Traveling with your pet can be very difficult for you and your pet. Our pets are family members, and we don’t always want to leave them behind when we travel. Proper preparation for traveling with your pet is critical to ensuring that everyone is safe and comfortable. While dogs often enjoy riding in the car, cats can become quite scared, so preparation for each type of pet will be a little different.
1. Familiarize Your Pet With Traveling
If your dog is afraid, or not accustomed to the car, take him for a few short rides before leaving on your trip. Take him somewhere fun, such as a friend’s house or the dog park, so he begins to associate the car with good things.
2. Use a Doggie Seat
When traveling with your pet, keeping him in a crate, or use a doggie seat belt to ensure his safety. If you chose a crate, make sure it is well-ventilated, add a mat for comfort, and secure the crate so it won’t slide around in the car. Putting some treats in the crate at home, with the door open, a few times before you leave can help him adjust to it.
3. Carry A Dog’s Travel Bag
Your dog’s travel bag should include vet records with proof of rabies inoculation. Always keep his license and rabies tags on his collar, and if possible, get him micro chipped. Food and water bowls, food, bottled water, leash, waste bags, and scoop are also necessities. A favorite bone or toy can provide comfort. Feed your pet a few hours before traveling with your pet, and don’t feed him while driving (for obvious reasons!).
4. Never Leave Your Dog In The Car Alone
When traveling with your pet never leave your dog in the car on a hot day or very cold day, even for a short time. On a hot day, even if the windows are open, cars heat up very quickly to oven-like temperatures. Conversely, cars can drop in temperature quickly and create life-threatening cold. It is best to use a flat collar rather than a prong or choke chain to reduce risk of choking or injury if collar becomes caught on something.
5. Help Your Pet Adjust To The Car
Traveling with a cat can be a little trickier, as cats usually don’t like leaving their home environment. Cats must be in a carrier when riding in a car. While dogs can enjoy looking out the window and are able to stay seated, a cat may try to flee the car in fear, creating a dangerous situation for the driver and passengers. Helping the cat adjust to the crate at home can ease his anxiety. Leave the crate in a central part of the house with the door open and allow him to explore it on his own time. When he goes in, close the door for short periods, then let him out. Repeat this several times before you leave on your trip. To help him adjust to the car, feed him and play with him in it for a few days before you travel with your pet. Then take him for a short ride, increasing the length a little at a time over the next few days. Hopefully all these tactics will help him become accustomed to riding in the car. And of course, similarly to dogs, never leave your cat in the car on a hot or cold day.
Below are a few useful article with more tips for traveling with your pet.
ASPCA.org – Air Travel Tips
AKC.org – Traveling with your Dog
International Travelers? Don’t forget your pet passport.