Pet lovers will admit to having struggled with pet safety and security at least once in their travels. Our pets are part of our families, and leaving them behind is often out of the question. Regardless of where you’re going, you may want to have your pet with you. To make this a bit easier for you, here are our top safety and security considerations for car travel with pets.
(Many of these tips will pertain most closely with pet dogs, but we know that many of your travel with other pets as well.)
1. Go for a Test Drive
So you’re planning to travel in weeks’ time, but is your pet ready? These animals are quite sensitive, and any rapid changes to their surrounding could have an unexpected effect on them. Take test drives with your pet, lengthening the distance after every trip to ensure they are ready for travel. The test drive helps minimize the impact of car motion.
2. Get Familiar with Laws Regulating Pet Travel
What laws have been put in place to regulate pet travel? Different states have passed their own pet travel regulations, which may be crucial to familiarize yourself with. This is especially important if you will be crossing to other states. Car travel with pets requires you to consider leash laws, as well as park and beach access laws where you’re going, for example. In any case, being knowledgeable of such laws prevents you from getting into unnecessary trouble with the authorities.
3. Have Your Pet Vaccinated
Frankly speaking, we highly doubt if you want your pet spreading or catching disease while in transit. Therefore, before your travel day arrives, ensure that your pet(s) get any necessary vaccinations. At this point, your knowledge of laws and regulations comes in handy. There are states where your pet will not be allowed to pass through unless they have received specific vaccinations.
4. Have the Necessary Documentation
So you’ve had your pet vaccinated, but what proof do you have? Yes, you must carry health certificate documentation with you as evidence of your pet has received the requisite vaccinations. And not just that, it’s a good idea to carry documentation to prove ownership as well. Research what documentation you may be required to produce and carry them with you.
5. Pack Extras
Just like you, your pet will need to drink and eat. It’s advisable to carry their foods and drinks. We advise carrying such with you because you never know what reactions new foods or drinks might have on your animal companion.
Do not feed your pet while the car is in motion, instead, stop and wait for it to finish feeding.
6. Have an Emergency Kit on Stand-by
Prep your emergency kit for your pet. Since anything can happen, it’s only wise to be prepared. Your kit can include the following, but not limited to:
- First aid provisions. You kit should include bandages and gauze, self-adhering wrap, ointments, nail trimmers, antibiotics, and wet wipes. Bring along any medications your pet could be taking, including vet-recommended nausea or anxiety pills, if needed.
- Poop baggies or litter boxes and scoop
- Toys and treats
7. Travel with the Appropriate Restraints
You must keep your pet(s) safe while traveling. Keep them in a carrier bag or a crate in the back seat, held secure by a seat belt. (Depending on your pet, there are also well-tested harnesses with seat belt attachments available for use.) We understand it can be tiresome for them to be cooped in one position, but it is for both your safety. Secondly, in case you stop for breaks ensure that you keep them on a leash; you don’t want them running around.
8. Don’t Let Your Pet Put Its Head outside the Window
You are endangering your pet by letting it put its head outside the window. Yes, it can be fun especially for your dog, but the reality is that fun can quickly turn tragic. There’s so much danger, including being hit by flying objects or oncoming vehicles. It just isn’t safe!
9. Don’t Leave Your Pet in the Car
Just as it’s not safe to leave your kids in the car, the same is true for pets. Whether it’s during winter or summer, leaving your pet in the car can be fatal. In summer, there is the risk of heat stroke while in winter the car can quickly turn into a refrigerator freezing your pet to death.
10. Identify Pet-Friendly Hotels
Not all hotels are welcoming to animals, although more and more are. Therefore, if you’re planning to stay in hotels along the way identify the ones that are pet-friendly. This is to avoid getting stranded or experience challenges with accommodation.
Car Travel with Pets: Travel Like a Pro
For the majority of us, our animal companions have become part and parcel of our families. Leaving them behind as we go on our travels is difficult but car travel with pets has many rewards. These are just our top ten picks of the measures we can take. So what steps do you take to keep them safe?