Traveling Safely with Pets: Handy Tips for a Safe Trip
It has been said that pets are the only members of the family we actually like! They are always happy to see us, they bring love, laughter and comfort to our lives, and they do not judge. No wonder we treat our pets as family and can’t bear the thought of leaving them behind when we travel.
Kansas. The land of “The Wizard of Oz”, tornado alley, the “Show Me State”, Superman’s home and now where our oldest daughter is living. Thankfully, she has returned to this side of the Mason Dixon Line. We are headed there to celebrate her birthday and Maggie is going with us. Like traveling with a baby, we don’t just throw our fur face into the Camry and hit the road. Traveling with a pet requires some planning.
Traveling with a pet can be fun. It can also be stressful . It can be dangerous. It can be uncomfortable. Does your fur baby get car sick? How will you keep your pet secured? How often do you need to stop for potty breaks? Where will you put the litter box (hint: use a small cake pan)? Traveling with a pet requires forethought in order to keep everyone safe and happy.
Here are a few tips on traveling safely with pets and turning your trip into a great memory:
- Has your pet traveled in the car before? If not, make a few short trips to see how it goes. It is better to discover that your pet suffers from motion sickness now, rather than later. You may need to talk with your vet about appropriate medication if riding in a car makes your kitty or pup anxious or sick.
- Dogs love to hang their heads out the window. This is incredibly dangerous. Flying objects could cause serious injury. The wind and cold air can cause lung infections and inner-ear damage. Excitable dogs may jump out the window. Or…your pup might fall out the window. Sounds like a story, you say? You are correct. Erick took Maggie with him on a camping trip to Eisenhower State Park. He was looking for that perfect camp site and enjoying the cool breeze with the truck windows down. With her head out her window, Maggie was in heaven. Erick took a curve and Maggie was gone! He pulled the truck over, praying he hadn’t run over her. He found her a few yards away, dazed and greasy.
- Your pet will be safest if it is restrained in the backseat (front seat air bags can cause serious injury or death). You can purchase a harness that attaches to the seatbelts. Cats and dogs feel safer when crated (secure it with the seatbelt). It is also physically safer for you and them. http://www.avidog.com/how-safe-is-your-dog-riding-in-the-car/ has information regarding crates. When Bekah left Texas for Maryland, we moved her in a U-Haul with her car towed behind us. Bekah, Erick (who drove) and I and one kitty in the cab. Unfortunately, there was no room for a crate in the cab of the U-Haul. Erick drove. Where did Peanut want to sleep? Under the gas pedal. Not safe. Where did she want to watch the scenery go by? Standing in Erick’s lap looking out his window. Again, not safe. Thankfully, it was still cool outside so we ended up putting Peanut in the car being towed. We were all much happier, safer and comfortable.
- It is best to feed your pet 3-4 hours before the trip begins to avoid motion sickness. When both of our daughters were at Oklahoma State they made a trip home. Bekah was driving and refused to keep Peanut in a crate, so Abby had cat duty. Peanut threw up all over Abby. It was a very unpleasant ride home for everyone. If your pet has to eat during a long trip, stop at a rest stop and give your pet plenty of time to eat and digest food.
- You pack your toiletries. Don’t forget to pack similar items for your fur baby. Remember medication, clippers, and shot records.
- Be sure your pet is wearing its collar with contact information on it. Also, put your name, pet’s name, and contact info on the crate.
- Don’t forget a water bowl, leash and a picture of your pet.