Whether you’re going on a road trip or moving, travelling in a car with your pet requires some preparation.
1) Get Your Pet Ready
Chances are you have taken your pet to the veterinarian before, which means you already know how they behave in your vehicle. If you know your pet suffers from anxiety and/or motion sickness in the car, speak to your vet about appropriate medications. If your pet has never been in the car or if this road trip will be a lot longer than he or she has experienced, it’s a good idea to take some short trips with them beforehand.
Ensure all vaccinations are up to date and that your pet will be wearing its ID tags in case it manages to escape during the trip. Having a recent photo of your pet handy is also a good precaution in case your pet becomes lost.
2) Secure Your Pet
Your pet shouldn’t roam freely inside the vehicle as it will become a distraction for the driver and pose a safety concern if there is a sudden stop. Decide ahead of time whether you will be putting your pet in a carrier, crate or harness. Most cats and small dogs feel safer if they travel in a small carrier. Leave the carrier out around your house a week before your trip so that they become familiar with it. The same goes for a crate and harness for bigger dogs. If your pet has never been harnessed in, try it out on short trips first to hopefully ease some anxiety.
Have your pet sit in the backseat to keep it safe from airbags. Pets should not be exposed in any way to flying debris, which means they should be secured in a carrier, crate or harness with some mobility but not enough to stick their heads out the window or run around. Pets should never roam free in the bed of a truck either.
3) Create a Pet Travel Kit
Your pet travel kit should include: water/portable water bowl, food/treats, toys, blanket/pillow, leash, litter box with litter for cats, pooper scooper, pet’s health records, any medications, plastic bags and cleaning supplies.
4) Keep Your Pet Comfortable
Some pets may fall asleep during the ride but others may be very restless. Make sure you stop often to let your pet take a break to walk around, get fresh air, eat, relieve itself and burn off excess energy. It’s recommended to never feed a pet in a moving vehicle so give them food during breaks and allow them enough time to digest. Put your pet on a leash before you let them out of the vehicle as you never know what it might do when in an unfamiliar area. Never leave your pets alone inside a vehicle for long periods of time or for even a few minutes in hot or cold weather.