5 Pet Safety Tips While Traveling By Car

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Photo from Janet Hudson

If you’re like many pet owners, the thought of putting your dog or cat in a kennel during a weeklong summer vacation is too much to bear. After all, these furry companions love you unconditionally and go wherever you do. They’re always there at the end of a long day to curl up on your lap and lower your blood pressure with each stoke of their coats.

No one can blame you if you decide to take these creatures on your family vacation with you, but before you set out on the open road, make sure that you take some safety precautions. Here’s what we recommend.


First Thing: Make Sure Your Pet Is Cut Out For Road Travel.

How do you do this? By starting off with a few test runs so that the animal gets used to riding in the car, and you get used to driving while he’s there. Some pets get motion sickness, so this is also a good opportunity to see if there will be any emergency health issues that arise, which might distract you from the road and cause a crash. If you notice that your pet does get sick while traveling, see a veterinarian about the possibility of a medication to help. You might also consider putting your companion into some form of securement, like a small crate.


Next: Give Your Pet Something To Keep Him Busy.

Once you hit optimum speed and cut the stops for bathroom breaks, snacks, and gas, your pet is likely to get relaxed enough for a nap. (Sometimes a long nap.) If that happens, congratulations, you don’t have as much to worry about. But if your pet is a light sleeper or nervous traveler, you may have to find something that will keep him occupied. Suggestions: observe your pet and see what he responds to. He may be mesmerized by an old chew toy, or he may respond to your commands for a treat. Bring whatever you have to bring; just make sure that he’s not moving around the car.


Thirdly: Assemble Your Travel Kit.

Nail clippers, liquid bandages, portable water bowls, waste bags, pooper scoopers, treats, and your dog or cat’s favorite pillow, are just a few of the things that you’ll want to assemble. Just don’t let him eat while traveling, or you could be cleaning up quite a mess. You’ll also want to bring your pet’s health records in case there is an incident where he attacks someone, or is attacked. (And don’t forget the things you’ll need while you’re in a hurry to prep him for the road.)


Fourthly: Stop Frequently.

The rule for this will vary depending on your pet’s temperament and how well you have him trained. Medical conditions can also be a factor for consideration. We recommend every couple of hours, so there are no accidents in the car, and your dog doesn’t get too restless for you to pay attention to the road.


Finally: Put Him In The Back Seat With Proper Restraints.

If you require a seat belt, don’t you think your pet needs one as well? Check out stores like PetSmart and look for specialty restraint systems for just such an occasion. Also, make sure your dog or cat is riding in the back seat, so in the event of an accident, he won’t get injured by deploying airbags.


In Summary

We all love our pets, and they can make for great travel companions. However, don’t attempt a long trip until you know his riding temperament and you know how much control you have over his on-the-road behavior. Leave prepared, take frequent breaks so he can stretch and use the restroom, and keep him entertained. Employ all of these tips, and you both will get to your destination on time and in one piece.

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