Planning a road trip? Traveling with a pet involves more than just loading the animal in the back seat and motoring off-especially if you will be driving long distances or plan to be away for a long time. We offer the following tips to help you prepare for a safe and smooth car trip:
- Keep your pets safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. There are a variety of wire mesh, hard plastic and soft-sided carriers available. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. And P.S., it’s smart to get your pet used to the carrier in the comfort of your home before your trip.
- Get your pet geared up for a long trip by taking him on a series of short drives first, gradually lengthening the time spent in the car. And please be sure to always secure the crate so it won’t slide or shift in the event of a quick stop.
- Your pet’s travel-feeding schedule should start with a light meal three to four hours prior to departure. Don’t feed your furry friend in a moving vehicle even if it is a long drive.
- Never leave your animal alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked automobile can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop. In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
- What is in your pet’s traveling kit? In addition to travel papers, food, bowl, leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication, and a pet first-aid kit, pack a favourite toy or pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity.
- Make sure your pet has a microchip for identification or wears a collar with a tag imprinted with your home address, as well as a temporary travel tag with your cell phone, destination phone number and any other relevant contact information. Canines should wear flat (never choke!) collars, please.
- Don't allow your pet to ride with his head outside the window. He could be injured by flying objects. And please keep him in the back seat in his crate or with a harness attached to a seat buckle.
- If you travel frequently with your pet, you may want to invest in rubberized floor liners and waterproof seat covers.