Many of us will hit the road this year to visit family, friends or for a vacation. Many of us will take our pets with us. A pet has special needs when traveling that you must consider. Here are some tips for traveling safely with your pets.
Food & Water
You’ll want to carry enough food and water for the pet for as many days as you will be traveling. In addition, there are special collapsible dog food and water bowls available that allow you to serve your pet at anytime, and then collapse the bowl down so it doesn’t take up a lot of room. And don’t forget the treats! Have plenty of treats to give your pet when they are restless. Some treats will work better than others in a vehicle. Pick treats that won’t make a mess, won’t make a lot of noise and will keep the pet busy. For dogs, consider a Kong treat, which is a rubber like treat that you can insert smaller treats into. Your pet will be distracted trying to get the treats out of the toy.
Don’t forget to bring along your pets favorite blanket, pillow or stuffed animal, the familiarity with these items will decrease any shock or homesickness the pet might feel. Bring along extra blankets so the pet can take a nap or rest in it. It will also keep pet hair away from your seats!
Nowadays, there are special safety harnesses and belts for different sizes of dogs. For small dogs, there are modified car seats that have a padded area for the dog to sit in. The car seat, or pooch seat, is strapped into the seat using a seatbelt. In addition, for medium and large size dogs, you may be worried about them jumping around in the vehicle while you are driving. For larger dogs, there are harnesses which basically keeps the dog in their seat using a specially modified version of a seatbelt. These restraints allow the dog to sit in the seat and still enjoy a view out the window without endangering themselves or the driver. For large and older dogs, there is also a restraint that allows your dog to sit or lay in the back seat of the vehicle safely and is especially good if you’re going off road or going to travel rough roads with many turns and bumps, as these harnesses will keep your dog in place.
For dogs that throw up during car rides, there are options to help. There are prescription drugs for pets that you can get from your veterinarian. There is also the over the counter drug Dimenhydrinate, also known as Dramamine. You can give your pet the same type of Dramamine as for for adults. About 30 to 50 milligrams is the recommendation for medium size to large dogs and about 10 to 15 milligrams for smaller dogs and cats. Dramamine should be given about an hour before you leave. Many dogs will be less carsick if you let the dog look out the window and/or let some fresh air hit the dog in the face. For some dogs, by distracting the dog with a new and exciting dog toy or treat, they will overcome their fear of riding in a car.
Don’t forget to take breaks for the dog to go potty. Take your time letting the pet find just the right spot to do his or her business, it may take longer at a rest stop or other unfamiliar place, especially if the area is frequented by many other dogs and animals. Take a quick jog for a few minutes to rid the pet of excess energy, if needed. Also, in unfamiliar places, keep your dog on the leash at all times.
You must not ever leave your pet in a vehicle when the outside temperature is even slightly warm for more than 30 minutes. Your vehicle will act almost like an oven and the inside temperature of a vehicle sitting in the sun, even when it’s only a little warm outside is often too much for a pet to stand. In fact, it is illegal in many states.