Summer Traveling with Family Pets: Tips for a Safe and Secure Journey
As we approach the summer vacation season, our Tuesday series today focuses on pet travel preparation. Despite recent high gasoline and related fuel prices, many families still intend to take the typical "summer road trip," and more families than ever before intend to bring their pets along for the ride, particularly those with dogs.
Most hotels, as well as the majority of Airbnb rentals, now allow pets. As a result, it's a good idea to plan ahead of time in order to be as prepared as possible for a joyful, healthy, and safe journey with your pet in tow. Here are some ideas about how to do it the best way possible:
• Go on practice trips ahead of time! A long weekend drive can provide an excellent baseline for your pet. You'll also be able to observe how your pet reacts to a long journey in your vehicle.
• Make sure your pet is restrained appropriately in the vehicle. Distract yourself from the road so that you can drive safely. Always bear in mind that your first job is to drive safely and with your eyes on the road.
• Make sure your pet wears all of his or her collars, dog tags, and identification numbers at all times. Make sure it's up to date with your phone number(s) so that if your pet gets lost, you may be reached directly. Many owners also want to have a microchip implanted beneath the skin as an added layer of security in case it is ever needed.
• Bring along familiar blankets or pet beds to help prepare your vehicle for the journey. The familiarity and aroma will help your pet relax while you're on the road
• Keep all vital documentation pertaining to your pet with you at all times. Keep your veterinarian's phone number on available, as well as all proof of vaccines and other documentation.
• Take frequent breaks every couple of hours. Take regular breaks for walks and exercise in addition to the required restroom breaks. A reasonable rule of thumb is to take at least two walking breaks for every five hours spent in a car.
• Pack enough dry food to last 1.5 times as long as you anticipate to be away from home. A few extra incentives may be required here and there to elicit appropriate road behavior. Sparingly distribute additional food, but keep it on hand in case it's needed.
• Make sure your vehicle has enough water for your pet. Extra bottled water is great for this reason, as it eliminates the need to seek for public water fountains in new regions.
• Keep your pet's location well-ventilated at all times, but avoid allowing your pet to "head out the window" while driving at high speeds on major highways. And, no matter how brief your trip, look for a covered location to park in. In just a few minutes, summer temperatures can kill a pet left in the sunlight. After you've taken these steps, you should have a lot more peace of mind, and your pet should be able to appreciate the views and new sensations that the new area you'll be exploring has to offer.