Wee pads
- Paper towels
- Garbage bags
- A pet first-aid kit – pet-safe travel or motion sickness medication, antidiarrheal, etc.
- Your pet’s ID tags and/or travel tags with your updated contact information and with your destination’s contact info
- Emergency contact information, such as your vet, and location destination, and pet care professionals
- Comfort items like a familiar pillow or blanket
3. Harnesses, Restraints or Crate
A loose animal can be a distraction at any time, but during a car trip, it is a safety no-no. Harnesses, restraints, barriers, car seats and crates made especially for pets during car travel are a great investment in peace of mind and safety. A familiar crate can also be a great comfort. Some car restraints also come with a leash system making travel to and from the car super convenient.
4. Travel Break and Pit Stop
Just about everyone appreciates a break from a lengthy car ride. Your pet is no different. A break provides a chance to stretch and walk around, which diffuses travel stress. You can also take the opportunity to offer food, water, and a walk. REMEMBER: Never lock your pet in the car and leave it unattended. The disaster stories in the recent news make this an obvious pet safety tip, but it deserves mentioning again.
5. Pet-Friendly Destination?
Like so many things in life, it is all about location, location, location. Whether you are staying with family or a hotel, you will need to call ahead and make sure it is permitted to bring your pet. There might even be regulations requiring that your pet is housed in an appropriate crate. Some states even have rules about proper car travel with pets; for example, Hawaii, Connecticut, Illinois, and Maine consider it illegal to drive with a pet in your lap. Once quick phone call can save you the drama of having no place to go with your pet.
And there you have it.