Summer vacation is almost here! The big question is, are you prepared to travel with your pet this summer? Some vacations are well-suited to include your furry friend, but it’s important to keep a few things in mind when preparing to travel with a pet, so your trip is memorable…in a good way! Here are a few tips to consider before you set out on your summer road trip:
- Use a pet restraint device or keep your pet in his crate while traveling.
- Always leash your pet BEFORE you stop for an exercise break. Your pet may dash out of your car as soon as the door opens.
- Make frequent exercise breaks. Dogs need to take regular walks on road trips. Stopping at busy gas stations is not ideal, so try to plan your stops at rest areas or parks where your dog can be leash-walked to stretch his legs and go to the bathroom. Build extra time into your schedule for these stops.
- If traveling with a cat, keep a small litter box in the pet carrier. Scoop the litterbox frequently to keep everyone happy.
- Make sure your pet is adequately identified in case you become separated from him. Microchipping is a permanent way for your pet to be identified, but it’s also a good idea to have an ID tag attached to his collar which includes your cell phone number. Be sure that the contact information associated with the microchip is up to date.
- Bring enough food and water for the entire trip. Changes in diet often lead to gastrointestinal upset and an upset stomach is not fun for anyone. Taking an ample water supply for your pet avoids any problems with local water supplies.
- Carry the proper paperwork for your pet and ensure you know the regulations for traveling across state/provincial borders. If traveling to another country, you will need to investigate the requirements of doing so. Keep a copy of your pet’s health certificate (verification that your pet will not carry infectious diseases/parasites across state lines) and bring a copy of your pet’s medical records in case of an emergency.
- Be sure to bring your pet’s routine medication(s), including flea, tick, and heartworm preventives. Check with your veterinarian about any parasites in your destination area. Ticks may not be of concern in your hometown, but your destination may be a different story. Your veterinarian can advise you of any preventives you may need.
- If your pet is prone to car sickness or stress-induced diarrhea, speak to your veterinarian ahead of time for recommendations. Your veterinarian can give you tips or prescribe medication that can help.
- Try feeding smaller, more frequent meals instead of large meals right before hitting the road.
- If you plan on long hikes with your dog, build up his stamina before you head out on holidays. Be sure to bring along a collapsible water dish, or other water dispensers, and make sure you pack plenty of water for both you and your dog. Stop frequently for water breaks. If hiking in the mountains, provide water breaks every 20-30 minutes. It’s easy to become dehydrated in higher elevations. Make sure your pet is comfortable drinking from these water dispensers before you head out on your hike.
- Take time for rest. Vacations can be hectic, so schedule some “down time” for you and your pet.
- Finally, consider if taking your pet with you is the best idea. If you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing in museums or galleries, your pet is going to spend a lot of time alone in your hotel room. Sometimes the reality of vacationing with your pet is much different than what you had envisioned. If you decide to leave your pet behind, rest assured, he will enjoy his own “vacation” at a boarding kennel or staying with a pet sitter.
With a little planning and preparation, you can make great memories while vacationing with your pets this summer!