Thinking of traveling with your pet in a car this spring or summer? Believe it or not, now is the time to start preparing your pet for that family trip, especially if it will be the first time that your pet travels with you. Here are a few good tips to make the trip easier for everyone.
Take short trips in the car ? get your pet used to their restraining device. If you have a small pet, a carrier or bolster seat may be the right way to go. If you have a larger dog, a harness will keep your dog safe as well as other passengers riding in the car. The best way to protect any pet in a car is a pet crate buckled into the seat. Whatever you decide, your pet will need time to get used to riding in the car.
Socialize your pet?? take them to a neighborhood dog park or walk your dog so it is exposed to other dogs and people. You will be stopping along the way on your trip and you want to be sure that your dog will not be aggressive towards other dogs.
Pick the right place for them – your pet will suffer less anxiety on the road if you position them where they can see you. It is safest to restrain your pet in the backseat of the car; but put them behind the passenger seat if you will be driving. Having you in their line of sight will reduce their level of anxiousness. Removing them from their normal environment is stressful enough. Knowing that you are with them will comfort them.
Groom your pet ? dog grooming is extremely important right before a trip. A bath and clip will make the trip more pleasant for everyone, especially your pet. Your pet needs to be accustomed to being groomed and handled so start early if you can.
Get the right equipment?and let your pet use it prior to travel. You will need a strong leash at hand at all times. When stopping for a rest, be sure and do not let your pet out of the car until they are leashed and you have your footing. Do not use a retractable lead if possible as you sacrifice control. You will need?portable water and food bowls, bottles of water from home, towels or wipes and a?portable kitty litter tray?if you are traveling long distances with a cat. Bring enough of your dog?s food to last the trip. Changing food can upset a dog?s digestive tract and may result in unpleasant consequences.
Plan to stop frequently – although most older and larger dogs can last between 10 to 12 hours before a rest stop, it is advised to stop and allow them to stretch their legs every 4-5 hours. Puppies and kittens can last about an hour for every month of life, so a puppy that is 3 months of age can last 3 hours between breaks. As this can vary between breeds and puppies, more frequent stops is a good idea.
Find a pet friendly hotel early if you will need one. Many pet friendly hotels reserve a fixed number of rooms for pets, so reserving early is important. After finding a pet friendly hotel, call them to be sure to confirm their pet policy. Make sure you have a room on the ground floor for easy access if this is possible. Ask if there are pet friendly amenities nearby.
If you are crossing country borders, be sure and plan a trip to your vet to fill out the paperwork to the country you will be visiting. Have your pet micro chipped and register the microchip so officials can find your contract information should your pet go missing.
Some advance preparation will make your trip so much more enjoyable for everyone traveling. Your dog or cat will know what to expect and will be very happy to be included in the family vacation.