According to a recent study conducted by AAA and a major hotel chain, half of pet owners will take their pets along when they travel. With the holidays coming up and family travel plans being arranged, there are some things to consider before you head out with your furry travel companion. PAWS (Pets Are Worth Saving) Chicago, the world’s largest no-kill shelter, and other pet experts recommend following these tips.
Traveling with dogs
Remember, your dog may be your best friend, but he may not be your best traveling friend. Traveling may seem like a no-brainer, but there are some things you can do to make your jaunt more enjoyable.
- Some states require restraining your dogs during a car trip. It’s always best to use restraints, pet carriers and cargo barriers on the trip for their safety and yours. Never let your pet ride in the front seat because they could be seriously injured or killed should the air bag deploy.
- Never leave your dog alone in the car. Even with the windows cracked, in the summer a parked vehicle can become dangerously hot quickly, causing a heat stroke for your pet. In the cold weather, pets can experience hypothermia and serious complications. Unattended pets can also be stolen.
- Traveling long distances may make your dog anxious. Bring along chew treats to help dogs that may become anxious. Chewing and licking will help soothe your travel companion.
- Along your route, be sure to research which restaurants, hotels and parks are dog-friendly so that you can offer your pet a chance to get out of the car in a pet-friendly environment.
- Keep people snacks away from traveling pets. Some snacks, like chocolate, can be fatal to your dog.
Traveling with cats
Scratch these items off the list before traveling with felines:
- Familiarize your cat with the inside of your vehicle before traveling. Allow your cat to cheek rub and spread its scent, or try placing a bed, blanket or towel inside the car.
- Pack a portable litter box and collapsible food and water bowls.
- To help prevent dehydration, especially on summer trips, try freezing a bowl of water that cats can lick to keep cool.
There is one final step of precaution to take once you have arrived at your destination safely. Be sure your pet is on a leash and that you have secured all the doors once you’ve arrived. Even well-trained pets may feel out of place in a new environment and it is best to make sure they are contained.
If you do plan on traveling with your pet this holiday season, taking these tips to heart might just make for a much more pleasant and safe trip for you and your pet.