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How To Plan a Safe and Pleasant Car Trip for Your Pets

by Paisley Hansen | 24-05-2022 07:25 recommendations 0

A road trip with your dog or cat lets you keep your furry friend close by, but you do need to make some simple preparations to make sure both of you are safe and comfortable. Here are some practical tips for traveling with Fluffy or Fido.

Where To Ride

The safest way for your pet to travel in a car is in a secure carrier that’s held to the seat by a seatbelt or special buckle that prevents the carrier from being tossed around the car during a crash. The backseat is the best location for your pet because an airbag deploying can cause serious injury to an animal. The backseat also provides more room so that your pet can have a larger and more comfortable carrier; some cat carriers even include a separate space for a travel litter box. Some vehicles are better suited to traveling with pets than others; if you’re in the market for a new car, a car buying service can help you sort through your options.

In addition to protecting your pet during a crash, riding inside a well-secured carrier prevents your pet from distracting the driver or getting under the brake pedal. Even pets who are usually calm can get unexpectedly spooked or overexcited, so don’t make any exceptions to the carrier policy. Similarly, allowing dogs to ride with their heads hanging out the car window puts them at risk of injury from debris and rocks kicked up by tires and could even result in their being flung out the window in a crash or sudden sharp turn.

Never leave your pet alone in the car. On a warm day inside temperatures can skyrocket far past those outside in a matter of minutes, and parked cars aren’t insulated enough to keep an animal warm on a cold day. Pet abductions are rare but do occasionally happen.

What To Bring

A secure carrier isn’t the only thing you’ll need to keep your pet safe and comfortable. Both dogs and cats require a leash or harness for bathroom breaks and any other time they leave the car. (Speaking of bathroom breaks, bring an ample supply of waste bags for dogs and a travel or disposable litter box for cats so you don’t leave a mess for other travelers.) A favorite toy or fuzzy blanket can make the ride more pleasant, as can pet pheromone products, which are available as travel-friendly collars and sprays.

Bring a container full of the water your pet is used to drinking rather than relying on rest-stop water fountains. Treats in moderation can raise spirits, and bring plenty of your pet’s favorite food so you aren’t stuck searching the shelves at an unfamiliar store. At mealtimes, always stop long enough for your pet to finish eating; feeding while the car is in motion can result in car sickness.

Remember your pet’s safety and medical needs as well. Bring a pet first-aid kit and any medications or supplements your pet takes regularly. Include copies of your pet’s medical and vaccination records so that you have important information at your fingertips if needed. Collars should have a tag with your contact information; add a temporary tag with information about your destination if you’ll be away from home for a while.

Other Things To Consider

If your pets haven’t previously traveled farther than the vet’s office, taking them on short practice runs before the full journey can help them grow accustomed to car trips and help you spot any potential problems that you can solve now instead of on the road. Having a human travel companion can make it much easier to take care of both your needs and your pet’s. Finally, if your pet is prone to anxiety, ask your vet if prescription medicines or other interventions are appropriate.

Making sure you and your pets have a safe and comfortable trip is an important responsibility, but a little preparation will go a long way.


  • United States Of America Chaperone Paisley Hansen


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