With the holidays in full swing, a big question that many of us will be asking ourselves again this year is should we bring our dogs along when we travel to Aunt Irene or Uncle Richie’s Christmas celebrations?
For some pet parents, the holidays can’t be fun unless the four-legged members of the family get to come. Traveling can be highly stressful for you and your animal companions, but with thoughtful preparation, you can ensure a safe and comfortable trip for everyone.
At Mike’s Auto Body, we are animal lovers, and many of us own cats, dogs, and even a few horses here and there. So, if you have decided to bring your mutt with you when you travel during the holidays, here are some helpful tips for you.
Traveling with a pet involves more than just loading the animal in the back seat and motoring off—especially if you’ll be driving long distances or plan to be away for a long time.
When it comes to traveling in this country, the American attitude is BYOD—Bring Your Own Dog!
The ASPCA and several other pet advocacy groups offer the following tips to help you prepare for a safe and smooth car trip. We’ve done our research, so rest assured that we’re not barking up the wrong tree with these suggestions:
- Crate Your Pooches: Keep your pets safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. There are a variety of wire meshes, hard plastics, and soft-sided carriers available. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. And P.S., it’s smart to get your pet used to the carrier in the comfort of your home before your trip.
- Practice Makes Perfect: Get your pet geared up for a long trip by taking him on a series of short drives first, gradually lengthening time spent in the car. And please be sure to always secure the crate so it won’t slide or shift in the event of a quick stop.
- Change Feeding Routines: Your pet’s travel-feeding schedule should start with a light meal three to four hours prior to departure. Don’t feed your furry friends in a moving vehicle—even if it is a long drive.
- Parked Cars Can Heat Up Fast: Never leave your animal alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked automobile can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop. In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
- Get a Doggy Kit: What is in your pet’s traveling kit? In addition to travel papers, food, bowl, leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication, and a pet first-aid kit, pack a favorite toy or pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity.
- Chip ‘Em: Make sure your pet has a microchip for identification and wears a collar with a tag imprinted with your home address, as well as a temporary travel tag with your cell phone, destination phone number, and any other relevant contact information.
- All Heads In: Don’t allow your pet to ride with his head outside the window. He could be injured by flying objects. And please keep him in the back seat in his crate or with a harness attached to a seat buckle.
- Cross Country Canines: Traveling across state lines? Bring along your pet’s rabies vaccination record, as some states require this proof at certain interstate crossings. While this generally isn’t a problem, it’s always smart to be on the safe side.
- Paws for Water: When it comes to H2O, make sure you have plenty at home. Opt for bottled water or tap water stored in plastic jugs. Drinking water from an area he’s not used to could result in tummy upset for your pet.
By using these simple guidelines, your mutts will be happy and safe as they travel the roads of this great country this summer. Having your companion(s) with you on vacation means you’ll save boarding fees and allow them to enjoy, the beaches, mountains, and attractions along the way!
Sources: Rover.com, ASPCA, and USA Today