There are many things that can be stressful about hitting the road for the holidays. However, traveling with pets doesn’t have to be one of them. If you’re like me, you hate leaving your furry kids behind, and (provided that your pet is a good traveler) you really don’t have to. I’ve traveled extensively with my pets, and I’ve learned that with the right preparations, taking them along is not only easy, but way more fun than going it alone!
Here are my tried-and-true road trip tips for traveling with pets for the holidays.
Should Your Pet Travel?
This is the first thing to consider, as your pet’s safety and comfort are always paramount. If your pet is sick or injured, has a nervous temperament, or has any condition that will make travel uncomfortable for him, it’s best to leave him at home with a trusted caretaker this holiday season.
Before Your Trip
Choose the right pet vehicle safety device wisely, and familiarize your pet with it
You take great care to secure your human family members in the car; you should do the same for your pets. A simple pet safety device , such as a vehicle pet barrier, a pet seat belt, pet car seat, or a travel crate can keep you both safe, and give you peace of mind. You should choose a device that’s right for your car, your trip, and the size and temperament of your pet.
It’s essential to ensure that your pet is comfortable with the safety device. The best way to do this is to acclimate him to it slowly over time.
Get a temporary ID
In addition to your pet’s regular ID tag (and microchip), I strongly recommend getting a temporary tag for your pet before you travel. Include relevant contact information like your cell phone number and the address where you will be staying. A current photo of your pet is also helpful to have on hand.
Plan for potty breaks and exercise
Give yourself a time cushion for frequent pit stops, both for potty breaks, and for letting your pet stretch his legs.
On the Road
Heads inside windows, please!
It’s true that pets love to stick their heads out of car windows. But this is a dangerous practice. Your pet could easily become injured, or worse.
Limit Food Intake
I recommend limiting how much you feed your pet on the road. Also, avoid sharing your fast food lunch with him, no matter how much he begs. Travel can upset a pet’s stomach, and excess food can make things worse.
Never leave your pet alone in the car
Leaving your pet alone in the car can subject him to dangerous temperature fluctuations. You also run the risk of him running off (if your window is down), or even being stolen.
Your pet can sense your energy. Staying calm and rolling with the punches – traffic jams and all – will help your dog stay calm, and ensure that you both have a relaxed road trip.
In the end, with a little savvy, a lot of preparation, and some good old-fashioned common sense, your trip can go smoothly, and be a great memory shared with your four-legged loved one instead of a source of holiday stress. Safe travels and happy holidays from TripsWithPets.com!
TripsWithPets.com is the premier online pet friendly travel guide -- providing online reservations at over 30,000 pet friendly hotels, B&Bs, vacation rentals, cabins, and resorts across the U.S. and Canada. When planning a trip, pet parents go to TripsWithPets.com for detailed, up-to-date information on hotel pet policies and pet amenities. TripsWithPets.com also features airline & car rental pet policies, pet friendly activities, a user-friendly search-hotels-by-route option, as well as pet travel gear.
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