Make Every Mile Memorable: Tips for road tripping with pets
Embarking on a road trip can be an exciting adventure, and including your furry friends in the journey adds an extra layer of joy. However, travelling with pets requires careful planning and consideration to ensure their safety, comfort, and well-being throughout the trip. Whether you’re heading to a scenic destination or visiting friends and family, here are some essential tips for road tripping with pets.
Pre-trip vet visit
Before hitting the road, schedule a visit with your pet’s veterinarian. Ensure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations and obtain a health certificate if you’re crossing state or international borders. Discuss any potential health concerns and ask for advice on motion sickness or anxiety management during travel (if these are things your pet experiences).
Comfortable car accommodations
Create a cosy space for your pet inside the vehicle. Use a well-ventilated crate, a travel-specific pet seat, or a secure harness to keep them safe. You’ll want to ensure they can be secured in a spot where they don’t interfere with the driver. Familiar items such as their bed, blanket, or favourite toy can provide comfort and reduce anxiety for them on their travels.
Identification and microchipping
Nobody likes to think about losing their pet during a trip, but it’s essential to be prepared. Make sure your pet has a collar with a proper ID tag that holds current contact information on it. Additionally, consider microchipping your pet. Microchipping can help reunite you with your pet if they were to get lost or separated from you during the trip. Ensure the microchip registration information is up-to-date before you travel.
Make sure your vehicle is running well
Have your car checked by your mechanic before you head out on your road trip. You should also make sure your car is up to date with its servicing, and is insured for the journey. Having your vehicle involved in an avoidable breakdown is the last thing you want when travelling with your pets.
Pack your pet’s essentials
Pack a dedicated bag for your pet’s essentials, including food, water, bowls, medications, grooming supplies, and waste disposal items. Having a first aid kit for pets is also advisable, containing items like bandages, antiseptic wipes, and any necessary medications. Bringing along items from home can also help your pet feel more comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings.
Plan for frequent breaks
Just like humans, pets need to stretch their legs and use the bathroom during a road trip. Plan for regular rest stops every 2-3 hours and allow your pet to go for walks and potty breaks. This will also help them burn off some energy and stay comfortable throughout the journey. Look for pet-friendly rest areas or parks where your pet can safely explore.
Hydration and nutrition
Carry enough water for your pet, especially if you’re travelling through hot or arid regions. Stick to your pet’s regular feeding schedule, and avoid feeding them right before the journey to prevent motion sickness. Pack their favourite treats for positive reinforcement and rewards throughout the journey.
Check pet-friendly accommodations
If your road trip includes overnight stays, research and book pet-friendly accommodation in advance. Confirm their pet policies, inquire about designated pet areas, and find nearby parks for exercise. You may also like to keep your pet on a leash or in a crate when inside the accommodation to avoid any accidents or damages. Sites like Holidaying With Dogs can be helpful for finding pet-friendly accommodation options.
Acclimate your pet to the vehicle
Before the trip, take short drives with your pet to acclimate them to the vehicle. Gradually increase the duration to help them become comfortable with the feeling and reduce the likelihood of motion sickness. It’s a good idea to start getting a pet used to the car when they’re young, but even adult pets can learn to associate the car with positive experiences.
Be prepared for unexpected situations. Have a list of emergency veterinary clinics along your route, and familiarise yourself with the location of the nearest 24-hour animal hospital. Keep a copy of your pet’s medical records in case of an emergency. Most importantly, always keep a close eye on your pet during the trip and be ready to make necessary adjustments for their safety and comfort.
Road tripping with pets can be a rewarding experience, but it should be an adventure approached with careful planning and consideration for your furry friend. By following these tips, you can help create a safe and enjoyable journey for both you and your four-legged companion.