Traveling With Your Pets

With the weather heating up, everyone wants to hit the road for a little traveling. Pets, like other members of the family, go along for the ride. But before you let your pets into the car, special care and preparation should be taken.

These tips will help your dog, cat, or other pet remain safe and comfortable for the duration of the ride — long or short.

Before Leaving

If it's a long trip you're taking, you want to first get them used to traveling. You do this by taking them on a few short trips. It may take them several weeks to truly feel comfortable and get used to the noises of the road and the sudden movements of the vehicle.

Bring the following items with you:

  • The veterinarian's contact information.
  • All medical records, including current shot records.
  • First-aid kit for your pet. Many of the treatments humans use — antibiotic cream and hydrogen peroxide — can be used on cats and dogs, though a much weaker level.
  • Supplies for cleanup, such as duct tape, to remove fur from your vehicle.
  • Plastic bags or litter box for waste disposal.
  • Blanket or bed.
  • Treats and toys.
  • Leash, harness or collar.
  • Water bowls, non-slip, non-tip food.
  • Fresh, cool water in the car.
  • Food — this is the most important, and it must be the same brand they're accustomed to so that their stomachs do not become upset.

You may also want to think about microchipping your pet, just in case. It's not mandatory but will give you peace of mind in the event you and your pet are separated. If your pet is found, a veterinarian or shelter staffer can scan the chip to pull up the owner's contact information.

On the Road

If your pet gets sick, you should stop immediately. Find a clinic or vet, or ask a local for directions and take them right away.

Watch the temperature. If it gets too hot out, always leave your air conditioning running so that your pet doesn't get heatstroke.

Keep your pet leashed if you plan on leaving your vehicle and taking them with you. Leaving your pet in the car may be hazardous to their health, and in some states, it is illegal.

Make sure to give your pet regular bathroom breaks, both to keep your vehicle clean and for your pet's sake. While they're out, also allow them extra time for exercise and to play to relieve any tension or stress.

Bringing your pet with you on an adventure, no matter if it's a short or long trip, can be exciting and a great way to bond with them. But you must keep these travel tips in mind before taking off.