Pet-Friendly Travel: 6 Road Trip Tips
Traveling with pets is one of the best reasons to rent a vacation home at your destination. Once you’ve chosen your accommodations, getting there will be your biggest challenge. Road tripping is often the best way to travel with furry friends along, but even driving has its challenges. Here are six tips for planning a long drive with your pets:
1. Try to keep your pets from getting lost, but have a plan for finding them if they do. Never let your pet go outside without a leash. Some cats can be trained to walk on a leash, too. Make frequent rest stops, and let leash-trained pets relieve themselves and get some exercise. If your cat won’t tolerate a leash, keep him or her in a well-ventilated carrier with a small litter box inside. Change the box often. In case your pet does get lost, make sure ID tags include a way to reach you while you’re traveling.
2. Keep your pet secure inside the car while you’re moving. Even if your pet is used to roaming around the car on short trips, put safety first for long-distance travel. Don’t let an unrestrained dog or cat ride with windows open. Pets can and often do jump out of cars. Your pet will be safest in a very sturdy carrier or wearing a safety harness that connects to your car’s seat belts.
3. Keep your pets well hydrated. Remember that while you’re sipping from a drink in your cup holder, your pet is panting away moisture. Bring bottles of water, and refill them at rest stops. Bring water bowls, and stop often to give your pets a drink.
4. Bring a pet first-aid kit. Just in case, the American Red Cross suggests bringing these items on trips, kept together in a waterproof container. Don’t forget contact information for your vet and for an emergency vet at your destination.
5. Carsickness medication isn’t just for humans. If your pet tends to get carsick on long drives, ask your vet for help. Ginger supplements work for pets, too, and so do prescription medicines. Do ask your vet though, so you’ll be sure you have the right medicine for your pet’s body chemistry and the right dose for his or her size.
6. Do a practice run. Even if your pet loves riding in the car on errands, hours of driving may not be her cup of tea. Before you go on a multi-day road trip, take a shorter trip with your pet to see how she handles long drives. If your pet gets sick or is extremely anxious, discuss options with your vet. If all else fails, it’s better to find a loving and responsible sitter than to travel with a miserable pet.