Any driver can tell you that being cooped up in a truck all day is no fun. Pets make great companions on the road and can ease some of the loneliness of travel. If you travel with a pet, then you know what great company they can be. They’re great for your health, and can take the edge off the loneliness. However, bringing your pet along requires some extra planning, and a little extra patience while on the road.
Before you start packing, you should put together a list of items your pet will need for the trip. You don’t want to be out on the road and discover your pet needs something you don’t have. Emergencies on the road can happen, so being prepared could make a lifesaving difference.
You’ll need to bring along all your pet’s essentials, such as plenty of food, a bed, toys, food and water dishes, leash and collar, etc. Every pet owner should have a first aid kit for their pet in their home and in their truck. By having a pet first aid kit, pet owners can be equipped when the unforeseeable happens. Pet first aid kits are available on Amazon or you can easily modify a human first aid kit with pet-specific supplies.
Like most first aid kits, your pet’s kit should include adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, bandages, scissors, hydrogen peroxide, tweezers, antibiotic ointment and Benadryl for allergic reactions (if approved by your vet). For more pet-specific health needs you should also have a cold pack, a pet thermometer and eye wash solution. For other emergencies or incidentals you should have an extra leash, a muzzle, a rescue blanket and copies of their vaccines and medical records. Depending on your pet, you may need to include more items to complete the kit. If your pet takes medication, be sure to include a supply of the prescription. The Pet First Aid Book might also be a good thing to keep with you on the road.
Here are additional things you need to be careful of when traveling with a pet:
Have water readily available for your pet, and take plenty of pit/exercise stops. Make sure you know where your pet is at all times. Also, keep your pet on a leash while in parking lots. This will be safer for everyone, especially your pet. Your pet should wear a collar with current identification and contact information. You should also take note of the temperature if you go inside and leave your pet in the vehicle. Although trucks won’t heat up in the sun as quickly as a car, it is still not a good idea to leave your pet for very long.
Pets, especially dogs, need to exercise daily. Is your pet extremely active and likes to take frequent hikes or outdoor excursions? You’ll want to budget time for this. Most truck stops have a grassy area where your dog can run around for few minutes when you stop. But you probably want to take the dog for a proper walk at some point during the day. Truck stops and rest areas often have designated pet areas where they want you to walk your dogs in order to keep the rest of the grassy areas free of pet droppings. This website will tell you where to find some walking trails near you: www.traillink.com. Cats and other non-canine pets are tougher to exercise than dogs are, but many pet shops have small-space play solutions.
You may not have considered it, but in this age of technology, there are helpful apps for pet owners. For those of you with an iPhone, there is an app called My Dog. With it, you can create a profile to record all your dogs’ veterinary records, vaccine schedules, dietary information, etc. It also has a National Dog Service and Business Directory. This makes it easy to find the nearest veterinarians & hospitals, pet stores, groomers, dog parks, dog-friendly hotels, etc. The My Dog app is excellent for traveling, since it gives you instant access to everything you need to know for your dog. There is not a similar option for cat owners, but there is a free app called Pet Services Finder, which will find the nearest pet services for both cats and dogs.
Our pets enrich our lives in more ways than we can count. In turn, they depend on us for their well-being. Make pet safety a priority during your time on the road, and don’t allow yourself to be unprepared for any pet emergencies.