Let’s face it; you’re probably going to have to do more traveling before the holidays are over. Bringing your pets along is sometimes a necessity. If you’re planning a trip with Fido, here’s what you can do to help make the trip safe and enjoyable. (Note: It is definitely NOT recommended for you to put your dog in a regular seat belt. We just thought this was an amusing image.)
Dogs and cats need to be secured properly, both for their safety and yours. The first and best option is to crate your animal for the duration of the trip. For large animals, a more feasible option is to use a special harness that attaches to your vehicle’s seatbelt. Crates and harnesses are available at your local pet store.
The ASPCA cautions against allowing pets to ride with their heads out the window of a moving vehicle. Not only do they risk being hit with a flying object, but they are also at risk of inner ear damage and lung infections.
The noises and movement from car travel make many pets anxious. This anxiety can be expressed through barking, shaking, excessive drooling or even vomiting. Prepare your pets for a long trip well before you plan to leave. Start slowly by getting them used to being in the car. Once they are a little more comfortable, condition them with short trips around the block, gradually extending the duration of these trips. If your pet still suffers car anxiety, talk to your veterinarian about medications. Also consider keeping stain and odor remover in the trunk, just in case of an accident.
Don’t feed your pet right before you plan to leave. Instead, give him or her a light meal a few hours in advance. Never feed your pet in a moving vehicle.
Just as you will on a long trip, your pet will need periodic pit stops and stretch breaks, too. Bring along a leash, water, and small treats, as well as a favorite toy the pet can play with for some exercise.
If you’re planning overnight hotel stays, be sure to check in advance whether the hotel has pet-friendly policies.