Summertime road trips are the best. Gas station snacks, your most epic playlist and…your favorite furry friend in the back seat. If you’re looking to travel with a four-legged companion this season, there’s no better time to hit the road. But before you leave, remember these tips:
Call Your Vet
Before committing your pet to a road trip, make sure she’s travel ready. Call your veterinarian first and schedule a check-up. And if your pet isn’t microchipped, make sure to get it done before getting away. You wouldn’t want the worst to happen without taking proper precautions.
If you want to stay in a hotel, don’t assume you need to be pet-free. Websites like dogfriendly.com or bringfido.com give you ideas about accommodations that allow pets.
Pack Like You Mean It
You wouldn’t travel without a change of clothes and a toothbrush, so don’t forget to bring all the pet accessories you might need. Everything from food, water, leashes, treats, bowls, medications, and poop bags should be accounted for.
Don’t assume your pet knows how to behave for an extended period in the car. You never know when a squirrel might catch Rocky’s eye and cause a mad dash for the driver’s seat. To keep all parties safe, consider using a kennel or at the very least, a pet seat or harness. Buckle everyone up and arrive safely.
Time the First Feeding
A pound of bacon and four hours in a moving car don’t mix. Plan to feed your dog or cat 2 or 3 hours before the drive and keep the meal light but hearty.
Make Enough Stops
Unless you’re traveling with a puppy, you should plan to stop every couple of hours for a restroom/walk break. And remember to stop in a secluded area away from traffic.
Consider On-the-Road Entertainment
No one wants to be cooped up in a car with nothing to do. Make sure to bring chew toys or any other object your pet needs to feel occupied and happy. Because a bored pet is a road trip disaster waiting to happen. Oh, and if you go for long walks when you stop, maybe your friend can fit in a nap.
Plan for Nausea
Motion sickness can put a damper on an otherwise perfect road trip. Talk to your veterinarian about over-the-counter medications you can give your pet for car sickness and stay on the lookout for excessive drooling or panting. These symptoms usually precede sickness, and every second’s notice helps. It never hurts to keep towels or baby wipes handy in case of emergency.