With summer officially here, many of us are planning to hit the wide, open road – pets included! Travelling with your pets requires a bit more planning than just loading Fido or Fluffy and heading out. CHS has put together some tips to make prepare you for a safe and smooth road trip.
It’s time for a trial run. If Fido or Fluffy aren’t seasoned car passengers, you may want to do a couple trial runs before the big trip. Then if there are any issues like whining, barking or car sickness, you have some time to work on them. The last thing you want is to be pulling out of the driveway and hear Fido upchucking his breakfast in the back seat.
Shot Gun! As much as Fido may want to ride shot gun, it’s not the safest place for him especially on a long trip. Fluffy will most likely be most comfortable in a carrier. A great option for a longer trip is to place Fluffy in a large dog kennel, so she can bring her litter box and bedding along for the ride. For dogs many may already have a preference: inside a kennel/crate, in the back behind a barrier or strapped in with a seat harness. Stick with what they’re (and you’re) most comfortable with. Another note: don’t let Fido stick his head out the window while the car is moving at anything but a slow crawl. We know, we know, we have a photo of a dog with its head out an open window. But the car was parked and it was mostly for creative effect. No dogs were harmed in the taking of the photograph.
Get up to date. Travelling to a different province or region? Do you research and plan a visit to your vet prior to departure find out what illnesses or diseases your pet may need to be protected from. This would also be a great time to ensure your pets ID is up to date as well. Does Fido’s tag have your cell phone number on it and not just your home phone? Is the information connected to his tattoo and microchip the most up to date? A quick check now could save you a lot of time (and heartbreak) down the road.
It’s time to get packing! Just like you, pets need their creature comforts of home. Packing them a bag with the following items will help ease everyone’s stress during travel.
- All medications
- Blankets and/or bed
- Poop bags
- Food (don’t forget a can opener if you feed wet without a pop top!)
- Food and water bowl
- Bottled water
- Extra leash (in case one gets lost or broken)
- Vaccine records
- Paper towel or wet naps
- Vet contact
- Recent photograph of your pet
- Treats, toys and bones
‘Mom, are we there yet?’ Pets, while excited for the destination, may not see the value of the journey and bore quickly. For Fido, a nice long walk before piling into the car will be a great way to expel some of his energy. A frozen Kong, a yummy bone or a favorite toy are also great way to keep Fido entertained during the car ride. As for Fluffy, include some of their favorite toys with them in their kennel. As for the cat nip? Keep it at home. No one wants to pull wide-eyed Fluffy off the car ceiling.
‘Dad, I have to pee NOW!’ Try to stop every couple hours for a bathroom break and quick leg stretch – Fido will appreciate it! While water is okay to have available during the drive, it is recommended that you don’t feed pets in a moving vehicle. It can cause car sickness and an upset stomach. Rest breaks are a great time for Fido or Fluffy to have dinner (or breakfast). Don’t leave your pet in the car during rest stops if the temperature is over +15 degrees. It is dangerous, even on vacation.