Traveling with your dog isn’t quite as simple as back in days of Rover hopping in the back of the pickup and enjoying some nice fresh air blowing through his long, floppy ears. No, we’ve wised up since then. Too many pets’ lives were lost because they simply weren’t protected when traveling.
So what can you do to ensure your dog will arrive at your destination healthy and unharmed? The ASPCA offers some guidelines for safe travel. So before you head out on the road with your pup, prepare for the trip and follow these tips:
- Purchase a well-ventilated crate or carrier that can be secured in the vehicle. It is important that, in the case of a sudden stop, the crate does not shift, slide or move. The crate or carrier should be large enough so your dog can sit, stand, lie down and turn around. In lieu of an enclosed carrier, you can also purchase a pet travel seat designed to safely harness your dog in the car. There are a variety of seats available from manufacturers such as Kyjen, Outward Hound, Lookout, and My Buddy.
- Do not allow your dog to ride in the front seat with you or let him hang his head out the window while the vehicle is in motion. Serious injury could occur to your pet.
- Feed your dog 3 – 4 hours before your departure and do not feed her during the trip.
- Stick to bottled tap water from your home so your dog does not have to drink various types of water while away from home. A pet with the runs is no fun on vacation!
- If you’re planning a lengthy drive, acclimate your pup to traveling in the car by taking her on short trips in the weeks leading up to your vacation.
- Stop every couple of hours during your trip and offer water and a potty break to your canine companion.
- Keep a flat collar on your dog with current identification. Do not use a choker collar!
- Always attach the leash prior to opening any car doors.
- Never leave your pet unattended in the car. Heat stroke can happen quickly with tragic results.
- Pack a traveling kit that includes the following items…
– Waste scoop
– Plastic bags
– Grooming supplies
– First aid kit
– Destination phone number
– Favorite toy, pillow and/or bed
– Vaccination records (this is especially important if you are crossing state lines)
- Plan your itinerary to include lodging in establishments that welcome dogs. Visit Petfriendly.com or Petswelcome.com for an up-to-date list of pet-friendly lodging.
Whether you’re traveling across the state or across the country, your pet’s well-being is in your hands. By following the above tips, there’s a good chance both you and your pup will make it to your destination and back home again safely.